The Best Acne Treatment for Teens That Work in 2021

Being a teenager is difficult enough between school, sports and personal life. Adding acne to the mix just results in more stress, low self-esteem and in many cases even painful outbreaks. The problem is that acne most commonly affects teens and can last for many years throughout puberty.

Suffering in silence or just blindly trusting TV and magazine advertising is the worst thing you can do. There are very specific triggers for acne and in the majority of cases they can be kept at bay with some simple cleansing and treatment products.

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The first thing you need is a gentle cleanser to remove impurities and oil from your pores. These are what trigger the acne and the faster you can remove them the less likely your skin is to overreact.

It’s slightly more difficult to naturally get rid of bacteria in your pores that are the main cause for the really bad puss filled pimples. One fantastic option is to use a tea tree based product due to its natural anti-bacterial effect.

To help you find the best teenage acne treatment we have put together the below guide and product recommendation that are available over the counter. They have proven highly effective and you should definitely try adding them to your daily routine.

What You Will Learn in This Post:

  1. According to experts, which is the best acne treatment for teens?
  2. How long does puberty acne last?
  3. What are the options for treating teenage acne?
  4. 10 best tested and proven acne products for teens you can use today.

Asking Experts: What Makes the Best Acne Treatment for Teens?

Cleansing is Essential:

“Skin needs to be cleansed effectively every night and morning,” says Dr. Rabia Malik, skin specialist practicing in Grace Belgravia, London. She also emphasizes to use products free from sulfates, alcohol, and fragrance so that you don’t further irritate your acne prone skin.

Pore Opening Ingredients:

Dr Mervyn Patterson suggests using products that contain witch hazel or salicylic acid so that you loosen up the buildup of dead skin cells, excess oil and dirt in your pores that cause acne.

Avoid Dryness / Irritation:

Dr Toni Phillips, Clinical Director at DestinationSkin, recommends avoiding products that cause dryness on your skin. Because as a result of using such products, your skin naturally produces more oil which leads to further pore clogging and whole host of other nuisances on your skin.

Tanning is a Complete No-No:

“Tanning needs to be completely avoided,” says Dr. Patterson. In your teens, it’s easy to take your healthy skin for granted and believe it is indestructible.

However, this often results in more damage to your skin than you can imagine. Protection from the sun is just as important during your teenage as during any other period of your life.

How Long Does Puberty Acne Last?

This is a question that often comes into our mind. And there’s a simple answer to this, “As long as you let it stay.” But how can anyone ever want to let acne ruin their complexion?

You might wonder. Well, there’s no denying to this fact. But the sad reality is that very few of the teenagers are willing to let go of their favorite junk food, bad/unnecessary habits (scratching, picking and popping pimples), and their regular cleanser or soap bar designed for ‘regular’ skin types.

Untreated acne during teenage can last up to 4-5 years before settling (sometimes even longer than that). If you don’t want to let it happen, you have to change your direction.

When you’re suffering from teenage acne, you need to follow a skin care regiment consisting of products that are specially designed to fight acne from its roots (the sebaceous glands). Products that utilize the proven anti-acne ingredients (as suggested by experts) to make your skin clearer and smoother over time.

What Options do You Have For Teen Acne Treatment?

There are mainly two routes you can choose to start fighting your teenage acne today:

  1. Use acne fighting cleansers
  2. Use complete acne treatment kits

If you’re only having the few pimples here and there, the first options works just fine – and it’s pretty economical too (good acne cleansers usually cost around $5-$15). For moderate-severe acne conditions, acne treatment kits (such as Exposed Skin Care) are most effective. This is due to the fact that the more stubborn your acne is, the more intense and systemized treatment it requires for complete eradication.

Taking into account all these factors we’ve discussed so far (and more), we’ve developed a list of carefully selected acne treatment products for teens that are proven to bring in positive results in shortest amount of time.

So, without further delays, let’s discover these…

9 Best Acne Treatment Products for Teens That Actually Work

Go through this whole list and you’ll find it extremely easy to identity teenage acne products that tailor to your skin type and acne condition.

1. Best Under $20: Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with SPF

Moisturizer! With! Sunscreen! Absorbs! Oil! What else does your face skin need? Finding the perfect moisturizer for oily skin is basically the hunt for the last missing piece in your skincare puzzle. A glowing complexion is the goal here and this moisturizer does the trick without making your face feel greased up.


2. Differin Gel (Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment)

Differin contains the first OTC Rx-strength acne-fighting retinoid. Retinoids play a crucial role in the treatment of acne by regulating skin cell turnover & reducing inflammation deep in the skin to clear & prevent pimples. What makes the retinoid in Differin (Adapalene) so cool is that it’s gentler on your skin, while still effective — that means you get the clearer skin you want without having to do things like completely avoid sunlight forever!


3. Exposed Facial Cleanser

You’ve all heard of Proactiv, haven’t you? For quite a long it’s been considered as the #1 at-home over the counter acne treatment system. Enter Exposed Skincare. If you are looking for a full treatment kit rather than just one product, look no further. You will get 5-9 products in their kit versus only 3 with Proactiv.

Best For : Oily, normal, and sensitive skin.


  • Due to its full coverage product line, it is capable of treating even severe forms of teenage acne.
  • Does not use any active ingredient (either benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid) in strong concentrations, and each product contains their natural counter parts, which makes it suitable for even sensitive skins.
  • Each component of the Product is made in the certified facilities in North America, which gives it a clear edge on the quality side.
  • Backed with a solid 30-day guarantee.


  • Makes your acne worse in the first couple of weeks of use. But it gradually clears ups over time.
  • Doesn’t clear your skin forever and requires continuous usage to maintain clear skin.


4. La Roche Posay, Effaclar Gel Facial Wash for Oily Skin

Mir says acne-sufferers should look for non-comedogenic products because they won’t block pores. This foaming cleanser — recommended by Gohara — is both non-comedogenic and contains zinc pidolate, which has astringent, anti-inflammatory properties shown to improve acne.


5. First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, Exfoliating Pads with AHA

  • Safe, Gentle & Effective: A daily treatment pad that contains just the right amount of Lactic and Glycolic Acids to safely and effectively exfoliate, tone and brighten all skin types – including sensitive
  • Improve Skin Texture: Regular use of these pads will enhance natural glow and provide the perfect canvas for flawless makeup application
  • Brighten Complexion: Cucumber and Indian Gooseberry help tone skin while Lemon Peel and Licorice Root leave the complexion looking bright and glowing
  • Free From: Alcohol, artificial colorants, artificial fragrance, lanolin, mineral oil, parabens, petrolatum, phthalates, propylene glycol, sulfates, talc, formaldehydes, oxybenzone, coal tar, triclocarban, ethanol, ethyl alcohol, denatured alcohol, methanol, N-butyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol
  • Dermatologist Tested: Our vegan & cruelty-free facial radiance pads are also gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free, soy-free, non-comedogenic, safe for sensitive skin and nano-free


6. CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin

“Foam based cleansers are better for those with oily skin,” says Jabar, who likes this one from CeraVe. “Cleansers with ingredients like glycolic acid, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can be very helpful for those with acne, but be careful as they can be irritating and drying.”


7. Glycolix Elite Glycolic Acid Treatment Pads

Glycolic acid helps to gently exfoliate the dead skin cells which manifest fine lines and uneven skin tones. When the dead cells are removed, newer, fresher skin is revealed and the appearance of fine lines fade – resulting in clearer, more supple skin. Glycolix Elite Glycolic Acid Pads feature ultra-pure crystalline glycolic acid to provide maximum efficacy and minimal irritation.

Glycolix Elite Glycolic face pads exfoliate the skin and remove excess oil and impurities resulting in a smoother, younger looking complexion. Glycolic acid peel pads tone and prepare the skin for product layering. In addition to the benefits of glycolic acid, these face pads hydrate and strengthen the skin with a proven antioxidant complex: Vitamins A, C, E, Co-Q10 and Green Tea. Glycolic acid pads are excellent for dry, oily and mature skin types. Available in glycolic acid concentrations of 10%, 15% and 20% for step up regimens. Use of a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen is recommended while using glycolic acid products.”


8. Origins Super Spot Remover

Dab it on a cotton bud, apply it directly on your acne spots, and leave overnight. This Super Spot Remover from Origins will dry up your existing pimples and speed up your skin rejuvenation process – thanks to the presence of salicylic acid and witch hazel. Moreover, it contains caffeine and red algae that are both excellent for providing immediate relief from redness and inflammation.

Best For: Oily, combination skins.


  • Can provide overnight relieve from acne spots.
  • One bottle lasts long as you only need it in small amounts against your acne breakouts.
  • Using this spot treatment consistently can give pimples a hard time coming back.
  • Can also help with acne scarring, not the severe type for which chemical peel or seeing your Derm would be better options.


  • Not suitable for sensitive skin.
  • Can cause excessive dryness.
  • Bleaches everything it touches; your pillow, clothes, or bedding.


9. Clinique’s 3-Step Routine

Clinique’s 3-step routine is one of classic skin care formulations available on the market today. It was released back in 1968, and is considered Clinique’s founding concepts. This anti-acne kit has been popular ever since because it was one of the first to introduce allergy-tested and fragrance free range that was developed by dermatologists themselves.

Best For: All skin types. Has different versions for dry, sensitive, normal, and oily skin.


  • The cleanser leaves skin clean, fresh and free of acne causing bacteria.
  • Exfoliator removes dead skin cells and further debris from the skin.
  • Moisturizer adds much needed nourishment and leaves your skin with a soothing sensation.
  • Tailored to specific skin types.


  • Not a cheap option for a teenager to go with. But if you’re a parent looking for a treatment for your kid, this might just make the perfect present for them.


Wrapping Up

This brings an end to our run down of the best acne treatment products for teens available on the market. I will keep updating this most with more and more better options, so that you can make the best decision based on your specific teen acne condition.

What’s Your Favorite Teenage Acne Treatment?

Want to suggest an inclusion to this post? I’d be glad to hear your thoughts in the comments below!



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