Advice Column: How Parents Can Help Teens With Acne

Every weekend I writeparents-teens-acne.jpg my own advice column so my readers and users can have a place to submit questions for me to answer.  Today we have:

“Hi Vanessa,

My son has been having really bad acne, I am afraid to bring it up because I do not want to hurt his feelings, but I know he does not have any skin products and would like to go get some things for him.  I do not want to upset him or make him more self-conscious than he already is, help!” 

Ugh, acne really is awful.  You definitely want to bring up the subject nicely because it can be very sensitive.  First equip yourself with some basic facts that I found from the

“Things that often make acne worse:

  • Oil-based makeup, suntan oil and hair products
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes, especially during menstruation
  • Squeezing or picking at blemishes
  • Hard scrubbing of the skin

Things that don’t cause acne:


  • Dirt
  • Chocolate or french fries
  • Masturbation”

Hmmm, I did not think that masturbation caused acne, but I guess it is a good lie, if you do not want your kids to masturbate.  Anyway, here area few ideas to bring up the subject with your kid:

1) Relate to them:

Acne is usually hereditary, and it always feels better when you are not the only one who is having an acne problem.  Tell them that when you were younger, you had just started to get some pimples (I would try to make it sound very casual and like it is not very noticeable).  Then tell them they are lucky because now, there are tons of over the counter products that help with acne, and you can go get some together.

2) Relate to others: 

There are so many acne commercials on TV, make sure that next time you are watching TV with them, make a comment about the commercial that every teen has some sort of acne product, and that you will swing by the drug store and pick something up.

3) Leave it for them:

I do not know how highly I recommend this method, but my mom actually did it for my brother and it worked.  There are tons of ‘acne’ products like face washes and cleansers that are not only for acne, but also just to keep your face clean.  My mom bought some shampoo, floss, a new toothbrush and acne wash and just left it all for my brother on his bathroom counter.  He started using it, no questions asked  (I am so glad my brother does not read my blog).

4) Take them to a professional:

When you go in for your yearly check-up (or just make an appointment for some other ‘reason’) tell the doctor to bring it up and give some information on how to keep skin clean and recommend some over the counter products.

Whichever way you try, they probably want you to talk to them about/want help for their acne even more than you want to help them with it.  So, if you notice your kids are having some skin problems, make sure they know how to take care of their skin (see above facts) and get them some good skin products.  They will thank you later!

Good luck,


*Photo courtesy of

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2 Responses to “Advice Column: How Parents Can Help Teens With Acne”

  1. jacob8832
    June 29, 2009 at 6:12 am #

    I think you should try some Natural products for your child. Because it is free from side effects.

  2. Eleonor Higuera
    November 6, 2010 at 5:15 am #

    nice :)

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