Why You Should Take Your Teen’s Acne Seriously

Acne can be devastating and seriously depressing. If you suffered with teen acne — whether mild, moderate or severe — you know how it can destroy your self-esteem.

There are scientific studies proving acne can lead to mental health problems and even suicide. A British study in 1999 reported, “Acne is not a trivial disease.” It leads to significant levels of social, psychological and emotional problems.

Do Parents Take It Seriously Enough?

I shared recently about my own troubles with teenage acne and adult acne. Even though I was lucky and during my teen years, my acne was mostly on my back with occasional cystic acne on my face, I still felt so depressed when I had a bad cystic pimple that I wouldn’t want to go to school or go out with my friends. I was generally a secure, happy teen with good friends… but the humiliation of an acne breakout was unbearable.

When I think back to the social hierarchy in high school, there’s an obvious pattern in acne severity. The most unpopular kids, not surprisingly, also had the worst acne.

I remember feeling so sad for the kids with chronic severe acne. I wondered if they went to doctors, if their parents paid attention to it and if the parents knew how their kids were being teased. I couldn’t imagine how those kids survived… I sure felt like I wouldn’t have been able to if my acne had been worse.

Sadly, my worries for them were valid. This Norwegian study shows…

Those with severe acne reported having suicidal thoughts more often than those with less acne. Three times as many boys and two times as many girls with severe acne reported suicidal thoughts compared to those with little or no acne, the investigators found.

What Can You Do As A Parent

I think there are some important ways parents can help…

  1. Talk to your kids as early possible about acne and how to take care of their skin. Once kids are teenagers, it can be hard to bring up sensitive subjects and they might be embarrassed and not want to talk about it. But I think it’s important to persevere and get them talking.
  2. Buy them a quality facial cleansing set of products and teach them about the importance of the 3 basic steps of skin care: Cleansing, Toning and Moisturizing.
  3. If their acne is severe, seek medical assistance from a qualified doctor.
  4. Watch for signs of depression such as low attachment to friends. If you suspect your child might be depressed, seek professional help immediately.

And for all parents – whether your teen has acne or not – please talk to your kids about acne and how devastating it can be for those struggling with it. Inspire your kids to help stop the cycle of bullying acne sufferers.

ProactivIf your child has mild to moderate acne, getting them started on a skin care regime such as Proactiv will help them treat their acne and give you an opportunity to talk to them about sympathizing with schoolmates with acne. It can be a chance to have a powerful conversation about bullying and self-esteem.

What About You?

Did you have acne when you were a teenager? Was it mild, moderate or severe? How did it make you feel?

Do you have teenage children? Are they struggling with acne? How do you talk to them about it? How are you helping them treat their acne?


Disclosure: I am participating in a compensated ambassadorship program with Proactiv. This post reflects my personal experiences and opinions only and is not intended as medical advice.

We would love if you shared this post with your friends by Stumbling, Tweeting, Pinning, or Sharing on Facebook. Thanks so much! We really appreciate your support of 5 Minutes for Mom.

Written by Susan Carraretto, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom.

We want to get to know you better — Tweet with us: @5minutesformom, find us on Facebook: Facebook.com/5minutesformom, and join our newsletter list.


  1. says

    I have adult acne too and have had it in varying degrees of severity since I was a teenager. It’s almost worse now at 38 because people don’t expect someone 38 to have acne… Ugh – haven’t found something that works either.

  2. says

    I had moderate acne as a teenager…but it lingered and sporadically intensified as an adult. I just finished a very successful treatment of accutane. And I cannot get over how incredibly freeing it is, to finally be done with acne (at 30 years of age)! I was so tired of it, but I didn’t even know how deeply it had affected me emotionally and physically until it was gone. I wish I could offer healing to young teenagers I see suffering. Great article!

    • Kimberly says

      Angela – Your post could be mine! Same age, same struggle with acne and I too just finished a round of accutane. It is absolutely amazing not having to deal with acne anymore. It’s freeing too! I have scars from when my acne got bad in my mid-twenties that I will hopefully be able to get rid of. Once that is completed I will be completely freed of that “4-letter” word!

  3. Cydney says

    I suffered from mild teenage acne but for some reason it seemed to get worse these days (I am now in my early 30s). I have tried pretty much every product on the market and have changed my vitamin regimen now in the hopes of reversing it! Oddly enough, the best skin of my life occurred DURING my recent pregnancy. He was my first and about 2 months after he was born things went REALLY down hill. Now, my son is 10 months old. I assume maybe its a hormonal imbalance or something now since I seem to get pretty bad cystic type pimples on my chin and cheeks only that happen the week before my period and during it. I then spend the next 2-3 weeks “healing” the pimples I got just for it to happen again the next month. It’s a nightmare but honestly not as bad as the photos for the people I’ve seen when Google “acne”. I feel terrible for them and want to cry for their pain the depression they must feel having to deal with it. Thanks for posting this entry! It’s important to address this with your kids and get them help. Acne is not about poor hygiene (r poor diet in each instance). Self-esteem is of the utmost importance!

  4. miriam padilla says

    I suffer from acne. I seriously have been crying for days now because I just feel So ugly. I hate my face & I just want it to go away. I have tried everything but nothing works. I just want to be like everybody else. I hate myself So much because of my acne.

  5. Camille b says

    I bought Citrus Clear for my 13 year old who was starting to get pimples around his nose and mouth. The next morning after the first use we could tell a difference. Less pimples and the ones that he did still have were smaller and less red-and this happened overnight. So far this system is working great!

    Do not use the Tangerine Tingle though – it irritated his face, but the Citrus Clear face wash did work!

  6. ricardo says

    i want to tell all of you that a lot of cleansers and topical creams and ointments DO NOT WORK for everyone, the truth i s i cleared up about 97% of my acne by eliminating the following and trust it will work for you even to aleast improve it. 1. eliminate milk, sweets, rice, anything that has to do with being man made suchas sodas, any of that crap that goes in to your body. 2 drink plenty of water 3 WATCH YOUR MEAT intake deadass or look for organic meats! 5 eat plenty of veggies moslty green. HAVE A CUP OF LIME AND water in the morning with a suplement of fish oil, and neem capsules. 6. most im portant i know its going to sound dumb but be aware of eating TOO MUCH fruit yeah thats right fruits are healthy but still contain frutose wich in quantities cuase sugar levels to spike cuasing more inflammation meaning bigger pimple! nad heres one of the biggest for me, DO NOT WASH YOUR FACE but replace that with a cotton ball soacked in mild lime water just enough to taste a slight bitter, and last use calendula gel it works wonders on the skin, 0 medicine and in my opinion works better than over the counter shiittt. hopefully this will work for you becuase if it worked for im fucking 100% sure it will work for you.

  7. says

    I have sever acne I am fairly popular at school however I still get made fun of sometimes I feel like no one understands they tease me yet they don’t realize the pain I go through I have acne on my back chest arms and face I have taken various acne products and they don’t work my acne does depress me I the only girl in my school with severe acne

  8. SC Mom says

    I am trying hard to help my teen son with his acne. He is 16, had sporadic pimples last year and then about 6 months ago the acnce took a rapid turn for the worse. we first tried over the counter products, and I talked to other moms for advice. but it got worse and worse – inflamed areas, large streaks of acne, very red-so we went to a dermatologist recommended by another mom whose son has acne also. They started him with 2 topical products and oral antibiotic, plus mild cleanser and mild lotion for moisturization. 6 weeks went by…scant improvement. My son is smart and nice looking and calm overall but this is beginning to get him self concious. We went back to the same doc 10 days ago week…at my request they put him on stronger prescription products. and gave him a new cleansing pad. It’s expensive, which is not the point. but for his sake we need to see some results. still now it looks worse after the last doc visit. I don’t bring it up to my son, i just told him i will help him with treatments until he is happy with the result. What else can i do?! is it really too early to expect good improvement with what the dermatologist recommended? we will go to another dermatologist in 3 weeks to get a 2nd opinion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>