Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

A survival guide to teenage pimples:

Approximately 85% of young people aged 12-24 experience pimples, making it one of the most common dermatological problems for this age group.
By Amanda Foxon-Hill
Date: February 28 2015
Editor Rating:

How do we educate our teenagers about their skin and guide them in the right direction when it comes to their daily skin care routine? I’ve created this ‘cheat sheet’ with the help of Clearasil to help mums and teenagers with all the necessary information about teenage skin.

An introduction to pimples – what causes them and how to fight them

Why do teenagers get pimples?

It is during our teenage years that we often push the limits – we stay out late, forget to cleanse thoroughly before bed, eat poorly, wash too often (or not enough) and generally don’t care enough about our skin. When our skin is stressed or under attack it reacts. There is no single cause of pimples but there are a few things that we do know that can help the skin from the outside.

The right skin care routine

You have possibly heard of the concept of good and bad bacteria for digestion? Well the same concept applies to our skin.  During the stress of our teenage years it is especially important to choose skin care that gently cleans the skin as harsh, stripping cleansers and toners can bring additional stress to the situation.

In addition, vigorous removing of the skins natural protective barrier through harsh cleaning can leave it more vulnerable, so instead of leaving the skin feeling and looking clean and fresh, it can lead to more pimples.  

A gentle, balanced cleansing regimen for daily use should contain ingredients that help maintain the skins water balance. There are humectants such as fruit extracts, glycerin, betaine, hyaluronic acid or Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) that meet this criteria and gently help reduce the potential for congestion (where excess oil blocks the pores), without stripping the skin.

Understanding your teenager’s skin

Oily skin

Skin that is said to be oily often looks shiny, and often has enlarged pores. The key to keeping oily teenage skin healthy is to prevent congestion and to rapidly fight off pimples to prevent enlarging pores further, all while maintaining the skin’s natural barrier function.  

Oily skin needs careful cleansing to prevent congestion so a product like Clearasil’s Ultra Rapid Action Gel Wash is great for when skin is suffering from a breakout, whilst the Ultra Rapid Action Deep Pore Scrubis an ideal way to unblock pores and prevent further break outs.

Normal to dry

Teenagers with normal to dry skin can still suffer from pimples. As excess oil is less of a problem here, it is imperative to choose products that prevent the skin from being stripped.

The range of products to use here would be anything from the Daily Clear range, as it is a gentler formula for everyday use and doesn’t over dry the skin.  


Combination skin can be oily in the T-Zone section (chin, nose and forehead) but dry or normal on the cheek. Comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), can be an issue here and a gentle exfoliant such as can help balance the skin and prevent congestion. Using products like Ultra Rapid Action Pimple Cream on problem areas can help improve the appearance of blemishes while preventing dry-out.

Tips on the right skincare for your teenager

3 key pieces of advice to give your teens

1.  Cleanse regularly but gently, don’t scrub your face like you would your bike or that car you wish you could drive

2.  If they wear make-up, encourage them to give the skin chance to breathe and recover between applications. For example, try one make-up free day a week.

3.  Never, ever go to bed with a dirty face because nighttime is when your skin has a chance to recharge.  Dirt and make-up can hinder this process and leave the skin congested and tired looking come morning.

Ingredients to look out for are

  • Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) is ideal for teen skin as it is gentle, hydrating and soothing.  As the skin is already working hard to keep everything in balance, a vitamin infused cleanser can give the skin an extra helping hand
  • Salicylic Acid is a great additive for teen skin care as it gently helps to remove dead skin cells preventing congestion. Salicylic acid can be used on a daily basis in cosmetic preparations and at 1.9% or less, (as formulated in the Clearasil range)
  • Superfruits – Raspberry and Cranberry extracts are known for their antioxidant properties to help improve the skin’s condition.  

5 common pimple myths

1.  Myth: Popping pimples makes them go away faster

  • Fact:  Though popping a pimple may make it seem less noticeable temporarily, squeezing the pimple can cause it to stay around longer. Popping a pimple can cause bacteria from the pimple to go deeper into the skin. In addition, sometimes popping a pimple causes a mark to form that could last months.

2.  Myth: For clear skin, don’t wear make-up

  • Fact:   You don't have to forgo cosmetics altogether! Some concealers now contain salicylic acid to help fight pimples. Tinted pimple-fighting creams are a good option because they also help to fight pimples while hiding them.

3.  Myth: Pimples are caused by dirt

  • Fact:  It is not just the dirt on the surface of the skin that is the problem, but it is a combination of skin scales, the oil and bacteria found in the follicles and sebaceous gland which then clog the skin pores. Clogged skin pores are commonly known as blackheads.

4.  Myth: Toothpaste cures pimples

  • Fact:  Save the toothpaste for brushing your teeth! Toothpaste is not a skin care solution to pimples. To care for pimples properly, you need to use the right skin care products that will care and maintain problem skin and as a result you will have the confidence to put your best face forward all day, every day.

5. Myth:  Eating junk food causes more pimples

  • Fact:  Some people say their skin gets better when they cut back on dairy, or when they eat foods that don't spike their blood sugar level, but no particular foods are proven to cause bad skin. Combined with a good skin care routine, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and limit sugary foods as they don't offer your skin much nutrition.
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