Which treatment for teen acne is best?

Many teens struggle with acne due to their bodies’ increased production of hormones. Regardless of gender, hormones, stress and environmental factors can cause the skin to break out.

The first step for any teen looking to get rid of acne should be a trip to the dermatologist to find out exactly what is causing the skin to flare. Your doctor may be able to recommend products that work for you. 

After speaking with your dermatologist, consider purchasing a multi-step skin treatment made with natural ingredients and a gentle formula to say goodbye to those stubborn blackheads and regain confidence. 

What to know before you buy an acne treatment

Multi-product system 

To ensure healthy skin for years to come, consider adopting a skin care routine at a young age. A skin care routine is the use of products to clean and moisturize the skin in the morning and at night.

A general skin care routine includes a cleanser, a serum and a moisturizer, and the fewer products used, the better. Using the same products over and over lets the skin adapt to their ingredients. The best skin care treatments for acne also serve as a skin routine and will likely be used long after the acne has gone away. 


Those looking for awesome acne treatments should consider products that serve every purpose. The cleanser should contain gentle unscented agents that cleanse the skin while exfoliating. A buildup of dead skin could cause more acne. Cleansers with salicylic acid work directly to combat acne and acne scars. 

For your morning skin routine and treatment, make sure the product contains vitamin C. This antioxidant brightens the skin and protects it from environmental stressors while treating rough skin patches.

A nighttime regimen should feature azelaic acid or a retinoid. Retinoids are often too strong and drying for those with acne, but azelaic acid works similarly to repair the skin overnight and remove acne scarring while soothing irritation.

Moisturizers should contain humectants and emollients to draw hydration to the skin. These include hyaluronic acid, collagen and oils such as jojoba and argan. 

As a rule of thumb when choosing a skin treatment, consider products that are unscented, hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested to avoid more breakouts and irritation. Though essential oils are natural, they can still irritate sensitive skin.

How much you can expect to spend on acne treatment

Acne treatments cost anywhere from $25-$250 depending on size, ingredients and brand. A treatment that is less popular and contains fewer skin-perfecting ingredients costs $25-$40, while a treatment clinically proven to improve acne and featuring the best ingredients is priced from $50-$250. 

Tips for buying acne treatments

  • Check the ingredients first. Introduce any new products to your dermatologist to see if the ingredients might work for you. 
  • Pay attention to your skin type. Some treatments are made for oily skin and could dry out other skin types. 
  • Apply these products on a clean face. For better absorption, let your face remain slightly damp when applying them. 
  • Products that are plant-based are more likely to contain natural ingredients for sensitive skin. 
  • Gently exfoliate your face in the morning to remove dead skin and allow your products to be absorbed. 
  • Don’t put too many products on before letting them soak in. 

Acne treatments FAQ

When should I see a dermatologist? 

A. Teens with acne should see a dermatologist if the acne is painful or if it is making them insecure. If you experience frequent breakouts, go to the dermatologist to discuss the best products for your condition. 

How important is a skin routine? 

A. Following a skin routine is extremely important. Forgetting to cleanse and moisturize your face can result in the buildup of dead skin, dirt and oil. If there is a break in the routine or the routine is all over the place, your skin will likely have a reaction. Not having a good skin routine could result in acne. A skin routine can work to keep hormonal acne under control. 

Best acne treatments under $60

Paula’s Choice Clear Extra Strength Acne Kit 

Paula’s Choice Clear Extra Strength Acne Kit 

This three-step skin care system works quickly to combat and control persistent acne, breakouts, blemishes and blackheads without drying out the skin. It unclogs and minimizes the look of pores while improving signs of sensitivity. Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide work to combat cystic acne. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

bioClarity Clear Skin 3 Step Routine For Acne And Breakouts

bioClarity Clear Skin 3 Step Routine For Acne And Breakouts

This three-step routine is clinically proven to clear acne and breakouts with gentle acne-fighting ingredients. The dermatologist-tested plant-based formula is used to reduce irritation and redness associated with breakouts. It’s gentle on sensitive skin, vegan and cruelty-free.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Solutions

Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Solutions

This kit works to clear the look of blemishes and clear pores to help prevent new breakouts from forming. It’s a simple four-step that clears skin while hydrating, so teens won’t be left with dry patches. 

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty

Proactiv Solution 3-Step Acne Treatment System Starter Kit

Proactiv 3-Step Acne Treatment System Starter Kit

This three-step treatment offers products that work together to treat and prevent breakouts for most skin types, especially oily and combination skin. Its benzoyl peroxide kills acne-causing bacteria and works alongside glycolic acid, an exfoliating alpha hydroxy acid, to keep pores clear and skin breakout-free.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty

Best acne treatments under $100

Tula Level 3 Acne Clearing Routine

Tula Level 3 Acne-Clearing Routine

This acne-clearing routine combines powerful probiotic extracts and skin superfoods for healthy, balanced, glowing skin. It’s made without parabens and sulfates and is clinically proven to combat acne and soothe skin. The lightweight moisturizer contains 2% salicylic acid and prevents mild to severe breakouts, while azelaic acid brightens marks left by past blemishes. It is fast-absorbing, non-greasy and formulated without alcohol.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Sunday Riley All About Acne Kit

Sunday Riley All About Acne Kit

This acne treatment is made up of five essentials that work together to tackle acne and blackheads. It’s made with clean ingredients that won’t irritate skin, and it isn’t tested on animals. 

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty

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Logan DeLoye writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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