How to Talk to Your Teen about Acne—Without Hurting Feelings


Taking Care of Teenager’s Confidence So They Can Take On The World


If the teen years could be summed up in one word, “complex” would be a strong contender. Teens’ relationships, education, goals and bodies become increasingly, well, complex. For 85% of the teen population in New Zealand, teenage acne and all that goes along with it becomes part of the struggle for teens and parents alike.


Guiding your teenager through this period of growth is hard enough without the self-esteem issues, scarring, and skin injury caused by panic-inducing breakouts. Photo filters and the right lighting smooths and perfects skin issues on Instagram and TikTok. But there’s no magic filter to turn on when a teenager walks out the front door. 


What is the real-world solution? It starts with understanding what causes acne, and ends with finding gentle personal hygiene solutions without damaging side effects. So read on to learn how you can help your tweens and teens tackle acne without hurting their self-esteem.


What Triggers Teenage Acne?


Overactive oil glands + skin cells = clogged pores

Clogged pores become a breeding ground for bacteria which results in pimples. Unfortunately, a lot of factors contribute to clogged pores:



The degree to which your teen suffers from acne may have started with the genes you passed down. Don’t beat yourself up about it, but use this empathy to gently talk to your teen about the issue - use your experience to guide them through it!



When testosterone levels are high, the body has to do something about it–skin to the rescue! The skin acts as a filter, getting rid of excess toxins and for your teenager, excess hormones resulting in excess oil.



A few weeks before the period hits, a woman’s body produces increased levels of estrogen and progesterone, which stimulate the oil glands. Back to our original equation, this is a perfect storm for a breakout, and heightened tension to go with it. 


Emotional Stress

For teens with existing breakouts, stress can make acne worse. When the body releases the stress hormone called cortisol, the skin becomes oilier, which aggravates the existing problem.


What Can Be Done about Acne?


Shop with Sensitivity

If the causes of acne seem numerous, the number of products designed to treat it seem downright dizzying. Supermarkets and pharmacies carry a huge selection of acne products, but most are very heavily labeled “ACNE.” Unless your teen has specifically asked you to buy skincare products to treat acne, tread lightly. Bringing heavily labelled facial cleansers home uninvited can be too abrupt of a way to enter a conversation on acne. Instead, consider teaching your teen about your cleansing routine, and suggest setting a budget where the two of you can go shopping for products together. 


Our Acne Treatment Cleanser is gentle, non-drying, and unlike many teen acne products, it won’t bleach clothes or towels. Also, it also looks like an elegant and discreet cosmetic product, which many teens appreciate. Every teen’s skin is different, but CLn Acne Cleanser could end up being the best facial cleanser that finally ends the war your teenager is having with their appearance. 


Establish a Routine

Perhaps before the teen years, kids didn’t wash their face more than once a day.  Teens’ bodies produce more oil than kids and need more cleansing. Gentle—vs—harsh cleansing is best, and frequency is key. So help establish good habits and personal hygiene in tweens and teens by gently reminding that faces should be washed morning, night and after sweating.


Don’t Forget to Moisturise

Many teens can benefit from a good, lightweight moisturiser to soothe and prep the skin for cosmetics. Moisteriser is also really important in the hot Kiwi summer months due to sun exposure and dehydration, as well as to combat the chaotic and changeable winter months experienced all over New Zealand. CLn Facial Moisturiser absorbs quickly and does not clog pores. Any moisturiser used by teens should read “non-comedogenic” on the label. 


Avoid Too Much Sun

This one is a biggie, and a tricky one when you have weather as beautiful as ours and beaches just calling out to your teens. A change to their daily skin hygiene routine happens radically during summer when they start to wear sunscreen to protect them from getting burnt, move in and out of salty sea water and inevitably end up with the odd bit of sunburn here or there as they enjoy the hotter months. Many sunscreen brands are thick and clog up pores - making the acne problem worse - HOWEVER - you do not want your teens going out in the sun without it. 


So what do you do?


Choose a sunscreen that is labelled ‘non-comedogenic’, for a start. The second thing is to not be fooled by a tan. Tans appear to reduce redness of acne and make it seem like the sun is actually helping, when it’s really not. The harsh Kiwi sun dries out your skin, and your skin reacts by producing more oil = more bacteria to block your pores and bingo: you are now a hot breeding ground for more acne. For any teen, but especially if your teen is acne-prone, enjoy sunshine carefully - opt for hats, cover ups and high quality sunscreen, and avoid the sun when it's at its hottest!


Know When and How to Involve a Doctor

Sometimes, a little professional help is needed to deal with acne. Dr. Kristine Romine of Camelback Dermatology & Skin Surgery ( states, “Almost all teens get acne, which can be so distressing for both them and their parents. There are many over the counter treatments to choose from and some may not be ideal for every teen’s skin type. Please let your teen know that a Dermatologist can help find quick and painless solutions to get clear, smooth skin.”

Clean Routine = Happy Teen

With these easy-to-use tips, your teen’s bright, clean face may result in utilising #nofilter even when they have the opportunity to use one. And one less complexity to deal with in the teen years? Win/win for parents and teens alike.


Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The information, graphics, and images on this website are not intended to substitute diagnosis and/or treatment by a medical professional. These products have been clinically tested and proven to be safe for intended use. Always seek the advice of a physician with any questions you may have regarding a specific medical condition.

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