Acne Battle Plan Advice From a Dermatologist



Acne is embarrassing to anyone but especially to teenagers. Dr. Jo Herzog is both a mom and a dermatologist, and she offers her best advice to parents and teens on how to prevent and treat acne.


Dr. Jo Herzog


One of the biggest issues facing teens today is acne. Whether preteen or teenager, male or female, acne is the gift that nobody wants. As a mom and a dermatologist, I’ve had to deal with acne with five of my own children and also countless patients. 

Although every patient is different and it is always best to address issues with a physical exam and office visit, I will try my best to offer general advice and tips for Family Savvy readers on how to deal with acne.

Address Acne as Early as Possible

Patients often come to me weeks or days before a prom, wedding or big event wanting me to “fix” their acne. This is a hard task, as doctors are not miracle workers. If a teen has acne, start addressing it early. Make an appointment with the doctor. Allow time to try different medications and treatments. Waiting until the last minute will likely result in disappointment.) Being persistent is key. Teenagers have to realize that changes are not immediate and might take several weeks to months.

Some OTC Treatments to Try
  • OTC benzoyl peroxide wash (2.5% to 5 %) can be used daily. Since benzoyl peroxide can fade anything it touches, you might want to buy some white towels and a white pillowcase for the teen to use during this time.
  • Cetaphil or a similar gentle cleanser can be used daily.  
  • For very oily skin, you can get an OTC matting product such as OC Eight.  This can be used in morning and as needed during the day.
The Best Tools for Face Washing

A good wash with hands should be fine for teens. Hand held spinning brushes are also fine and might even give a better cleaning. Just make sure you use one with a soft brush and do not overdo it. I do not encourage rough scrubbing with wash cloths; this can irritate inflamed skin. 

Makeup for Acne Prone Skin
  • Make sure all make-up is oil free.
  • The less face makeup the better. 
  • Don’t forget that sunscreen, and use a gel or oil free sunscreen.  
  • If dryness is a problem, use a non-comedogenic moisturizer like cetaphil.


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  1. Acne skin condition usually occurs during adolescence. Most of the people get it at some point during their life time.

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