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Can You Prevent Your Child From Getting Acne?

By Megan Griffith

Reviewed for medical accuracy by Dr. Jaggi Rao,
MD, FRCPC Double board-certified dermatologist

While children can get acne1, it is most prevalent in teenagers going through puberty. Acne can cause insecurities, depression and overall low self-esteem in many teens. Is it possible to prevent your child from getting acne? Unfortunately there’s not a guaranteed solution to prevent acne because acne is caused by overactive oil glands. Fortunately though, there are ways to reduce the chances of those dreadful breakouts2. Before you give in to their requests for that “amazing” Proactiv acne treatment they see on TV, give these tips a try.

Teenage Acne Prevention
Can an app help you figure out your skin? Can you help prevent your teen from getting acne?

1. Have Child Wash Their Face After Exercise

The majority of kids enjoy being active. The sweat that’s produced can cause clogged pores. This makes it difficult to remove the excess oil and dead skin cells from the face. After strenuous activities be sure that your child cleans off their face3 with a facial cleanser. It is recommended to use a washcloth or loofah to ensure that all of the dead skin cells are removed4.

2. Improve The Diet Of Your Child

There’s a lot of debate when it comes to diet and acne. Does greasy food cause breakouts? What about chocolate? You know the saying “you are what you eat”, but the truth is everyone is different. Some people can eat In-and-Out every day and never produce a whitehead. Others look at a french fry and have a week-long breakout. But there is a food group that is proven to help reduce acne: fruits and vegetables. Try to get your child to eat two to three times the daily recommended amount5.

3. Watch What Your Child Puts On Their Skin/Hair

Many girls going through puberty are starting to use makeup. Makeup can be extremely irritating and clog up pores. If your lovely daughter must have makeup, try to buy cosmetics that are oil-free. Using oil-free makeup will help alleviate the clogged pores that regular makeup leaves behind6. Makeup is not the only beauty product that is harmful to the skin, though. Hair products can be just as bad as makeup. Try to buy water-based hair products for your children, which is a little gentler on the skin.

4. Let Your Child Relax And Be A Kid

Stress can really aid acne flare-ups. According to Lisa A. Garner, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, “when you already have acne and you get into a stressful situation, that seems to be when your acne really flares up”. Trying to minimize the stress around your child could really help them subside those troublesome breakouts7.

Unfortunately, acne is often not treated as a serious condition8. Many people see acne and think that person doesn’t wash their face, eats bad or has poor overall hygiene. But acne is caused more by genetics than anything else9. Of course we can manage acne with these tips, but the root of acne needs to be treated using specialized treatments, customized routines and specialty cleansers or medicines. If your child struggles with acne, give them words of encouragement during this rough period of their lives.


  1. Schnopp C, Mempel M. Acne vulgaris in children and adolescents. Minerva Pediatr. 2011 Aug;63(4):293-304.
  2. Yeo L, Ormerod AD. Treatment of acne in children. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2014 Apr;15(2):77-86.
  3. Stringer T, Nagler A, Orlow SJ, Oza VS. Clinical evidence for washing and cleansers in acne vulgaris: a systematic review. J Dermatolog Treat. 2018 Nov;29(7):688-693.
  4. Veraldi S, Barbareschi M, Micali G, Skroza N, Guanziroli E1, Schianchi R, Tedeschi A. Role of cleansers in the management of acne: Results of an Italian survey in 786 patients. J Dermatolog Treat. 2016 Oct;27(5):439-42.
  5. Kucharska A, Szmurło A, Sińska B. Significance of diet in treated and untreated acne vulgaris. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2016 Apr;33(2):81-6.
  6. Monfrecola G, Cacciapuoti S, Capasso C, Delfino M, Fabbrocini G. Tolerability and camouflaging effect of corrective makeup for acne: results of a clinical study of a novel face compact cream. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2016 Oct 11;9:307-313.
  7. Maleki A, Khalid N. Exploring the relationship between stress and acne: a medical student’s perspective. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2018 Apr 12;11:173-174.
  8. Jović A1, Marinović B, Kostović K, Čeović R, Basta-Juzbašić A, Bukvić Mokos Z. The Impact of Pyschological Stress on Acne. Acta Dermatovenerol Croat. 2017 Jul;25(2):1133-141.
  9. Lichtenberger R, Simpson MA, Smith C, Barker J, Navarini AA. Genetic architecture of acne vulgaris. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2017 Dec;31(12):1978-1990.
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