teen acne treatment singapore

Preteen and Teenage Acne Treatment

Early intervention of your acne helps to prevent potential acne scarring.

Discover how teenagers can get their acne treated to maintain a healthier skin.

best teenage acne treatment singapore
Forehead acne is common in teenagers

Table of Contents

Understanding teenage acne

We understand that teenage acne can be a challenging and distressing condition. Our comprehensive acne treatment program is designed to address the unique needs of teenagers, providing effective and customized solutions to achieve clear and healthy skin.

Teenage acne is a common skin condition caused by a combination of hormonal changes, excess oil production, and bacteria. It can significantly impact a teenager’s self-esteem and confidence. Our goal is to not only treat the visible symptoms but also to address the underlying causes to prevent future breakouts.


Our Approach

Teen Acne Treatment

As a clinician with more than 15 years of experience, Dr Ng. understands the impact of how acne can affect an individual. Acne knows no boundaries, afflicting a wide range of age groups and affecting both genders for varying lengths of time. Dr. Ng provides a patient-centric approach that is backed by the latest scientific evidence as well as his own wealth of experience to create a care plan for the best acne treatment that is unique to your skin type. Early intervention can help prevent acne scars, restore your skin and confidence.

How common is Preteen and Teenage Acne?

“My Daughter is 9 and has acne. Can it be treated?”

Although the prevalence of acne is highest in the teenage group (more than 12 years of age), acne can occur at all ages. A study revealed that acne is present in up to 78% of girls aged 9 to 10. Acne may be the first sign of puberty in both boys and girls.

Acne is considered a chronic inflammatory condition of the pilo-sebaceous glands. In addition to being hormonally driven, other factors contributing to acne include an excess in sebum  production and abnormal skin cell turnover. This creates an ideal environment for the colonisation of the C.acnes bacteria and inflammation to take place. Left untreated, acne can progress to more severe forms such as cystic acne, and can leave permanent acne scars

Our goal is early intervention to clear acne actively so we can prevent any form of acne scarring, improve mental health and enhance quality of life during this challenging stage of their lives.

preteen acne has T zone distribution
Mainly comedomal acne on forehead
inflammatory acne on jawline
Inflammatory acne along jawline

How Is Teenage Acne Different From Adult Acne?

Preteen and teen acne tends to be concentrated along the ‘T zone area‘. The forehead, nose, mid cheeks and chin tend to be affected by mainly clogged pores, whiteheads and blackheads. The back is usually the last to be affected if any at all. Inflammatory acne lesions are less common in this age group. However, whiteheads left unchecked has a higher tendency to progress to inflammatory acne. One special feature is the presence of blackheads in the ear, which many mistaken for dirt, leading to over zealous cleansing.

In contrast, adult acne tends to follow a “U-Shape” pattern, with acne lesions being distributed along the jawline, chin and cheeks. The inflammatory component is more visible in this age group, and are characterized by painful papules, pustules or even deep seated acne cysts.

Teenage Acne
Adult Acne
Age Group
Typically affects 11-18 year olds
Typically affects 23 years and older
Hormonal influence
Strongly linked to pubertal development
Linked to hormonal fluctuations e.g. menstruation, PCOS
Common Areas
Predominantly on forehead, nose, chin (T-zone) Chest and back is often seen in males.
More common on lower face, jawline, neck.
Acne type
More likely to have comedones (whiteheads, blackheads), papules and pustules.
In addition to papules,pustules and comedones, may also develop cysts and nodules.
Hormonal changes, stress, diet, and skincare products
Hormonal changes, stress, diet, medications, and cosmetics
Long-term effects
Potential for psychological and physical scarring if not treated properly
Higher risk of persistent acne and scarring, may require long-term management

What are the types of acne?

Mild AcneMild Acne

Mild Acne Vulgaris

Many papules, pustules, comedomes in a limited area
Moderate AcneModerate Acne

Moderate Acne Vulgaris

Numerous papules, pustules, comedomes affecting more than half of the affected area
cystic acnecystic acne

Severe Acne Vulgaris

Entire area covered with papules, pustules, comedomes. Acne cysts and nodules may appear.
Colored skin acne anatomy composition with types of acne pimples before and after vector illustrationColored skin acne anatomy composition with types of acne pimples before and after vector illustration

Benefits of early treatment

3 Tips to Fight Acne

  1. Use a 2% salicyclic acid-based wash if you find the skin to be very oily,
  2. Avoid over-washing your face more than 3 times a day, as this can lead to more oil production and consequently more acne.
  3. Over the counter Benzoyl Peroxide products are useful and can treat mild forms of acne.

Can Teenage Acne Be Treated?

There are several factors to consider with regards to teenage and preteen acne treatment. The predominant acne type (whether comedomal, inflammatory or mixed), the severity (mild, moderate or severe), presence of acne scarring and whether the acne is causing psychological distress.

Acne in our youth has its unique challenges. The treatment regime needs to be simple enough to follow, yet effective. Medications must be safe to use, yet side effects minimised. Patient education must be positively reinforced, and myths dispelled at the same time.

best acne treatment singapore

Teen Acne Treatment

The best teenage acne treatment depends on the predominant acne type, and how severe the acne is affecting the child.

For mild acne, topical fixed-combination acne products are more effective and have a synergistic effect. For instance,  Epiduo gel is a combination of the retinoid adapalene with benzoyl peroxide. Together, they exert an anti-inflammatory effect, unclog pores and kill the P. acnes bacteria. It is approved for use in patients as young as 9 years of age. It is common for the product to cause some initial skin redness, irritation and peeling. A gradual approach to application helps increase the acceptance in incorporating the treatment into daily use. 

In cases of moderate to severe acne, the goals of treatment is more directed towards reducing inflammation and reducing permanent skin scarring. Treatment is more aggressive, and an oral antibiotic may be added on top of topical acne products. Trifarotene cream, a fourth generation retinoid is approved for those aged 9 years and older with facial and/or truncal acne. Studies have shown that it is safe for children and teens from 9 to 17 years old, with almost negligible systemic absorption.

The tetracycline class of antibiotics are only approved by children more than 8 years of age. Antibiotics may cause gastric disturbances such as vomiting, bloatedness, reflux and diarrhoea. The shortest course of oral antibiotic is usually prescribed, as the risk of antibiotic-resistant acne is on the rise worldwide. 

Set reminders for your acne treatment

3 More Tips For Parents & Patients

  1. Set reminders on your phone to apply or take your medicine. Consistent use will give superior results.
  2. Don’t spot treat. Acne frequently pops out areas that are not treated. Full face treatment should be the norm once you have established a simplified skin care routine.
  3. Patience. Everything is difficult before it is easy. It takes weeks to see some improvement, and 2-3 months before you see the full effect of the treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions About Teenage Acne

Yes, acne is very common among adolescents. It is estimated that up to 85% of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 24 experience acne to some degree. This is primarily due to hormonal changes during puberty, which can lead to increased oil production in the skin, clogged pores, and bacterial growth, all of which contribute to the development of acne. While acne can be bothersome and sometimes persistent during adolescence, it usually improves with age for most individuals. However, it’s important to note that acne can also affect adults, though it tends to be less common and typically presents differently than adolescent acne.

While it may not be possible to prevent acne entirely, there are several steps teenagers can take to minimize breakouts, including practicing good skincare habits (such as cleansing the face twice daily), avoiding picking or squeezing pimples, using non-comedogenic (non-pore-clogging) skincare products, and managing stress levels.

Treatment options for teenage acne vary depending on the severity of the acne. Over-the-counter products containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur can be effective for mild acne. For moderate to severe acne, prescription medications such as topical retinoids, oral antibiotics, hormonal contraceptives (for females), or isotretinoin (Accutane) may be recommended by a dermatologist.

While the relationship between diet and acne is still being researched, some studies suggest that certain dietary factors, such as high glycemic index foods and dairy products, may exacerbate acne in some individuals. Maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins may help support overall skin health.

The duration of teenage acne varies from person to person. For some individuals, acne may improve or resolve on its own as they transition into adulthood. For others, acne may persist into their 20s or beyond. Seeking treatment early can help manage acne and reduce the risk of long-term scarring or skin damage.

Wearing makeup does not necessarily cause acne, but certain makeup products or improper makeup removal practices can potentially exacerbate acne. Choosing non-comedogenic (non-pore-clogging) makeup products and thoroughly removing makeup before bedtime can help minimize the risk of acne flare-ups.

If over-the-counter acne treatments are not effective or if acne is severe, causing scarring, or impacting quality of life, it’s advisable to seek guidance from a dermatologist. A dermatologist can evaluate the acne, recommend appropriate treatments, and provide personalized skincare advice tailored to the individual’s needs.

Dr Moses Ng dermatologist

teen acne

My immediate concern whenever I see a case of acne in teenagers, whether it is mild or severe, is to assess how it is affecting their health. Acne that is not treated can lead to great emotional distress and scarring. This is quite unnecessary in this day and age, where effective acne treatments are readily available.

Schedule a consultation for Teen acne treatment in Singapore

We treat a range of acne and acne scars at both our clinics in Woodlands and Kovan. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, so that Dr. Ng can develop a personalized treatment approach for resolving your teenager’s skin concerns and helping them to achieve long-term improvements in the health and appearance of their skin.

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Or give us a call at +65 6769 6007 | WhatsApp us +65 9855 3022

  • Zaenglein et al. Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016;74:945-973.e933
  • Eichefield et al. Evidence-Based Recommendations for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Pediatric Acne. Pediatrics.2013;131(Suppl 3):S163-S186