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Medications for Teenage & or Youth Acne

Medications for Teenage & or Youth Acne Medications for Teenage & or Youth Acne

Acne is an embarrassing and unsightly condition causing blemishes that typically appear in adolescence and can continue into adulthood. Acne is most common in teenagers, according to Medline Plus, occurring in three out of four teens. While many products exist both over-the-counter and by prescription for acne sufferers, not all skin conditions are the same, making finding the right treatments a tricky task. Teenage acne may be harsher than adult acne, requiring a more-aggressive medication.

Oral Antibiotics

Antibiotics are generally used to treat infections in the body, such as earaches or urinary tract infections. Oral antibiotics such as minocycline, doxycycline and tetracycline are often prescribed to treat teenage acne. These medications have been a valuable option for many years, working to reduce acne by decreasing bacteria that clogs pores and leads to blemishes. Their effectiveness is supported by many studies, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The danger in using these medications, however, is resistance. When the bacteria no longer respond to the medication, no other antibiotic can be prescribed.

Oral Contraceptives

Oral contraceptives are not always used for pregnancy prevention; they are also an effective option for the treatment of acne, used by women and teenage girls. Oral contraceptives work by suppressing overactive sebaceous glands, which block pores and cause the skin to become oily. However, oral contraceptives may not be appropriate for teens with a history of migraine headaches.

Topical Medications

Topical medications for teenage acne include those found over-the-counter and by prescription. Over-the-counter products often include the same active ingredients available by prescription, though the prescriptions are much stronger and may be more appropriate for those with severe acne. Benzoyl peroxide, sulfer resorcinol and salycilic acid are basic main ingredients in acne washes, creams and masks. Benzoyl peroxide is effective at killing bacteria, and according to The American Academy of Dermatololgy it has been used for decades. While it often causes dryness, teenagers with oily skin may find it beneficial. Salycilic acid may help increase shedding of the skin, reducing clogged pores that cause acne. Acne products marketed for teenagers often contain higher percentages of benzoyl peroxide and salycilic acid than those meant for adults or sensitive skin types.


Retinoid acne treatments are derived from vitamin A, which causes the skin to shed and increases cell turnover. They are available in topical applications and oral formulations. While they are generally effective treatments, the skin typically worsens with initial use, becoming red, peeling excessively and even burning before it clears.

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