How Long Does Acne Last in the Puberty Years?

By Kay Ireland
Picking and popping can make acne last longer than it has to.
Picking and popping can make acne last longer than it has to.

As your child makes the transition from preteen to teen to adult, he'll experience a number of changes -- some unpleasant. Acne is an unwelcome and embarrassing sight for most teens, even if they know that eight out of 10 teens will experience the condition, according to KidsHealth. If your teen is complaining about his skin, remind him that most of the time, acne doesn't last forever.

Acne Causes

Your teen can thank puberty for triggering acne on his face and body -- the influx of hormones also triggers the production of oil in his pores. That oil -- called sebum -- can become trapped and cause pimples, blackheads and whiteheads. Acne is a normal part of puberty that most teens experience. Individual experiences with acne, however, can vary widely from teen to teen. Some might only have mild instances, while others will experience acne for most of the teen years.

Acne Longevity

It's impossible to tell how long your teen's acne will last, according to KidsHealth. Some will have a relatively short experience with the skin condition, while others will see acne into their late teens and even early adult years. One clue as to how long your teen will deal with acne is your own experience with past pimples. Skin conditions are often hereditary, so if you experienced acne through your teen years, your teen is likely to have a similar experience.

Exacerbating Acne

While you can't really predict how long acne will be an issue for your teen, bad habits can often make acne worse and more prolonged than necessary. Picking at and popping zits can transfer oil and bacteria from your teen's hands to his face and also lead to permanent scarring, warns the Children's Physician Network. Wearing tight and non-breathable clothes, sports gear and uniforms can also exacerbate acne by forcing bacteria and sweat to remain on the skin, so encourage your teen to wear breathable clothes and wash his gear often to avoid lasting problems.

Coping with Acne

Your teen's acne can be a sore spot during the impressionable and sometimes embarrassing years during puberty, but the condition can be coped with in many ways. Take your teen to his doctor to talk about products -- both over-the-counter and prescriptive -- that can help reduce surface oil and cause a reduction in acne. Products containing ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can help your teen have a clearer face and more confidence, no matter how long his acne lasts.

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.