Natural Acne Remedies for Your Teen

There’s nothing easy about being a teenager. The transition from childhood to adulthood has plenty of bumps in the road. As your teen struggles to find himself and his place in the world, the last thing he needs is an outbreak of teenage acne to add to his stress.

Unfortunately, teenage acne is extremely common. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that about 85% of American teens will have acne, most likely triggered by hormonal changes during puberty. It’s not uncommon for hormonal acne to continue into young adulthood as well.

During the teen years, testosterone levels increase in both boys and girls, but especially in boys. This stimulates the production of excess sebum, an oil in the hair follicles of the skin. When the skin’s pores become clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells, bacteria can grow, laying the groundwork for acne breakouts. When the immune system reacts to the bacteria, it creates inflammation, producing pimples.1

Teens face all kinds of challenges as they mature, from awkward physical and emotional changes to shifting social circles and unrequited crushes. While you won’t be able to help with all of these problems, you can make life easier for your teen by offering some helpful tips on how to get rid of acne.

Conventional acne treatments are usually medicated, but here at Naturelo, we prefer to start with natural options. With the right skin care and nutrition, you can help get your teen’s hormonal acne under control naturally. Here are the best natural acne treatment strategies we have found.

Best Vitamins for Acne

Healthy, clear skin starts with getting the right nutrition. Research shows that people with acne are more likely to be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. Specifically, acne has been linked with low levels of vitamin D,2 vitamin A, vitamin E, and zinc.3

Vitamin D is known for its immune-boosting benefits, which includes antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects for the skin. We get Vitamin D naturally from the sun, but as modern culture increasingly moves indoors, studies show that Vitamin D deficiency is becoming startlingly common.4

Vitamin A helps regulate the shedding of dead skin cells, promoting healthy new skin cell growth while preventing overshedding that can clog the pores.5 Many of the current prescription treatments for acne are actually retinols or retinoids, a synthetic derivative of Vitamin A.

Vitamin E is well known as one of the best vitamins for skin health in general. It has anti-inflammatory benefits and supports cell regeneration and healing. It has been shown to improve acne symptoms when combined with other nutrients, such as selenium6 and zinc.7

Zinc is one of the best-studied minerals for acne treatment. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, helps regulate skin cell regeneration, and can even reduce excess sebum production. Plus, zinc plays a role in helping the body to metabolize and use vitamin A and vitamin E.8 It’s no wonder a number of studies have shown that zinc can help treat acne.9,10

We don’t necessarily recommend taking high doses of these vitamins and minerals, as it is possible to overdose on them, especially when they are taken in a synthetic form. Your teen probably gets some of these nutrients already from food and sun; you just want to make sure he gets enough that he doesn’t become deficient.

It’s better if your teen takes these vitamins and minerals all together in the form of a plant-based multivitamin, such as our Whole Food Multivitamin for Teens. It provides about 75% of the daily recommended amount of vitamins A, D, E, and zinc to supplement his diet, and it comes in a natural, food-based form that’s easy for his body to absorb. (If your teen is taking any medications, it’s a good idea to check with his doctor before giving him a new supplement.)

Natural Skin Care for Acne

Now that your teen is taking care of his skin from the inside, he needs to treat it right on the outside, too. A good skin care routine can help cleanse, soothe, and condition the skin to reduce acne breakouts. We recommend skin care treatments using simple, natural ingredients that won’t stress or overdry the skin.

The internet is full of suggestions for acne home remedies that use ingredients like yogurt, vinegar, honey, or garlic on the face. But we’re guessing your teen just wants something simple he can use everyday that won’t feel gross or smell like food. Here are some of our favorite suggestions for natural skin care products.

First, your teen should start with a good cleanser or acne face wash. Look for ingredients that gently exfoliate to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, as well as ingredients that help detoxify the skin, such as antibacterial essential oils or oil-absorbing clay.

A great example is the Prep U Charcoal Face & Body Scrub designed for teen guys. It uses apricot kernels to exfoliate, and then detoxifies with bentonite clay and activated charcoal. Bentonite clay has absorbent properties to reduce excess oil, while activated charcoal draws out toxins and bacteria from the pores.

After cleansing, your teen can spot-treat pimples with an antibacterial essential oil. One of the most tried-and-true spot treatments for acne is tea tree oil, which is well known for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits.11 Studies have shown that tea tree oil can improve acne symptoms.12 Essential oils are very concentrated, so be sure to use them in a diluted form.

Finally, if your teen wears makeup, encourage her to use natural, oil-free products that won’t clog pores or irritate the skin. Mineral makeup is a good option for acne-prone skin. Not only is it non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn’t sink into pores, but the minerals actually absorb oils on the face. Plus, it’s free of synthetic and chemical ingredients, making it good for sensitive skin.

Natural Acne Remedies for Your Teen

Natural acne remedies can be very effective, but it’s important for your teen to be consistent and patient, as it will take time to see results. The skin renews itself in 28-day cycles, and it may need to go through a few cycles before the newer, healthier skin emerges. But within 2-3 months, the benefits of good nutrition and skin care should start to show, so your teen can face his future with a fresher face.

References

1.“Hormonal Acne: What You “Need to Know.” Medical News Today.

2. Lim SK, Ha JM, Lee YH, et al. “Comparison of Vitamin D Levels in Patients with and without Acne: A Case-Control Study Combined with a Randomized Controlled Trial.”PLoS One. 2016;11(8):e0161162. Published 2016 Aug 25. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0161162

3. Ozuguz P, Dogruk Kacar S, Ekiz O, Takci Z, Balta I, Kalkan G. “Evaluation of serum vitamins A and E and zinc levels according to the severity of acne vulgaris.” Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2014;33(2):99-102. doi:10.3109/15569527.2013.808656

4. Forrest KY, Stuhldreher WL. “Prevalence and correlates of vitamin D deficiency in US adults.” Nutr Res. 2011;31(1):48-54. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2010.12.001

5. Gremley, Jessica. “Vitamin A for Acne Treatment.” Natural Acne Clinic. March, 2020.

6. Michaëlsson G, Edqvist LE. “Erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activity in acne vulgaris and the effect of selenium and vitamin E treatment.” Acta Derm Venereol. 1984;64(1):9-14.

7. H Chan, G Chan, J Santos, K Dee, JK Co. “A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy and Safety of Lactoferrin With Vitamin E and Zinc as an Oral Therapy for Mild to Moderate Acne Vulgaris.” International Journal of Dermatology, March 2017.

8. “How Can Zinc Impact Your Acne?” Vitagene.com

9. Brandt, Staci, PA-C MSMR MBA. “The Clinical Effects of Zinc as a Topical or Oral Agent on the Clinical Response and Pathophysiologic Mechanisms of Acne: A Systematic Review of the Literature.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, Vol. 12 Issue 5, May 2013.

10. Sardana, K, Garg, V. “An observational study of methionine‐bound zinc with antioxidants for mild to moderate acne vulgaris.” Dermatologic Therapy, July 2010.

11. C. F. Carson, K. A. Hammer, T. V. Riley. “Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties.” Clinical Microbiology Reviews Jan 2006, 19 (1) 50-62; DOI: 10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006

12. Enshaieh S, Jooya A, Siadat AH, Iraji F. “The efficacy of 5% topical tea tree oil gel in mild to moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study.” Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2007;73(1):22-25. doi:10.4103/0378-6323.30646