Treatment of Acne in children

Acne in children






The goal of acne treatment is to improve the skin’s appearance and prevent scarring. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the condition and the patient’s age and general health.

  1. General Skincare: Gentle, regular skin care is essential. This includes washing the skin twice daily with a mild cleanser and avoiding greasy or comedogenic products.
  2. Topical Treatments: These include creams, gels, lotions, or liquids applied directly to the skin, such as:
  • Benzoyl Peroxide: An antiseptic that kills bacteria and reduces inflammation.
  • Topical Antibiotics: Help reduce bacteria and inflammation.
  • Topical Retinoids: Derived from vitamin A, these help prevent the formation of new comedones and promote cell turnover.
  1. Oral Medications: These may be prescribed for moderate to severe acne, including:
  • Antibiotics: Such as tetracycline, doxycycline, or erythromycin to reduce bacteria and inflammation.
  • Isotretinoin: For severe acne that is unresponsive to other treatments. It helps reduce sebum production and prevent scarring.
  1. Procedures: In some cases, procedures such as laser therapy, light therapy, chemical peels, or drainage of cysts may be recommended.

Specific Treatments for Children

In children, the treatment approach is generally similar to that for adults, with some age-related modifications:

  1. Mild Acne: Managed with gentle skincare, benzoyl peroxide, and topical retinoids. Lower concentrations of benzoyl peroxide may be used to reduce irritation.
  2. Moderate Acne: Treated with oral antibiotics such as erythromycin, combined with topical treatments. Doxycycline and minocycline are used only in children over 12 years of age.
  3. Severe Acne: May require isotretinoin if oral antibiotics are ineffective. Deep nodules can be treated with intralesional corticosteroid injections.

Complications of Acne in children

Possible Complications of Acne

Acne can lead to several complications, including:

  1. Scarring: Severe or long-term acne can result in permanent scarring.
  2. Emotional Impact: Acne can significantly affect self-esteem, leading to emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts.
  3. Infections: Secondary bacterial infections can occur if acne lesions are picked or scratched.

Helping a Child Live with Acne

Living with acne can be challenging, but early and effective treatment can help prevent severe acne and its complications. Parents can support their child by:

  1. Encouraging Proper Skincare: Remind the child to gently wash their face and avoid picking or squeezing acne lesions.
  2. Seeking Professional Help: Consult a dermatologist if over-the-counter treatments are ineffective.
  3. Monitoring Emotional Well-being: Be aware of the child’s emotional response to acne and seek counseling if necessary.
  4. Following a Treatment Plan: Ensure the child follows the prescribed treatment regimen and continues maintenance therapy as needed to prevent recurrence.


DermNet. (2023). Acne in Children. Retrieved from

Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2023). Acne. Retrieved from

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