skincare routines for teenagers

Teenagers are significantly more likely to deal with skin issues like oiliness and acne. The teen years are also when chronic skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis may develop or worsen. For this reason, teens need to start developing good skincare habits during this time. In this blog, you can find some of our top recommended products for teens and advice on how to incorporate these products into a skincare routine for teens.

What Skin Changes Occur During the Teen Years?

Hormonal fluctuations are the most significant change that occurs during the teenage years. The most noticeable change is an increased production of sebum. This is the body’s natural oil that keeps skin hydrated and healthy. However, higher levels of sebum oil production occur during the hormonal fluctuations of adolescence. This leads to a significantly increased risk of clogged pores and acne breakouts as dead skin cells, bacteria, and other matter gets stuck in the sebum oil and trapped in the pores. Most teenage skin health concerns are related to this increased oil production and hormonal fluctuation. Teen skincare routines should be geared toward addressing oiliness and preventing clogged pores and acne.

What Should I Include in My Teenage Skincare Routine?

Teens should talk to a dermatologist about a personalized skincare routine, but some products work well as part of just about any teenager’s skincare routine. Below, we describe some of their most recommended products for teen skin care.

Cleanse and Control

The right cleanser should be the focal point of every teen's skincare routine. With the increase in oil production, it’s essential to prevent oil from building up and causing clogged pores. However, overly drying cleansers can actually trigger more sebum oil production. It may seem impossible to find the right balance of cleansing without drying, but numerous cleansers deliver exactly that. A few of them are described below:

  • MD Skin Essentials Cleanse It – Salicylic acid is a commonly recommended ingredient for acne treatment, but it can dry skin out and cause irritation. MD Skin Essentials Cleanse It has a delayed release of salicylic acid combined with soothing colloidal sulfur to deliver the oil-reducing benefits of salicylic acid without stripping away necessary moisture.
  • MD Skin Essentials Control It – Maybe you’ve seen the many anti-blemish pads available in beauty care aisles. While these cleansing pads have a variety of benefits, they can also be very irritating. MD Skin Essentials Control It elevates the idea of an anti-blemish pad to something dermatologist-approved for daily use. It combines a cleanser, toner, and exfoliator to deliver healthier-looking skin.
  • ALASTIN Skincare Gentle Cleanser – Foaming cleansers are a great option for teens. The ALASTIN Skincare Gentle Cleanser is a self-foaming face wash that penetrates deep into pores to remove dirt, oil, grime, and other impurities, leaving skin clean and refreshed without taking away necessary hydration.
  • Skinbetter Science Oxygen Infusion Wash – This is a unique cleanser that thoroughly cleans the skin while introducing a burst of oxygen to brighten it. The ingredients also include slow-release alpha hydroxy acids to refresh the skin.
  • Revision Skincare Papaya Enzyme Cleanser – Teens with acne need to exfoliate. It minimizes the risk of dead skin cells getting trapped in the pores and causing a breakout. However, traditional exfoliants that use harsh, abrasive ingredients can cause unnecessary irritation and inflammation, especially during an active breakout. The Revision Skincare Papaya Enzyme Cleanser uses papaya fruit extract to gently exfoliate and cleanse the skin.
  • Epionce Purifying Wash – This is another gentle-formula cleanser with salicylic acid. It penetrates pores to prevent breakouts and clear up current breakouts. It’s safe and effective for those with face and body acne.
  • Elta MD Foaming Facial Cleanser – This is another gentle, foaming facial cleanser. It uses enzymes and amino acids to dissolve impurities, unclog pores, and leave skin looking great.


During an active breakout, it’s beneficial to use spot treatments applied directly to individual blemishes to clear them up. There are numerous options available, including:

  • MD Skin Essentials Minimize It – This is a unique spot treatment that can be used during the day in a thin layer over the pimple to conceal the blemish and improve the appearance of the skin. At night, a thicker layer of MD Skin Essentials Minimize It speeds the healing process and shrinks the blemish.
  • MD Skin Essentials Crush It – This acne treatment is great for mild to severe breakouts. It improves a range of acne side effects, including inflammation and hyperpigmentation. It keeps pores clear, removes bacteria and oil, and clears up breakouts.
  • Epionce Purifying Spot Gel – This spot treatment is fast acting because it penetrates deep into pores to clear up blemishes and prevent new blemishes from forming.
  • Epionce Lytic Plus Tx – This product helps to address the side effects of blemishes, including redness and imperfections. It smooths skin tone and texture.
  • SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF – This is another spot treatment that clears up blemishes. It’s designed mainly to improve skin health and appearance in general, but the ingredients are also beneficial to clear up blemishes.


Retinol, and its prescription-strength counterpart, retinoid, are treatments used to promote skin cell turnover and improve the appearance of skin. Retinols are important for acne skincare routines because they prevent dead skin cells from clogging pores. During an active breakout, they promote healing for a faster recovery. Retinols should be incorporated into your nighttime skincare routine because they can cause the skin to be more sensitive to sunlight. You should always start using retinol at the lowest strength and work your way up to stronger formulations. Retinol can cause severe irritation if used incorrectly, so talk to your dermatologist if you notice adverse effects like redness, skin peeling, and other signs of irritation. Some of our top recommended retinol include:


Even though teens are more likely to have oily skin, it’s still important to keep their skin hydrated. Without a daily moisturizer, the body will actually produce more sebum oil, causing the skin to be oilier and increasing the risk of acne breakouts. Teens should use moisturizers that are lightweight, easily absorbed and oil-free. Some of our most recommended options are described below:

  • Avene Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective CreamAvene Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream – This moisturizer has key ingredients geared toward restoration, hydration, and protection. It promotes healing, keeps skin moisturized, and protects against future damage all in an easily absorbed formula that’s safe for all skin types.
  • Elta MD AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer – This is actually a moisturizer duo. This AM moisturizer is lightweight and oil-free, which makes it perfect as part of a morning skincare routine. If teens have very oily skin, they can use this product morning and evening, or they can use the next product on our list in the evenings.
  • Elta MD PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer – This nighttime moisturizer is a little richer than its daytime counterpart to soothe skin after the day’s damage and strengthen the skin’s natural barriers. It helps to promote the restoration of skin elasticity through skin cell turnover and collagen and elastin production.
  • Epionce Medical Barrier Cream – This is a product formulated for red, irritated, and very sensitive skin, which makes it ideal for adding hydration during an acne breakout. It’s also a great solution for teens with chronic skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis.
  • Skinbetter Science Trio Rebalancing Moisture Treatment – This moisturizer is often recommended for dry skin. Many dry skin moisturizers are very heavy, which can trigger an acne breakout or lead to clogged pores even for teens who don’t struggle with acne. This dry skin moisturizer is formulated to be easily absorbed while significantly boosting moisture and repairing skin’s protective barrier for long-lasting hydration.


Everyone needs to use sunscreen in the morning to protect the skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays. For teens struggling with acne, finding a sunscreen that protects their skin without clogging pores can be a real struggle. Below are some great non-comedogenic sunscreen options:

  • MD Skin Essentials Tone Shield – This is a lightweight and easily absorbed mineral sunscreen that is safe and effective for all skin types. It’s a tinted sunscreen, which helps to create an even skin tone while also protecting from the sun. Unlike other tinted sunscreens that don’t work for darker skin tones, this tinted sunscreen is formulated to look great and blend fully with skin of all hues.
  • ALASTIN Hydratint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36 – The ALASTIN line of products was formulated for skin healing and soothing, especially after dermatologic procedures. For this reason, this ALASTIN sunscreen is a great option to protect skin from the sun during an active acne breakout without further irritating or inflaming skin.
  • Revision Skincare Intellishade Original Broad-Spectrum SPF 45 – This sunscreen is actually designed with aging skin in mind, but it’s a great option for acne-prone skin as well. The matte formula helps to minimize the appearance of pores, and the Intellishade skin tinting creates a more even skin tone and texture. It’s a lightweight formula that is easy to absorb and improves the appearance of skin while protecting against sun damage.
  • SkinCeuticals Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 30 – Teens are often worried about the way they look. This SkinCeuticals sunscreen protects against sun damage, but it also brightens skin and reduces redness and discoloration.

Teen Skincare Kits

If you’re looking for a quick and easy-to-use all-in-one skincare solution for teens, consider one of these skincare kits:

  • MD Skin Essentials Acne Kit – This MD Skin Essentials acne skincare kit contains just about everything you need for a good daily skincare routine. There’s a creamy cleanser that reduces oiliness without drying the skin, a toner that includes anti-blemish and retexturizing ingredients, a spot treatment to quickly clear up pimples, and a time-released salicylic acid serum.
  • SkinCeuticals Perfect Pair – Oiliness & Blemishes – This is a two-serum pack that includes a vitamin C and Silymarin CF serum to fight oiliness. There’s also an alpha and beta hydroxy acid blend that fights blemishes and offers anti-aging benefits.
  • Epionce Acne Kit – This is a purifying wash and spot treatment duo that can be incorporated into your daily skincare routine. The purifying wash soothes blemishes and reduces the risk of breakouts with daily use. The spot treatment quickly heals acne blemishes.
  • EltaMD Acne-Prone Skin Kit – This is a simple morning skincare routine for acne-prone skin. It includes a gentle foaming cleanser, soothing toner, a non-comedogenic moisturizer, and a lightweight sunscreen.
  • Avene Cleanance HYDRA Blemish Recovery System – For teens who have sensitive, acne-prone skin, this skincare kit is ideal. It includes a soothing cream cleanser, facial moisturizing cream, lip hydration cream, and soothing thermal spring water. This product helps to relieve skin irritation and inflammation without clogging pores.

Keep Exploring Dermatologist-Recommended Skincare

The DermSkincare team curated a list of high-quality products for teenage skin, aging skin, and everyone in between. Whatever your age or skincare goal, the DermSkincare site has products that will meet your needs. We hope you’ll explore all that we have to offer.

  1. Epionce Lytic Plus Tx
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