Acne Care Plan

By David Shafran, MD
Medically reviewed
January 19, 2021

What is acne?

Acne is a very common skin condition in which inflammation within oil glands causes pimples to form. Teenage hormones play the biggest role in the development of acne. Other possible contributing factors include stress, diet, and weight.

While acne occurs most commonly on the face, lesions can form on other parts of the body as well. Acne can be mild, moderate or severe and in some cases, can even cause permanent scarring. Acne can be a significant source of anxiety and low self-esteem.

How is acne treated?

First it’s important to be patient. Improvement might take some time in order for the old lesions to go away and for the skin to heal. You might need to change your child’s medications and keeping new pimples from forming will likely require consistent, daily adherence to a good regimen.

Treatment starts with good skin care which means never picking at or popping pimples. Use gentle, unscented facial soaps such as cedaphil or dove, and never rub your face vigorously when drying. This can make acne worse. If your child wears makeup, make sure it is oil-free and ‘non-comedogenic.’

Treatment of acne itself depends on the severity.

Most mild and moderate acne can be treated with topical medications such as benzoyl peroxide, topical antibiotics and/or a class of medications called retinoids like tretinoin or adapalene.

Severe acne usually requires oral antibiotics, oral hormonal medications, or isotretinoin.

Check in with K if…

  • You have general questions about your child’s acne
  • You want general followup for your child
  • You have questions about medication changes
  • Your child’s symptoms don’t go away after treatment but are not alarming

See a doctor in person if…

  • Acne is severe and there is scarring
  • If acne is worsening
  • If there are signs of infection
  • If acne occurs in a child 8 years old or younger
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

David Shafran, MD

Dr. Shafran is a board-certified pediatrics physician. He joins K Health from the Cleveland Clinic, where he led a pediatrics practice and completed a fellowship in transplant ethics. He has completed multiple fellowships, including one in pediatric nephrology at Rainbow, Babies & Children's University Hospitals. He received his medical degree from the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv and completed his medical residency at the Jacobi Medical Center.