If acne doesn't clear -- or gets worse -- see a primary care practitioner or a dermatologist as soon as you can. Treatment includes professional-strength acne products, along with antibiotics. Special laser or other light treatments, as well as abrasive therapies, are available in dermatologists' offices, but these options are expensive.
And what about those occasional "just before the prom/Christmas vacation/school play" breakouts?
Barry Resnik, MD, dermatologist at Memorial Regional Hospital and Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., offers this quick solution:
"Run a washcloth under hot water, and soak the pimple till cloth is cool, then apply topical acne medicine," he says. If you repeat this process two to three times a day, Resnik says, you may stop or hasten an outbreak.
For the "world's worst pimple," Resnik says, don't try to cover it with regular makeup. Instead, buy a compounded tinted drying lotion and use that to hide it and help speed healing.
Teen Skin Problem No. 2: Oily Skin
Although oily skin and acne often go hand-in-hand, this isn't always the case. Some teens suffer from oily skin alone.
If your complexion is oily but you're not breaking out, there are two treatment approaches.
"You can use topical treatments to 'mop up' the oil, or you can get to the root of the problem which is excess oil production, and shut it down - and both methods can work very well," says Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School Medical.
To mop it up, Crutchfield says, choose products containing alcohol, such as a "drying solution" that soaks up excess oil on the surface of the skin. You can also use a blotting product -- sheets of specially treated paper that you touch to your face to absorb oil.
Resnik often recommends an "oil inhibitor" like OC 8. "It utilizes an absorbent technology to reduce shine and it's very effective and suitable for all skin types," he says.
If none of these do the trick, Crutchfield says, professional laser treatments can help. He notes that the Aramis laser, for example, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of oil production in acne.