Pimples and acne

One of the many changes that your child will experience during puberty is pimples and acne.


One of the many changes that your child will experience during puberty is pimples and acne. During puberty, the face and body begin to sweat more, and a layer of oil and dirt can build up and cause pimples. This is normal.

As well as getting pimples on their face, your child may also get pimples on other parts of the body like their back, chest and bottom.

Pimples can be a source of embarrassment for all young people. They can also be painful and make your child uncomfortable. For this reason, it is important for your child to learn how to take care of their skin.

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To keep your child’s skin clean and healthy and to reduce pimples they can:

  • Wash their face twice a day with a mild cleanser and warm water
  • Use a light moisturiser with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15+
  • Avoid touching and popping pimples. This can lead to more swelling and redness and can result in scarring
  • Wear clothes that are breathable to reduce sweat
  • Wash their body and hair regularly to avoid a build-up of dead skin cells and oil
  • Use a gentle soap free wash when washing their body

If your child’s pimples are very sore and difficult to manage it can be good to talk to a doctor. They may prescribe a medicated wash, cream or tablets to help manage your child’s acne.

Conversation Starters

When I was growing up I used to get pimples on my face and body. You are growing up now and might get some pimples too. Would you like me to show you how you can take care of pimples?
Have you seen how tall your older sibling/cousin has grown? That is because he is growing and becoming an adult. He also has some red spots on his face. Do you know what they are called?
I have noticed you have a couple of red bumps on your face. These are pimples. Have you heard of them before? Do you know what you should do to take care of them?

Strategies for you to try

Visual schedules and social stories

Create a visual schedule for your child using pictures to help them remember the steps of washing their face. See the resource list below for printable cards you can use to create a visual schedule.
Use a social story to normalise pimples and show them why it is important to take care of their skin. The resource list below contains example social stories you can use with your child.

Backwards chaining

Backwards chaining is a good technique for teaching your child new practical skills. It involves breaking the skill into steps. At first, you do most of the steps and ask your child to complete the last step. For example, when teaching your child to wash their face you can:

  • Run the water for them
  • Help them wet their hands
  • Help them wet their face with their hands
  • Help them wash their face with cleanser
  • Help them wash off the cleanser with water
  • Ask them to dry their face

Once they have mastered the final step you can ask them to do the second last step and then third last and so on.


Modelling is a powerful way of teaching your child new skills. Show your child how you wash your face and have them assist you where possible.

learning about girls’ bodies, starting to have acne

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Introduction to puberty for girls
Pimples and acne

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Introduction to puberty for girls
Pimples and acne

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