What is acne? (ages 11 - 13)

             Good Skin Knowledge


Subtopic: What is Acne?
Age group: 11-13
Time: 45 min


  • Provide basic explanation for how pimples are formed
  • Name at least two types of pimples
  • Understand the three main components of a pimple (oil, dead skin cells, bacteria)


A Simple Pimple Recipe handout (enough for class)
Lined paper (enough for class)
Pencils (enough for class)


  • During Introduction to New Material, Facilitator will assess students’ prior knowledge of acne in the discussion.
  • During the Introduction of New Material, Facilitator will check for understanding by asking if there are any questions.
  • During Independent Practice, Facilitator will walk around and make sure students are clear on the material as they reflect.
  • During Closing, Facilitator will evaluate students’ knowledge based on their answers to the review questions, and compare this to their discussion about acne from the


5 minutes

1.    Facilitator tells students that today they are going to talk about what pimples actually are.

2.    Facilitator asks students how they think acne affects kids and teens.
       a. If students are unresponsive, Facilitator can ask pointed questions like:
           i.   Is everyone accepting of acne?
           ii.  Do you think people who have acne feel confident?
           iii. Are people bullied because of how their skin looks?

Facilitator should not get into too long of a discussion about this as it will be covered in another lesson.

3.    Facilitator then explains, “We know that acne is hard, and there is an emotional and physical part to it. We usually know the physical part because it’s easiest to see, but do we really understand it? Today we are going to learn the science behind how pimples form.”

Introduction to new material

25-30 minutes
Materials: A Simple Pimple Recipe handout

1.    Facilitator tells student that s/he wants to make a cake but doesn’t know how. What could s/he use to tell him/her how to make it?
      a. Students should say, “Recipe.” If students guess incorrectly, Facilitator can say, “How about a recipe?”

2.    Facilitator then explains that recipes tell us what goes into something and how it is made, so today we are going to learn the recipe for a pimple.

3.    Facilitator explains that before they get the recipe, they’re going to talk about what they know about pimples already and what they are.
      a. Facilitator can ask students questions if they need prompting:
          i.    Why do you think we get pimples?
          ii.    What are some of the things that cause pimples?
          iii.    Do you know what pimples are made of?
      b. This discussion should be about 5 minutes maximum.

4.    Facilitator hands out A Simple Pimple Recipe handout.          

5.    Facilitator asks for student volunteers to read different parts of the recipe up until “Variations.”
      a. When going over Step 3 of the handout, Facilitator should explain that usually the dead skin floats to the top and flakes off, but in this case, it sticks together, gets trapped inside, and helps clog the pore.

6.    After reading all the Directions, Facilitator explains, “It’s a little like a drain in a sink.
      a. The drain is like our pore, the food is like the oil and the sink is like skin. If you have the right amount of food in the sink, it can go down the drain easily. But sometimes there is too much food and it clogs the drain. Everything gets clogged, and dirty bacteria-filled water starts to rise in the sink.”

7.    Facilitator also explains that during puberty, kids tend to get acne more because the body produces more oil as hormones change. This isn’t bad oil; it’s the same oil that keeps our skin soft and from drying out, but our skin makes a lot of it during puberty, creating a perfect environment for acne.

8.    Facilitator checks for questions.

9.    Facilitator then asks students if they knew there are different kinds of pimples, and not just big and small.

Facilitator should let students respond if they have an idea or want to respond.

10.    Facilitator asks for volunteers to read the “Variations of the Simple Pimple Recipe.”

11.    Afterwards, Facilitator tells students, “People may have various kinds at one time. There
is not one type of pimple that certain people get and others don’t. Pimples are not something only dirty people get. People can get mild acne or very severe, just depends on the person’s body.”

12.    Facilitator checks for questions or clarifications.

Independent practice

5-10 minutes
Materials: Lined paper, pencils

1.    Facilitator passes out lined paper.

2.    Facilitator asks students to write down on the sheet of paper s/he just passed out some new things they learned about acne that they may not have known before.

  • What are some new things they learned?
  • Do they understand acne differently now?
  • Did they have a misunderstanding of exactly what acne was?
  • What are the three main ingredients for a pimple?
  • Can they explain how pimples are formed?


5 minutes

1.    Depending on time constraints, Facilitator can ask students to read their responses from Independent Practice.

2.    Facilitator checks for questions.

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Program made possible
through a grant from Stiefel, a GSK company.