Few things can wreak havoc on a young body faster than hormones. Skin that once was perfectly smooth can become peppered with pimples almost overnight. Parents can become shocked how fast their preteen’s pits can stink up a room.
Helping teens navigate this tricky world of personal hygiene isn’t always easy. But it’s essential for giving them a good start in life. You can help your teen create healthy habits. Guide them to appropriate behaviors and teach them how to start a stellar skincare routine.
While they might not say it now, your teen will appreciate the attention in the long run.
What is Acne?
Only the bane of many a teenager’s existence. Acne is a skin condition caused by oily secretions from the skin’s sebaceous glands. Surges in hormone levels causes oil glands to enlarge. This leads to excess oil production and greasy skin.
Overly oily skin leads to larger pores, pimples, and blackheads. Acne affects upwards of 80 percent of young adults between 12 and 24. This skin condition is incredibly common, but it can be embarrassing for image-conscious teenagers.
Developing a skin care solution to control it can make a big difference.
What is an Acne Skin Care Solution?
Thankfully, the right skin care products can keep acne under control. The proper method for your teenager depends on the natural type of their skin. There are three main skin types: normal, dry, and oily.
1. Normal Skin Care:
Normal skin tends to have a smooth, even skin tone and a soft texture without blemishes, flaky patches, or overly visible pores. Because it has a balanced amount of water and oil, as well as good blood circulation, normal skin rarely needs acne treatment. If your teen notices a few pimples, it’s better to perform a spot treatment or to wash their face with a gentle cleanser to remove buildups of dirt and sweat.
2. Dry Skin Care:
Unlike normal skin, dry skin is dull, scaly, itchy, and has pores that are barely visible. This skin type usually happens because of an abnormal amount of skin cell shedding. That is a sign that skin is suffering from dehydration.
To combat the problem, you need to restore moisture to the skin. It’s best to encourage your teen to wash their face with a gentle cleanser and use a moisturizer immediately after. Make sure that a non-perfumed, non-alcohol lotion is applied. Otherwise, the harsh ingredients within the cream can dry skin out even more.
Long, hot showers are not a good idea, as they can rob teenage skin of moisture. Dryness caused by winter weather and excessive exposure to indoor heating can also lead to flaky skin. So encourage your child to use extra hydrating skin products during chilly months.
3. Oily Skin Care
Oily skin is the type most likely to develop acne. Oil-prone teenagers need to be extra careful to keep blackheads away. This skin type presents as visible pores, a shiny appearance, and often pimples. Hormones correlate directly with oil production. That means that anything that affects hormones can technically influence skin care. Some experts also believe stress plays a role in oil secretion, so suffering anxiety over acne is counter-productive.
A panel of experts including: Heidi Waldorf, MD; Jordana Mattioli, LE, a medical esthetician at Complete Skin MD; Leyda Elizabeth Bowes, MD, a dermatologist at Bowes Dermatology in Miami; told Cosmopolitan that people with oily skin should do these things:
1. Find the right cleanser
Though it seems counterintuitive, oil cleansers are designed for oily skin types. The skin’s sebum (oil) is attracted to the oil in the wash. Both oils rinse away without stripping your skin. “Your skin should feel soft, not tight, after washing,” says Dr. Waldorf. You can also try facial cleansers with salicylic acid. This also attracts the oil, and does the hard work without drying your skin.
2. Toner is not always your friend
Don’t reach for that drying toner every day to control your skin. Keep toner to a once or twice a week event. Most importantly, if it is an astringent, throw it away. Astringents usually contain ingredients that are overly drying. Using toner too often can lead to sensitive skin, or actually increase oil production in your skin.
3. Moisturizer is your friend
“Moisturizing is important to keep the skin’s barrier intact,” explains Dr. Waldorf. But, look for a light-weight moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid or glycerine. “Both act like microsponges to pull moisture into the skin and hold it there,” says Dr. Waldorf.
4. Consider a retinoid
Retinoids are products with vitamin A. “It will reshape the lining of your pores, so oil comes out easily as opposed to getting trapped and causing a clogged pore, blackhead, or a pimple.” said Mattioli. The strongest ones used to be prescription. But Differin, $29 (previously prescription only) is now over the counter.
5. Alternative your actives
Powerful ingredients in your products can lead to irritation when overused. The rub? Irritated oily skin makes even more oil. So, if you are using an exfoliator, and a retinoid, alternate days you use them.
6. Consult a dermatologist early
Bowes blames some brands and sites for pushing harmful fads and myths regarding products. “Frankly, all that will make the skin worse,” she says. Going to a dermatologist early means fewer costly mistakes.
7. Choose makeup wisely, and take it off early
Avoid heavy pore-clogging makeup. Look for lighter textures. Consider using powder instead of foundation if you only have a few problem areas. However, no matter what you choose to wear, Dr. Bowes stresses getting it off your face before bed, “or even better, right when you come home, so your skin can breathe.”
Top Tips for a Healthy Skin Care Routine
There are lots of ways that teens can keep acne at bay by taking care of their skin. Here are some top ideas that you can suggest to your child.
- Pamper Your Skin: make sure that you are choosing the right products, and have a spa day.
- Cleanse Carefully: using safe products suited for your skin type.
- Exfoliate: Dead skin cells can clog pores, and a gentle weekly treatment can restore your face and reduce acne triggers. Don’t over exfoliate.
- Get Over the Counter Medication: Some acne won’t clear up without intervention from a dermatologist. If your teen is struggling, schedule an appointment with the dermatologist to talk over details and find the right product for your child’s skin type.
Cultivate Healthy Habits for Better Skin Care
Teenage years are confusing enough. No child wants to have to worry about their complexion as well. By teaching your teen how to take care of their face, you can help them remain confident in themselves and in their ability to remain healthy and happy, no matter what these stubborn hormones are doing to their face.