My teenage years were the worst years for my skin. I had terrible acne that only went away after I used Accutane for three months, and I still have acne scars on my cheeks that serve as a daily reminder of those years. That acne eventually, years and years later, lead me to become an esthetician since I wanted to learn more about how to care for my own skin, and I wanted to be able to help others care for their skin as well. Because of how I looked during my teen years I have a soft spot for teenagers and their skin struggles. The teen years is the perfect time to begin learning to care for your skin, and there is no need for this care to be complicated or time-consuming.
First off, easy does it. I find that many teenagers think that if a little bit of a skincare product or skincare ingredient is good, then a lot is even better. That just leads to dry, irritated, and flaky skin. A lot of the time – less is really more. The other thing to point out is that there is no need to make every breakout a catastrophe. I know this is really hard when you are in high school, but if there is any way to put the appearance of a pimple or two into perspective than try to do that. Perfect skin in really unattainable – believe me. I know one person, and this includes all my friends, clients, and acquaintances, who I would say has perfect skin. It just doesn’t exist and that is why they invented make-up. So try to keep the doom and gloom over how your skin looks in check.
Instead get the basics under your belt:
- Remember that daily cleansing of your skin is essential even if you are tired at night. Sleeping with a dirty face just contributes to breakouts and overall dull skin. Which cleanser is right for your skin depends on if your skin is oily, combination, dry, or breakout prone. When in doubt consult someone in the know like an esthetician. If you really can’t be bothered to wash your face at night at the very least use a make-up remover wipe to cleanse your face a bit before going to sleep.
- Apply a treatment serum/lotion if you need one. Most teens will need an anti-acne serum or lotion at one point or another. This doesn’t mean that you need to slather your face with the treatment lotion two or three times a day. For some teens once a day is probably enough while others may need to treat their skin twice a day.
- Give new products time to work! I cannot emphasize this enough – you need to try your new products for about three months before determining if they really are helping your skin. Constantly switching skincare products is no help to your skin.
- Be compliant with your skincare regime. Having great skincare products that just sit in your bathroom is no help for anyone. They only work, and work best, when you used them daily and as directed.
- If you can’t figure out what products are best for your skin I would suggest going to get a facial and asking the esthetician to make recommendations. You don’t need to buy everything or anything she recommends, but at least you can get some knowledgable advice instead of fumbling around in the dark.
- Don’t pick! And don’t let someone else pick at your skin either! Picking only makes breakouts last longer, heal slower, and can leave scars. Hand off your face!
- Start using daily sun protection. I always prefer that everyone has a separate sunscreen that isn’t combined with any other product like a moisturizer or make-up, but better that you have spf in something than in nothing.
- Don’t go it alone – if you feel like you’ve tried everything and your skin still isn’t looking the way you want it to go see a dermatologist for help and advice. Doctors can give you prescription products if necessary.
- Eat a healthy diet and find ways to have fun and relax. I know that being a teenager is stressful so finding ways to release that stress is actually helpful for your skin as well.
Sources and Further Reading:
- Healthy Skin at Any Age, Part 1 – Your Teenage Years: Epionce blog
- Teaching Your Teen About Skin Care: WebMd
- I came across this skincare line aimed at teenage girls, and apparently created by one too, Willa Naturals. While I can’t comment on how well the products work I do like the selection of products and the fact that they have reasonably priced facial cleansing towelettes for those days you can’t be bothered with washing your face.
- Sign this great petition on change.org started by Julia asking Seventeen magazine to show unaltered and real photos of teenagers on their pages. I think it is extremely important that teenagers have positive, real images to look up instead of air brushed, fake ones.
Image from mag4disease.com