Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Teen Skincare May 10, 2012

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.
And remember – be kind to yourself.  A lot of teen skin issues are caused by hormonal fluctuations that eventually calm down with time and age.  This too shall pass just like you will finally be done with high school one day too.

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Image from mag4disease.com

 

Remember Sassy Magazine? Check out this Website June 2, 2011

If you recognize the magazine cover above then maybe you were something like me growing up.  I’ve written in this blog several times about my great love for glossy fashion magazines, but it took one article in The New York Times (Jane Pratt, Unbound and Ready for the Web) to remind me of the most significant glossy magazine from my teenage years.  The article describes the long-gone but not forgotten Sassy as “the anti-Seventeen”, and I can’t think of a better description myself for this now defunct magazine.  My magazine obsession began with Teen and Seventeen, but I could never relate to the girls in those magazines.  I looked nothing like them, wasn’t cool or popular, and had terrible skin.  When I found Sassy I found a magazine for girls like me.  The magazine really felt like it was written for intelligent teenagers who didn’t want to be like everyone else, who were happy being themselves, and didn’t mind being a little quirky.  Sassy introduced me to music, movies, and books that weren’t necessarily mainstream but were cool.  The fashion was funky and fresh.  Damn!  Why did I throw my old issues away???  After reading The New York Times article I spent an afternoon feeling really nostalgic for both Sassy and even a little bit for that time in my life which is crazy since you would have to pay me millions (or even billions) to relive those years.  Suffice it to say, Sassy had quite the impact on my life.  I mean they put Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love on the cover of their magazine (long before Love cleaned herself up briefly).

So the article in The New York Times is all about Jane Pratt, the founding editor of Sassy and later of Jane (personally I never liked Jane as much as Sassy though I wanted to).  It turns out that Pratt has recently launched a new lifestyle website – xoJane.  Just like the magazines Pratt edited in the past this website has an edge.  Some of the content is not for the faint of heart.  I liked the fact that The New York Times article described it as “the anti-iVillage”.   Well I just had to check it.  I concentrated on reading the articles in the beauty section which are written in a cheeky, irrelevant, intimate tone.  If you want scientific facts about skincare and make-up look elsewhere (like this blog, of course), but if you want to feel like you are getting beauty advice from your slightly bawdy yet very cool girlfriend be sure to check out the articles on this site.  I also liked the fact that the authors of the articles really responded to reader comments though I was a bit shocked by how rude some of the reader comments were.

I really wish teenage girls today had a magazine like Sassy.  Just remember – just because you don’t look like the girls in Seventeen or Teen Vogue doesn’t mean that you aren’t cool.  All the clichés are true – believe in yourself, don’t let others define you, and college is much better than high school.  Now if only I had saved those Sassy magazines.

Update:  It turns out that there is a revival of Sassy in the works.  Read all about it.

 

 
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