As a teenager, it can be difficult to keep skin clear and ward off the ever-threatening presence of acne — especially when you’re prone to oily skin or have a family history of acne problems. Sometimes, it can feel like you’re the only one struggling with pimples and there’s no way to avoid socializing other than hiding out at home. But don’t worry — with the right daily skin care routine and habits, teenagers can get clear skin fast. Here are essential skin care tips for teens:
- “You are what you eat”: Our skin is the largest organ of our body, and we need to feed it wisely. Keeping your diet natural and avoiding artificial foods and preservatives is optimal for teen skin care. Try to avoid or at least cut back on foods that increase inflammation in your body — such as fried foods, red meats and sugary junk food. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and nuts will provide vital nutrients to your body…and your skin.
- Drink plenty of water: Water is vital in helping carry nutrients to the skin and will give you that healthy glow! It also helps flush out toxins that can build up from our foods and environment.
- Wear sunscreen: You should slather on sun protection every day, if possible. In the summer months, it’s best to look for SPF of 30 or higher and use enough to cover the entire exposed area (don’t forget the lips, hair part and ears). Reapply every 2-3 hours and more if you are in the water or sweating. If you have pimples, look for an oil-free product or one that’s made for acne-prone skin. At Rejuvenation Clinic of Sauk Prairie, we carry a variety of sunscreens that are very effective but don’t have harsh ingredients that can cause stinging, clogged up pores or acne.
- Wash your face: Do this twice a day with warm water and a mild cleanser. Cetaphil and Neutrogena make gentle products that are great for teen skin care. One of the most popular gentle yet effective facial cleansers for teenage acne at Rejuvenation Clinic is called Pore-Clearing Gel Wash, which is our own formula that dissolves oil, cleans pores and treats acne. It smells great too! While cleansing, gently massage your face in circular motions. Don’t scrub — over-washing and scrubbing can cause the skin to become irritated and inflamed, which may make your acne worse. If you have acne, after cleansing you may apply a product that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. These can be found at any drugstore with common brands such as Neutrogena or Stridex. At the clinic we have an extra-strength formula made by Glytone that comes in a toner, gel or cream. These products will decrease oil and bacteria on the skin and will heal and prevent new outbreaks.
- Moisturize frequently: After cleansing — even with acne — you may apply a light moisturizer. This process will help protect your skin barrier and balance out the moisture levels of your skin. If your skin is over-dry, your body will produce more oil in response — which can lead to further skin breakouts.
- Watch how much you touch your face: DO NOT squeeze, pick, poke or manipulate pimples. Touching your face transfers dirt, oil and bacteria to your skin, leaving you vulnerable to having MORE acne in the future. Also, picking can lead to acne scarring — which can be permanent.
- Check your makeup products: You might not realize it, but choosing the right makeup is a primary part of a daily skin care routine for teenagers. To keep your teenage skin healthy, NEVER USE oil-based makeup or other products. Look for the words “NON-COMEDOGENIC” or “NON-ACNEGENIC” or OIL-FREE on the labels. Throw out old makeup and make sure to refresh your products at least every three months. If it smells and looks funny, it probably isn’t good for your skin. Bacteria thrives on old compacts, sponges and applicators. Also, try not to share your makeup with friends…let’s keep our germs to ourselves!
- Clean up after exercising: Teenagers move around a lot and are involved in all sorts of activities that encourage pimples to form. Sports such as football, lacrosse and softball have helmets that trap oil, moisture and bacteria becoming a perfect environment for acne to thrive. Washing your face after exercising is important to your skin care. Wash your face — or at least use a quick cleansing pad — after sports or sweating to prevent oil and bacteria from building up and causing breakouts.
- Wash your hands: Be sure to wash frequently to prevent dirt and germs from transferring from your fingers to your face when you touch it — toxins, dirt, oil, lotions, you name it, can clog up your pores, leading to unsightly blemishes.
- Wash your hair: Have you ever noticed that your acne seems to be worse by the hairline? Wash your hair daily or at least every other day to prevent oil and products on your hair from settling on your skin and causing breakouts. Use gentle shampoos and conditioners and be aware of any products that might be causing your skin to get worse. Many people are sensitive to fragrances and preservatives in products. If you see more breakouts around the hairline, cheeks or neck, it may be your hair products.
- Clean your cell phone: As your most-used possession, your phone is always in your hands or to your ear. Everywhere you go, it collects dirt, oil and bacteria. Many people find they have worse breakouts on the side of the face that they hold their phone, and even a dirty screen can lead to dirt transfer and clogged pores. This issue is easily fixed with regular cleaning and by avoiding resting the phone directly on your skin.
It’s VERY NORMAL to have pimples and minor skin problems as a teenager and while it may feel like you’re the only one in the world with this problem, IT’S NOT TRUE. Follow these easy skin care tips for teens to see your skin become healthier. If your skin is causing you severe distress, talk to your parents to help you find a skin care specialist or medical provider to find other ways to treat your condition.
Acne and other skin problems are very treatable and YOU ARE NOT ALONE!