Teenage acne is an inevitable part of life – very few teens escape unscathed. Many teens experience stress, anxiety, and poor self-esteem due to changing hormones, changing body, and changes to their skin and they lack the basic knowledge and experience to properly care for their skin. Here are just a few issues:
- 8 in 10 teens will develop acne, yet most do not understand how acne is formed or how to treat it
- Teens either over-treat and over-stimulate the skin
- Many teens fail to develop a routine cleansing regime
- Most teens fail to protect their skin from UV rays or understand the damage ultraviolet light can cause
- Teenagers pay little attention to their diet and make no link between the food they eat and the condition of their skin
So what advice can we give teens about skincare and the maintenance of healthy skin. According to Diane Heinz, Licensed Medical Aesthetician, who has been treating teenage skin for more than 25 years, these simple tips can make a world of difference:
Never pick the skin – this spreads bacteria which will spread the acne.
Don’t over treat the skin. Many teens go to great extremes to get rid of their acne and breakouts by over-treating and stripping the skin of essential oils. This only makes the acne worse – it disturbs the pH balance. When the pH balance is off, the skin stops functioning properly. Stripping the skin of oils (yes some oils are essential) causes the glands to produce more oil as it tries to correct the problem. So, in short, the worse thing teens can do is over treat acne-prone skin – it only result is more oil.
Don’t use Mom’s skincare products. That’s a mistake since these may be too rich for young skin. Teenagers need a cleanser that is right for their skin type and condition and should cleanse the skin morning and night (or immediately following sports activity to remove oils from the skin). Girls who wear makeup should cleanse before going to bed.
Teens should exfoliate their skin at least once a week with a light exfoliator such as alpha hydroxyl acid to slough off dead skin cells, unclog pores, soften the impactions of oil and reduce bacteria from building under the skin. If possible, teens should get a professional alpha-beta hydroxyl peel from a local Esthetician once every three to four weeks to minimize breakouts and help break down excess oil. Alternate glycolic peels can be performed to help open the pores and assist with extraction, if needed.
Teens should avoid or minimize constant contact with caps, head bands or other equipment on the forehead or face – these trap dirt, oil, grease and bacteria. Even a cell phone can cause breakouts – read more about that by clicking the link.
Teens should understand the direct relationship between diet and skin health. No longer a myth, the link between a healthy diet and healthy skin, is proven. Too much sugar and processed foods affect the skin and other food triggers like dairy and gluten can make skin conditions worse. There are dozens of sources for reading more about diet and acne – check this one out for a quick download – Acne Fighting Foods
Finally, teens need to understand the importance of sun protection and skin health. 80% of damage done to the skin from UV exposure is done before we turn 18! Currently, 8,700 people die every hour from melanoma (sun induced skin cancer). Educating teenagers can help reverse this astonishing trend and protect their skin from other damage cause by UV light.