It’s funny how things can happen in 3’s. Last week we were asked 3 times for some advice about the same thing – teenage skin care. All were completely independent of each other so maybe it was just one of those coincidences.
Or maybe (without sounding too woo-woo) it was the universe letting us know that more of you have a teenager lying on the couch and would like the same advice.
So while your teenager snoozes on the couch or broods in their room, here is the low-down on how to care for their skin while their hormones are raging.
Hormones wonderful hormones!
Teenage bodies produce excessive amounts of hormones (in particular androgens) which trigger oil production. The excess oil gets trapped inside a pore where bacteria start eating it, yummo! As the bacteria multiply they cause inflammation and infection which ends in a red, sore and swollen pimple.
The contraceptive pill is a type of anti-androgen. That is why it can help control acne or you experience breakouts when you stop taking it.
Dirty skin causing acne is a myth, but gently cleansing is essential. Cleansing helps to remove the build of dead skin cells. If dead skin is left to build up it will inevitably trap oil and cause a clogged pore. Breakout city here we come.
Many products seductively woo teenagers with their promises of clear skin use harsh, irritating ingredients. Any irritation only makes acne worse as the skin’s defence system is to produce more oil. Avoid products that use alcohol, benzoyl peroxide, menthol, or a high percentage of salicylic acid.
Piling on the concealer, BB cream or foundation may help in the short term but could be making things worse. Not removing makeup is very naughty but they may also contain pore clogging ingredients which keep you on the breakout wagon wheel.
This is one of the hardest ones to avoid, but squeezing pimples and touching your face with dirty hands is the fastest way to spread bacteria and cause breakouts to multiply (it will also make scarring more likely).
There are no magic bullets and skin care products can only do so much. Breakouts happen overnight but the seeing noticeable improvements may take up to 12 weeks. A consistent routine is essential and so is patience which is why it is the hardest part when you have a party in 24hrs.
Hair styling products like mousse, waxes, pomades, gels, and hairspray can trigger breakouts in that area as they are too heavy for skin.
Skin cannot deal with sun damage and acne at the same time. Exposure to the sun will only make breakouts take longer to heal.
Social pressure, studies, growing up and worrying about getting pimples all causes stress. The stress causes internal inflammation which can trigger a breakout. Time to roll out the yoga mat!
Make skincare as easy as possible – Following instructions is not high on a teenager’s list of priorities, so a simple routine is the best. Complicated doesn’t mean better.
Be savvy to marketing spin – Marketers know the pain points to press when it comes to teenagers and breakouts. Unfortunately the outrageous promises don’t always match results. Like we mentioned before there are no magic cures (even if Justin Bieber says so).
Avoid bar soaps and other products with SLES or SLS as they are too harsh for your skin. A Konjac sponge can be teenage skin’s best friend!
Right now we’re working on a new micellar water cleanser that will suit teenage skin to a tee, but until it’s available both the 3 Cheers Cleansing Oil or Cloud 9 Deep Cleansing Balm will work, but extra special care needs to be made to remove all balm/oil residue from teenage skin.
Salicylic acid is a very effective ingredient at helping with pimples as it cleanses and exfoliates. It is not natural and can be too strong in some products so we avoid it. For a natural alternative look for products with Willow Bark extract like the Tickled Pink Perfecting Tonic. Willow bark is high in salicin which the body converts to salicylic acid.
It is common to think that since teenage skin is so oily it is doesn’t need moisturising. Teenage skin can be dry or dehydrated and still breakout. Consistent moisturising helps balance the skin and improves recovery. Choose something light and hydrating like the Perfectly Happy Light Anti-Oxidant Cream.
You can’t scrub away pimples and trying will make it worse but you need to remove dead skin cells before it clogs a pore. If you prefer a physical exfoliator use a konjac sponge or a scrub with bamboo which is an excellent gentle option. (A gentle scrub is another product that’s on our “Happy Skincare To-Do list”.)
No skincare product can control oil production, hormones are too powerful. But you can manage it with a good quality clay mask like the Pig In Mud Mineral Mask. Our mask for normal/dry/sensitive skin it is the best choice for teenagers. Clay masks can also help reduce redness and clear a breakout faster. For something different mix the mask with black strap molasses as it will gently exfoliate at the same time.
Dilo Oil is absolutely wonderful at helping with the inflammation of pimples and assisting the healing process. It can also help prevent scarring, and fade scarring from old breakouts. A few drops is all you need.
If you’re dedicated to using natural products, this can be trickier than expected as many zinc based sunscreens are thick and cause breakouts. We personally like the Ecological Face Sunscreen. Mineral foundations like Adorns SPF 20 mineral foundation are a good choice if sunscreens are too heavy.
Whatever products you decide to use the most important thing to consider is: don’t use anything that causes irritation. Nothing should tingle, itch, causes redness or be drying.
One last tid-bit – diet can play a role in managing teenage skin. Thankfully chocolate and greasy foods are not triggers but food sensitivities and allergies can be. It has also been shown in a study that teenagers eating a low GI diet saw a better improvement in their skin.