Having teenagers is hard. Being a teenager is no walk in the park either; the pressures of school, friends, and family, and the changes happening in their bodies are overwhelming. Overall appearance, and specifically the look of skin, is almost always a top concern. More than just the outward appearance (let’s face it, acne is not pretty), acne leads to a lack of confidence and self-esteem during the teen years—one of the most fragile stages in life. We can’t predict whether or not any given teen, male or female, will be afflicted with acne. Instead of hoping for the best, get in front of the potential problem and the ensuing effects by educating your child on how to deal with skin blemishes and imperfections as well as overall skin health.
Guide your child to develop optimal self-care practices for long-term skin health. The first step is teaching commitment and care. Conversations about hygiene, such as washing hands and brushing teeth, are common. Just as important are conversations about skincare. When you teach your child to brush their teeth, also teach them to wash their face. Encourage this routine twice a day—morning and night—from childhood through young adulthood. When your child starts to go through puberty, up the incentive to stick to a routine by explaining that compliance fights against unwanted acne. Making your suggestion an education in prevention is much more effective than what may be perceived as a mandate. Use this opportunity to highlight that self-care is an important part of becoming an adult.
Once the commitment to a skincare routine is made, the second step is introducing further actions in acne prevention and skin health, not only by words of advice, but also by example. Take the time to talk about your skin obstacles and how you take care of your skin on a day-to-day basis, as well as what obstacles you may have faced in your teen years. Educate your child in every step of your routine, explaining how your choices benefit your skin type. Introduce them to my skin-type test to determining their skin type and then guide them in creating a routine with the right products. It is easy to overwhelm a teen, so introduce each product individually, giving them time to master each step. Use my teen routine as a guide in developing healthy skin habits for your child.
1. Cleanse twice a day. Once skin type is determined, choose a cleanser that corresponds to type. Use my cleanser guidelines as a roadmap to choosing the right product. While teens with oily and acne-prone skin may be inclined to wash their face more frequently, encourage a twice-daily routine—morning and evening—for healthy skin.
2. Try witch hazel as a toner. As soon as your teen sees or feels small bumps or the start of larger blemishes on their skin, it is time to tone the skin with witch hazel. Each night after cleansing, dab a cotton ball soaked in witch hazel on the affected area until the problem is gone.
3. Use a spot treatment. For breakouts, use a spot treatment before sleep. Try a 2 percent salicylic acid-based gel, tea-tree oil, sulfur or benzoyl peroxide. Place the treatment directly on the blemish.
4. Apply oil-free SPF. Decades ago, the sun was considered helpful in treating acne. Today we know that the sun is damaging to both the overall health of the skin and acne-prone skin. Teens should apply an oil-free SPF every morning after cleaning.
A teen’s understanding of their skin and the products best for their skin empowers them to take their health and wellness into their own hands and highlights that skincare is just one great part of their health and wellness. Arm your teen with a skin education today!
- Start a mask ritual. Once a week, set aside time to apply a mask with your teen. Keep the mask on for about ten minutes or half the time the product instructs. Using a clay mask once a week aids in excess-oil absorption.
- Removing makeup is a must. Young girls are especially susceptible to the adverse effects of sleeping in makeup. Remind your child to remove makeup before cleansing.
- Rinse your face in the shower, too. It is important for teens (and adults!) to rinse the face with water after shampooing the hair. Shampoo residue on the face can lead to a breakout.