When puberty hits the teenage years can be a frustrating time when it comes to skin care. Bodily changes and surges in hormones can cause blackheads, breakouts, and oily skin. Learning how to properly care for your skin at this age sets the stage for clear skin now and healthy skin in the future.
Once puberty starts our skin begins to pump out more oil than it ever did before especially in our T-zone - forehead, nose, and chin areas. The more oil in our skin, the more likely that breakouts will occur. As dead skin cells mix with the oil, they both get trapped in the pores which leads to blackheads and whiteheads. If bacteria is present then pimples and pustules start to form as well. In order to stop this cycle before it gets out of control, follow the steps below and start caring for your skin right.
Cleansing your skin twice a day is the cornerstone of any good skin care home care regime. Teens with very oily skin might even want to wash their face three times a day. When it comes to cleaning your face you do not want to go overboard with harsh cleansers and scrub away at your skin. Even though it sounds a bit strange, you actually want to be gentle with your skin when it comes to cleansing if you suffer from breakouts and blackheads. You never want to have a "squeaky clean" feeling on your skin after using a facial cleanser. If you do then you have stripped your skin of its protective barrier which means your skin is now even less protected from bacteria and other outside contaminants that can lead to further pimples.
Make sure to wash your face at the end of your shower instead of at the beginning. When you wash your face at the beginning of your shower you risk leaving pore-clogging shampoo and conditioner on your face and back, causing more breakouts. So be sure to wait until the end of your shower to wash your face, and be sure to get the cleanser right up into your hairline, on the back of your neck, throat, and behind the ears.
If you suffer from blackheads and breakouts you want to look for a cleanser with anti-acne ingredients in it. Depending on how severe your breakouts and blackheads you can use the cleanser once or twice a day in order to get rid of dead skin cells, dirt, and excess oil on the skin. Salicylic acid is a great facial acid for acne prone skin since it penetrates into the pore and dissolves the build-up oil in the pores. Consider using Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Power-Cream Wash or Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser.
After cleansing your face it's time to treat your skin. This step isn't necessary for every teen, but for those with lots of breakouts, it is a step that cannot be missed. Treating your skin means using a serum or lotion that is meant to just clear up breakouts. This is the extra push that your skin needs in order to be healthy and clear. Consider using Acne.org Treatment 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide or Paula's Choice CLEAR Acne Treatment Regular Strength with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide.
You could use a spot treatment on a random breakout or two instead of putting a serum everywhere on your face. Just remember that a spot treatment really is that - it is just meant to be used in a specific area of your face not all over your face. Spot treatments to try include Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment and Mario Badescu Drying Lotion.
Many people with oily skin think that they do not or should not use a moisturizer. In order for our skin to be healthy, it needs hydration. Many times when teens have acne or even just blackheads they go to "war" on their skin and in the process end up drying it out. Hydration is important to bring balance back to the skin. Just be sure to use a water-based, oil-free moisturizer. Try Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel or Simple Gel Ultra Light Moisturizer.
Sun protection is a must for teen skin. Firstly, the earlier you start with sun protection the better your skin will look later in life - fewer wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots. You also need to protect your skin from the sun in order to prevent skin cancer. Many teens resist using sunscreen regularly because it feels heavy on their skin, but there are plenty of sunscreens that are lightweight on the skin. Try EltaMD SKINCARE UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, Garnier SkinActive Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream Oily/Combo Skin or Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen For Acne-Prone Skin, Broad Spectrum Spf 30.
One Last Tip
If you have followed the tips above and have been diligent about sticking to a skin care routine and your acne still persists, it is time to see a professional. You can start by consulting with an esthetician. If your acne is severe or cystic consider seeing a dermatologist for help.
See also these tips for tweens.