Caring for your skin is important at any age, but the habits teens form now can benefit them for life. While it may seem daunting, a proper skincare routine doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, just 10 simple steps can help teens maintain clear, healthy, glowing skin.
Whether your teen struggles with acne, oiliness, dryness, or sensitivity, these simple recommendations will help them put their best face forward without a ton of time or effort. Read on for the 10 skincare rules teens should follow for their healthiest, clearest complexion yet.
Tip #1: Make Face Washing a Priority
Never let your young person go to bed with a dirty face, whether or not they wear makeup. If they do wear makeup or they are experiencing oily skin, you may want to have them double cleanse. First, have them wipe off impurities using micellar water/toner, and then they wash their face with a gentle foaming cleanser and warm water. Some kids with oily or acne-prone skin benefit from incorporating witch hazel during cleansing, though this can be drying or not appropriate for some sensitive skin types. If your young person’s skin is dry or very sensitive, you can have them use a gentle facial hydrating cleanser.
If they are experiencing major acne breakouts, they may want to explore ideas with their dermatologist. For example, they may want an acne regimen that incorporates a benzoyl peroxide cleanser for the face or salicylic acid wash for the body. If their skin is a combination type or oily type then have them wash twice a day in order to keep the oil down and reduce the concentration of acne-causing bacteria on the skin’s surface.
Cleansing with water and a gentle cleanser is always the best way to ensure a healthy skin surface but occasionally if they are super tired from a long day, if they are traveling, or if they are on-the-go, cleansing wipes can be used to wash the face in a pinch. If they have trouble remembering to wash their face twice a day they can try putting their face wash on top of their toothbrush holder. They almost certainly remember to brush their teeth twice daily so use that to your advantage!
Tip #2: Rinse Away Sweat to Prevent Breakouts
Engaging in physical activities like sports and exercise are important parts of staying fit and enjoying life, but can lead to your skin acting up without proper cleansing. Ask your young person to rinse off after getting super sweaty and change sweaty clothes after workouts. Sweat that stays on the skin can be a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria or other irritations.
If your young person wears hats, helmets, or gear for their activities, make sure you or your young person wash these regularly, or else they can also harbor bacteria and wreak havoc on their skin. After removing a sweaty hat, remind them to rinse their skin or use a moistened facial towel, micellar water, or witch hazel towelette to quickly cleanse on the go.
Tip #3: Find the Right Moisturizer for Your Skin Type
Yes, even oily skin can benefit from moisturizer. Look for non-comedogenic and oil-free lotions and moisturizers to help protect the barrier function of your young person’s skin and give relief from inflammation.
Tip #4: Don’t Pop or Pick Pimples
It can be very tempting to pick at a new bump on the skin or try to pop and squeeze pimples and zits, but picking and prodding the skin can be traumatizing and even scarring. Popping pimples can lead to more bacteria, inflammation, and sometimes staining or scarring of skin.
If your young person has a pimple that is white or yellow at the head and they desperately want to pop it, have them use a warm compress (or after a warm shower) to help open the pores then they can gently press and roll the area using 2 Q-tips or the sides of their two index fingers when they are wearing clean medical gloves.
Tell them not to poke the skin with their fingertips or nails! If the pimple is not easily expressible using the broadsides of the fingers then it will traumatize the skin if they try to force it. Ideally, it is best to avoid touching blemishes altogether. Next time they are tempted to pick at a pimple, have them try using a pimple patch containing salicylic acid to spot treat their zit.
Tip #5: Be Consistent With Acne Treatments
Almost all preteens and teens experience acne at some point. If you begin to notice that your young person has clogged pores, blackheads, whiteheads, or deeper zits, the best thing you can do is help them begin a skincare regimen early and keep them consistent.
If they are using a gentle cleanser twice a day and begin to notice clogged pores, they can start using adapalene gel, which is an over-the-counter, acne-fighting retinol product. Help them avoid skin dryness by starting with using the product every few nights and slowly working up to nightly use. Just a pea-sized amount will be perfect for their entire face, right before bedtime. Salicylic acid washes can be helpful for stubborn acne on the body. Spot treatments and acne patches can be used for larger, more inflammatory pimples.
The BLOOM store is a good place to find some of the best acne spot treatments, washes, and moisturizers for their skin. Don’t forget — acne treatments can take time to take effect so give each treatment a trial of at least two months to determine if it will work for your young person. Don’t let them get discouraged if their skin doesn’t change overnight — with consistency and effort, they will get there!
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Tip #6: Watch Out for Sneaky Pore Cloggers
Make sure to remind your young person to wash anything that touches their face. This means that hats, masks, glasses, cell phone surfaces, hands, and pillowcases require regular washing to prevent the acne-causing build up of oils or bacteria.
Have them pay attention to whether their acne is worse on one side or area of their face and think about what may be causing it. Do they typically hold their phone on that side? Or rest their chin on their hand during class?
Hair products (especially conditioners) can also be secret pore cloggers. If they are noticing frequent breakouts on the forehead or hairline, look for products that do not contain sulfates or are specially formulated to prevent skin irritation. In the shower, tell your young person they can wash their face after rinsing out the conditioner to make sure that hair product residue is not left on their skin.
Tip #7: Practice Good Hygiene With Makeup & Skin Care Products
Make sure your tween or teen washes all of their makeup brushes regularly and dispose of makeup products that are past their prime. That foundation from a few years ago stuffed in the back of the bathroom drawer could wreak serious havoc on your young person’s skin and even cause skin infections.
In general, foundation, concealer, highlighters, pencil eyeliner, and primers should be replaced after one year. Liquid eyeliner and mascara are best replaced every three months. Most skin care products like cleansers and lotions have a shelf life of about two years.
As fun as it is to have a makeover party with friends, make sure that your young person knows to sterilize beauty products before sharing them to avoid sharing bacteria, too.
Tip #8: Treat Your Skin Gently
Don’t let your young person use harsh scrubs, toners, or exfoliators on their skin. Even with oily skin, a gentle cleanser is all that is needed to wash the surface. Harsh treatments can make acne even worse by increasing inflammation and breaking down the skin’s natural barriers and defenses.
Same goes for sun exposure. Remind your young person that excessive sun exposure, indoor tanning, and sunburns can damage their skin.
Tip #9: Wear Sunscreen Daily
Using sunscreen or sun-protective clothing daily is probably the most important healthy habit your young person can start to take care of their skin. When choosing a sunscreen, help them look for one that offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection and is mineral-based (meaning made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient).
They should use at least SPF 30 and fill their whole palm for a full-body application. Remind them that they should reapply every two hours when outdoors or even more frequently when they are sweating a lot or doing water activities.
If you have trouble finding sunscreens that work with your young person’s skin type or their activities make it difficult to reapply, sun protective clothing should be their go-to! Have your young person choose a hat with a wide brim of at least 3 inches and a built-in UPF of 50 or higher. Sun guard long-sleeve sun protection shirts and swimwear can keep them cool and protected.
The things they do to protect their skin from the sun will protect them from getting sidelined with a painful burn now but will also prevent wrinkles, premature aging, sun spots, and skin cancer down the road. Don’t forget — all people, regardless of skin tone, benefit from sun protection. Even though people with darker skin tones are less likely to get sunburned, it is still important to protect the skin from dangerous UV rays.
Tip #10: Stay Hydrated & Eat Skin-Healthy Foods
Remember that truly healthy skin comes from within. You can help your young person get their glow on from within by making sure they are hydrating their body every day. Every person needs at least 8 glasses of water per day to stay hydrated, and young people often need even more to keep up with water loss from physical activities.
Keep in mind that a healthy diet will also help them look and feel their best. A super-skin-saving diet minimizes saturated fats and high-glycemic foods. Dairy and gluten can also trigger acne for some kids. Help your young person stay aware of how their body feels after consuming certain foods and reminding them to make sure to get enough nutrient packed fruits and vegetables that their skin needs to repair and renew.
Following these skin care tips will help your teen build healthy habits that benefit their skin now and for years to come. By making cleansing, moisturizing, sun protection, and gentle care a daily routine, they’ll be on their way to clear, glowing, and healthy skin. Need more guidance? Check out our article on developing a skin care routine.
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