Introduction to Skin Care

Tips and tools to take the best care of your skin!

Teen Healthy Body – Body/Skin Care – Skin Care

Skincare 101

Written by Kristina Collins, M.D., FAAD

Our skin really is amazing — it serves as a shield for our “insides” from the outside and also interacts and communicates with the world around us. Your face may feel flushed when you talk to someone you like or you could get goosebumps during a scary movie or an aha moment. Those are all ways your skin communicates! And “skin talk” doesn’t stop there — the skin often provides a window into seeing what is going on beneath the surface of our bodies. Being aware of what’s going on with our skin and maintaining healthy skin can be an important part of our overall health and confidence.

But sometimes, in the preteen and teen years, it can feel like your skin is turning against you. Don’t worry, it’s not! There are TONS of changes happening inside of the body during puberty due to hormones, and the skin reflects these normal changes on the surface. By gaining tips and tools for taking care of your skin during these hormonal changes, you can make sure your skin stays healthy.

Our skin, in many ways, tells our individual story and makes us unique. Through our skin color, we can see the beauty of diversity. Our unique markings, fingerprints, moles, and birthmarks, are ours and ours alone. Our skin is the largest organ in our body and the time we spend caring for it is important for our confidence and well-being. From good hygiene habits to caring for specific issues that arise (like pimples, cold sores, or rashes), we’ve got you covered. By taking the time to learn about your skin and how to care for it, you are already on the way to keeping your skin healthy for life.

Normal skin changes that occur during the teenage years

Let’s face it, during the preteen and teen years you have a lot going on. You’ve got to balance school, work, family, friends, and activities like sports or music. You are starting to work towards goals and sometimes feel super rushed, but you also need time to just be a kid. Well, inside of your body, a major balancing act is happening too. You are growing like crazy and your body is transforming. On the skin, the hormonal surges of puberty can lead to:

  • Enlargement of oil glands and increased oil production, which can cause larger pores, clogging of your pores, and acne
  • Scalp glands can produce more oil than needed, creating oily-looking and feeling hair for some hair types
  • Sweat glands become more active. This sweat (from your armpits, feet, or other parts of your body) combined with the natural bacteria of your body can cause body odor (BO) or stinky feet
  • Hair growth occurring in new places. Hair can grow anywhere on the body (face, legs, arms, pubic area, and more!), however, if you are experiencing excess hair growth it may be a sign of a hormone imbalance or other health issues.

Everyone is different and these changes may affect your skin differently than your friends. If your skin is going a little crazy, we’ve got you covered with some easy tips to deal with it below, as well as some great supporting products in the BLOOM store.

10 Easy Skincare Tips

A great skin care regimen doesn’t have to take up lots of time but does require consistency and daily effort. It’s never too early to start forming good skin hygiene habits and the things you do for your skin now will continue to keep you looking your best for many years to come. We have plenty of tips that won’t take up too much valuable time. Here is a list of one dermatologist’s top 10 tips for preteen and teen skin care.

Tip #1 – Wash your face!

Never go to bed with a dirty face, whether or not you wear makeup. If you do wear makeup or you are experiencing oily skin, you may want to double cleanse by first wiping off impurities using micellar water/toner and then utilizing a gentle foaming cleanser with warm water to wash the entire face. Some people with oily or acne-prone skin benefit from incorporating witch hazel during cleansing. If your skin is dry or very sensitive, you can use a gentle facial hydrating cleanser.

If you are experiencing major acne breakouts, you may want to explore with your dermatologist an acne regimen that incorporates a benzoyl peroxide cleanser for the face or salicylic acid wash or spray for the body. If your skin is a combination or oily type then 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 you are super tired from a long day, if you are traveling, or if you are on-the-go, cleansing wipes can be used to wash the face in a pinch. Having trouble remembering to wash your face twice a day? Here’s a pro-tip: try putting your face wash on top of your toothbrush holder. You almost certainly remember to brush your teeth twice daily, so use that to your advantage!

Tip #2 – Keep sweat on the court or in the gym.

Engaging in physical activities like sports and exercise are important parts of staying fit and enjoying life, but without a few precautions your skin can act up. Always 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 you wear any hats, helmets, or gear for your activities make sure to wash these regularly, or else they can also harbor bacteria and wreak havoc on your skin. After removing a sweaty hat, rinse your skin or use a moistened facial towel, micellar water, or witch hazel towelette to quickly cleanse on the go.

Tip #3 – Moisturize your skin.

Yes, even oily skin can benefit from enrichment with moisturizer. Look for non-comedogenic and oil-free lotions and moisturizers to help protect the barrier function of your skin and give relief from inflammation.

Tip #4 – Do not pop your pimples/zits or pick at your skin!

It can be very tempting to pick at a new bump on the skin or try to pop and squeeze pimples/ zits, but picking and prodding the skin can be traumatizing and even scarring. Popping your pimples can lead to more bacteria, inflammation, and sometimes staining/scarring of skin. If you have a pimple that is white or yellow at the head and you desperately want to pop it, use a warm compress (or after a warm shower) to help open the pores, then gently press and roll the area using 2 Q-tips or use the sides of your two clean index fingers. Do not poke the skin with your fingertips or nails! If the pimple is not easily expressible using the broadsides of the fingers then it will traumatize the skin if you try to force it. Ideally, it is best to avoid touching blemishes altogether. Next time you are tempted to pick, try using a pimple patch containing salicylic acid to spot treat your zit.

Tip #5 – Be consistent with acne treatments.

Almost all preteens and teens experience acne at some point. If you begin to notice clogged pores, blackheads, whiteheads, or deeper zits the best thing you can do is begin a skin care regimen as soon as possible and stay consistent. If you are using a gentle cleanser twice a day and begin to notice clogged pores, you can start using adapalene gel, which is an over-the-counter acne-fighting retinol product. Avoid skin dryness by starting slow and using the product every few nights, slowly working up to nightly use. Just a pea-sized amount will be perfect for your entire face, right before bedtime. Salicylic acid washes can be helpful for stubborn acne in 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 your 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 you. Don’t get discouraged if your skin doesn’t change overnight — with consistency and effort, you will get there!

Tip #6 – Be aware of other notorious pore-cloggers.

Make sure to wash anything that touches the 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. Pay attention to whether your acne is worse on one side or area of your face and think about what may be causing it. Do you typically hold your phone on that side of your face? Or do you rest your chin on your hand during class? Hair products (especially conditioners) can also be secret-pore cloggers. If you 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, you can wash your face after rinsing out the conditioner to make sure that hair product residue is not left on your skin.

Tip #7 – Practice good makeup and skin care product hygiene.

Make sure to wash all 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 your bathroom drawer could wreak serious havoc on your 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 to sterilize beauty products before sharing them to avoid sharing bacteria too.

Tip #8 – Be gentle with your skin.

Don’t make the mistake of using harsh scrubs, toners, or exfoliators on your 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. Along the same idea, don’t damage your skin with excessive sun exposure, indoor tanning, or sunburns.

Tip #9 – Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Using sunscreen or sun-protective clothing daily is probably the most important healthy habit you can start to take good care of your skin. When choosing a sunscreen, 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). Use at least SPF 30 and remember that you should fill your whole palm for a full-body application. Reapply every two hours when outdoors or even more frequently when you are sweating a lot or doing water activities.

If you have trouble finding sunscreens that work with your skin type or your activities make it difficult to reapply, sun protective clothing should be your go-to! 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 you cool and protected. The things you do to protect your skin from the sun will protect you from getting sidelined with a painful burn now and will also prevent wrinkles, premature aging, sun spots, and skin cancer down the road. Don’t forget — all people, regardless of skin color, benefit from sun protection. Even though people with darker skin colors are less likely to get sunburned, it is still important for them to protect their skin from dangerous UV rays.

Tip #10 – Hydration and Nutrition!

Remember that truly healthy skin comes from within. Get your glow on from within by hydrating your body every day. Every person needs at least 8 glasses of water per day to stay hydrated and preteens and teens often need even more to keep up with water loss from physical activities. Keep in mind that a healthy diet will also help you look and feel your best. A super-skin-saving diet minimizes saturated fats and high glycemic foods. Dairy and gluten can also trigger acne for some people. Stay aware of how your body feels after consuming certain foods and make sure to get enough nutrient packed fruits and vegetables that your skin needs to repair and renew.

Top 5 Common Skin Conditions & Solutions
Things to Know When it Comes to Makeup

Makeup has been used in certain cultures to enhance beauty throughout history, even in ancient times. Self-adornment with makeup or other forms of body decoration can have cultural roots, such as the use of henna tattoos for Southeast Asian celebrations. In the current day, we are constantly inundated with videos and tutorials on every aspect of makeup application or physical enhancement. It is important to remember that people of all genders can be attractive and appear professional with or without makeup. At its best, makeup can be used as a form of self-expression and to boost feelings of confidence by highlighting certain parts of one’s appearance. At its worst, makeup can become something that preteens and teens feel they must wear to appear attractive or fit in. Always remember that wearing makeup is an individual choice.

If you do choose to wear makeup, there are some things you can do to protect your skin against any negative consequences.

  • First, don’t forget to wash makeup off before bed. Make sure that your skin is nice and clean before heading to bed so that it can properly renew itself overnight. Makeup sitting on the face too long can lead to inflammation, rashes, and bacteria build up.
  • Make sure to clean makeup brushes and sponges regularly and sanitize any makeup applicators you share with your friends. If not properly cared for and sterilized, makeup and applicators can harbor bacteria, spreading acne on the skin or even worse, cause eye infections.
  • Always make sure to toss any makeup supplies past their prime as these can be a breeding ground for bacteria as well. Foundations, concealers, eye pencils, and primers should be thrown out after one year, while mascaras and liquid eyeliners should only be kept for three months.
  • Clean out the bathroom drawer regularly to avoid skin problems.
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