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teen boy with clear skin

While some may consider the development of acne in the teen years to be a normal occurrence, that doesn’t make it an easy or desirable experience for the individual faced with it. There is hope! With the help of an experienced esthetician, you can get on the path to clear skin, no matter if you have a few blemishes, or are dealing with a severe case of acne. Getting on a customized, personalized skincare plan is key.

What Causes Teen Acne?

First, remember that you’re not alone. Eighty-five percent of teens experience some level of acne. Most often, it’s caused by an overproduction of oil due to hormonal shifts during puberty. The good news is that teen skin is resilient and teen skin cell turnover is more rapid. Looking for some tips to help that you can take on at home? Read on.

What Can Be Done at Home to Care for Acne?

Managing acne in teens mainly hinges on proper cleansing and reducing that oil produced. Acne usually rears its head between the ages of 11-14, with the onset of puberty. It may first show as clogged pores and blackheads forming in the t-zone. If you see this starting, make an appointment for a consultation to get ahead of things as soon as possible.

Cleansers for this age group could be gentle. And the skincare routine should be something simple that the individual can stick to consistently. Our gentle cleanser and silky cream cleanser are very good options.

A hydrating, alcohol-free toner with soothing properties after cleansing is perfect for removing remnants of the cleanser.  Our hydrating toner is very popular for all our clients, teens, and adults.

Should I Still Moisturize?

The toner should be followed up with a moisturizer. Two moisturizers are important to the routine: one with sunscreen for daytime use, and one without for nighttime use. 

For clients with oily skin, our Matte Tint is a great choice.  However, SPF is a very personal experience, especially if you are not used to it.  We carry quite a few options for this same reason.  Acne-safe sunscreen is also very hard to find so sometimes you will need to try out a few before you find the one you love.

Spot treatments are a great option for someone experiencing blemishes at a young age, allowing them to just get treatment where needed.  These should generally be suggested by a licensed professional once they have evaluated your skin type and the type of acne you are experiencing.  Not all acne is the same and we should never assume it is all treated as such.  Sometimes taking the matter into your own hands can be more harmful than helpful. 

How Can I Treat Congested Skin?

For those experiencing a lot of congestion, your routine may be a little different, and it may need some additional exfoliation.  Exfoliation can be very helpful but in many cases over usage and too much of it can harm your skin.  See a licensed esthetician to get on a customized skincare routine.

More Severe Teen Cases

Acne often becomes more severe around the age of 15. Sebaceous glands are kicked into overdrive so limiting oil production is essential. This is also when chemical exfoliation may begin. A cleanser should have either exfoliating or oil-absorbing elements. And cleansing both morning and evening, as well as after breaking a sweat, is important.

A hydrating, oil-free toner with antibacterial properties to balance the skin is best to use after the cleanser.

Additional Help for Teens with Acne

before and after picture of acne treatment program

Using a vitamin C serum under your sunscreen in the morning provides great antioxidant benefits to protect from UV damage. It can be beneficial for teenagers experiencing acne as it helps inhibit the pigmentation that causes lingering acne scars. Our bright c serum is a stable form of vitamin c and should be introduced if you have acne once you have been on a homecare routine for a bit.  It would not be an initial product to add. 

Salicylic acid (BHA) is an acid (chemical) exfoliant and a key ingredient to look for. It’s oil-soluble, meaning it can get inside the pores to clear them out and curb oil production. A salicylic acid serum works well for clearing congestion and eliminating superficial acne such as whiteheads, pustules, and papules.

Mandelic Acid (AHA) is another chemical exfoliant and is amazing for acne. It’s known for its great anti-bacterial properties, reduction of inflammation, and amazing for hyperpigmentation.

When someone overproduces oil, their instinct is often to use drying products and to skip moisturizing. This can create the opposite of the desired result, leaving skin dehydrated and flaky, and even oilier because your skin will try to make up for the dryness. Use a light, oil-free lotion or if you’re extremely oily, you can also try an oil-free gel moisturizer.  Again, your morning product should absolutely include something with appropriate SPF.

Masks can be a great skincare addition for teens. A hydrating mask, can be beneficial when you are adjusting to actives that may dry you out initially or an antibacterial mask can be used any time breakouts flare and you are experiencing a lot of inflammation.

Good Habits to Practice That Help Prevent Teen Acne

  • Always Wash Your Face After Exercising. Cleanse your face any time you work out or sweat (in addition to morning and evening). Focus especially on cleansing areas where sweaty sports equipment rubs up against the skin. This will help prevent breakouts from forming in the first place.
  • Change Your Pillowcases. Do this often to keep from reintroducing oil and bacteria to the skin’s surface.
  • Treat Body Acne Too. Many teens develop acne on the body as well as the face. Learn how to manage body acne.
  • Avoid Bar Soap. Ingredients found in bar soap can be drying and surfactant-based which are sometimes very harsh.  Generally making them high pH which will create dryness and irritation.
  • Don’t Pick! It’s sure to cause damage. Your best bet is to schedule a facial with a professional esthetician (like me). That picking may have taken you a second to dig at but it may take months to clear and worst. You may be spreading bacteria and SURPRISE, in a month or two you have a whole new cluster of breakouts that showed up to say…hey I am here LOL

Most importantly, don’t stress. Navigating acne can be confusing for teens and their parents. But rest assured, spending a little time and effort upfront to establish a consistent skincare routine will benefit you for a lifetime to come. Please reach out to schedule an in-person or virtual consultation. I can help!

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