Between acne, blackheads, enlarged pores and excess oil, navigating teenage skin can be challenging. The teenage years are all about prevention and treating any skin conditions that flare up in a conscious and gentle manner. Sticking to a simple daily skincare routine can help to target these concerns, as well as instilling positive skincare habits early on that will be carried throughout life.
Fluctuating hormone levels during adolescence cause the sebaceous glands to go into overdrive. When this excess oil combines with dead skin cells, bacteria and debris the pores can become blocked and congestion occurs. The main focus of the teenage skincare routine is delicately cleaning the pores and using gentle ingredients that support the skin’s natural barrier, which performs an important antibacterial function. Below are my recommended steps.
In the morning
Step 1 Gel cleanser
Step 2 Oil-free lightweight moisturiser
Step 3 SPF50 sunscreen
In the evening
Step 1 Gel cleanser
Step 2 Exfoliating cleanser
Step 3 Oil-free lightweight moisturiser
The foundations of a teenage skincare routine
Use a gel cleanser morning and evening to clean the skin and balance out oil production. It’s best to avoid scrubs and anything that foams, as these can be too harsh for teenage skin. Instead, look for a gentle cleanser formulated with ingredients to suit your skin type and skin concerns, for example, someone with congestion will benefit from an exfoliant cleanser and someone with dermatitis should look to gentle cleansers formulated for sensitive skin. Regardless of your skin type or concern, it’s important to cleanse both morning and night, once in the morning and twice in the evening to unclog pores and expel bacteria without stripping the skin of natural oils and moisture.
Those with oily skin might be tempted to skip moisturiser, but it’s a vital step for all skin types. If the skin is deprived of moisture, the sebaceous glands can actually become overactive to compensate for dryness, essentially producing even more oil. Look for a lightweight yet nourishing formulation to keep teenage skin hydrated without clogging the pores.
Imagine if we had all started wearing SPF every day as teenagers! Thankfully our knowledge of the damaging effects of sun exposure has increased over the last few decades. It’s vital to instil healthy sun protection habits as early as possible to prevent future damage. Teenagers should opt for an oil-free sunscreen as the final step each morning.
Benzoyl peroxide treatments are commonly prescribed for acne-prone adolescent skin, but some people can find them quite sensitising. If you are looking to treat inflamed, cystic acne, I recommend starting with the lowest dose possible and gradually building up a tolerance. Other key ingredients such as salicylic acid and niacinamide are great at fighting congestion without stripping the skin.
Masks can be a great addition to a basic teenage skincare routine, used once a week and selected based on your skin concerns. For example, someone with a blemish-prone complexion can benefit from a clay mask to draw out impurities and help to balance the skin, and a teenager with sensitive skin might look to a calming and cooling gel mask.