Teenagers these days have enough on their plate to worry about - from school to friends, to attending social events to getting good grades. On top of this, they also go through a myriad of changes through these years, not just physical but also hormonal and emotional. Through all of this, they suffer a great deal of stress and combined with other factors, this might reflect on their skin.
How can teenagers maintain good skin health through their teens? What are the simple steps they can follow? Let us get a better look.
What is Unique About Teenage Skin?
The pores in our skin are connected to oil glands. When a child is going through their teenage years, they hit puberty and during this time, the body produces a hormone called testosterone. While primarily a male hormone, it is also produced in females to some extent. Excess production of the hormone causes the oil glands to enlarge and overproduce oil (or sebum). When sebum is overproduced, the pores get blocked with dead skin cells. This build-up leads to bacteria and ultimately, causes acne to form. Several teens experience acne breakouts during puberty when testosterone levels begin to rise. Hormonal acne can sometimes also persist through adulthood. Other factors that cause teenage acne include excessive sweating, stress, harsh scrubbing or picking on blemishes.
Hormonal Changes Can Lead To The Following Forms Of Acne :
1. Acne Vulgaris
Commonly referred to as pimples, these are the pus-filled, inflamed, red bumps that form on the skin.
Read more about acne here.
2. Blackheads and Whiteheads
Collectively referred to as comedones, blackheads are formed when a large open pore that is filled up with sebum and bacteria is oxidised, making the comedone black in colour. On the other hand, a whitehead is a closed comedone wherein the pore opening is small enough for no oxidation to occur, leaving the comedone white.
Read more about blackheads here.
3. Oily Skin
The culprit that causes teenage acne - oily skin is extremely common amongst teenagers (more common in boys) due to the formation of male and female sex hormones known as androgens during puberty. However, oily skin and acne do not always go hand-in-hand. One can always suffer from oily skin but not from acne. This is when accompanying factors such as genetics, stress, personal hygiene and the chemistry of the bacteria on the skin come into play.
4. Other Concerns
A. Excessive Sweating
During puberty, the child’s 2-4 million sweat glands become increasingly active, causing them to sweat profusely. This not only happens when the teen is feeling hot or is performing some sort of physical activity, but it is also stimulated when he/she is feeling certain emotions of anger, nervousness or stress. Usually, teens sweat the most on their palms, the soles of their feet and under their arms. To control this, having your teen apply a strong antiperspirant not only regulates sweat but also contains the odour.
Children spend a good part of their childhood playing outside in the sun. During this time, their skin is exposed to the harsh UV rays that cause painful, red sunburns. An excessive amount of sunburns can lead to premature wrinkling during the teen’s adult years. Lighter-skinned teens are more prone to developing sunburns as opposed to darker-skinned teens whose body produces more melanin.
Dandruff is one of the side effects of raging hormones during teenage years. Just as teens produce an excessive amount of oil on the face and body, they also do the same on their scalp. The causes of why dandruff occurs exactly are unclear but it has been correlated to Malassezia globosa, a very common fungus that grows on the scalp. This fungus, when it interacts with oil, breaks it down into irritating, flaky substances - commonly known as dandruff. Dandruff may get worse with growing hormone levels or when stress levels rise. Have your teen use anti-dandruff shampoos and leave-in treatments from a young age to curb dandruff early on.
Read more about dandruff here.
The Faith In Nature Aloe Vera Shampoo is enriched with active organic Aloe Vera that can rejuvenate hair, along with treating dandruff and calming an itchy and dry scalp.
Eczema is a non-inflammatory skin condition that is characterised by itching, scaly rashes and redness. These symptoms can sometimes tend to get painful or even interrupt the child’s sleep. Eczema has been correlated with food and environmental allergies. It often develops in teens who have a defective skin barrier. It might also occur amongst teens whose families have a history of asthma. Being a chronic condition, eczema can come and go over time but can never be fully cured. As your teen ages, eczema can keep getting better and increasingly manageable. Dermatologist-recommended skin care is always the best remedy to treat this condition.
Teenage Acne and Self-Esteem
Going beyond the skin, teenage acne can also affect your teen’s self-esteem. Even a mild level of acne can have an impact on self-esteem. Studies show that over 70%-87% of teens suffer from acne and 30%-50% of teens experience psychological issues associated with acne. Teenage years are crucial to a child’s development. Having low self-esteem during these years or feelings of anger, frustration and stress can affect them in their adult life. External factors such as bullying also come into play while discussing self-esteem. Should a child get self-conscious about their acne, they might also begin to self-isolate and feel lonely. However, research has also shown that teens who have acne but are still mindfully treating it and taking care of their skin do tend to have growing levels of self-esteem.
The Ultimate Teenage Skincare Routine
Do not let sebum build-up, sweat, dirt and bacteria clog your teen’s pores. Encourage them to wash their face every day and night with an oil-balancing cleanser. The Paul Pender’s Alpina & Tea Tree Cleansing Wash inhibits bacterial activity on the skin to reduce blemishes, oil and regulate the production of sebum. Simply take a coin-sized amount and apply it on your face and neck, gently massaging in an upward motion.
To prevent excess sebum production through enlarged pores, toning is crucial. Toners help the skin by shrinking pores, therefore managing the sebum production of the skin. They also maintain the skin’s pH balance and add a layer of protection to the skin by reducing the penetration of contaminants and impurities. Toners should be used day and night as well. They help moisturise and refresh skin in the morning and help clear out remnants from sunscreen or the daily grime that the cleanser skipped. The Bliscent Eucalyptus and Tea Tree Toner works wonders for this.
Your teen should moisturise their skin day and night to quench the skin’s thirst and leave it hydrated at all times. Moisturiser can reduce extreme oiliness or extreme dryness to retain a well-balanced skin texture. Hydrating the skin also enables a quicker cell turnover, thus leading to newer skin cell formation. The Disguise Cosmetics C+C Sorbet Cream is a great choice for all skin types.
4. Apply SPF
Sun protection, at any age, is extremely important. Applying SPF daily, even when your teen is not going to be outdoors can prevent UV damage, sunburn, premature skin ageing and even reduces the chances of skin cancer. Your teen should be applying a minimum of SPF 30 daily. The Mom’s Co Mineral Based Sunscreen is an excellent child-friendly sunscreen that provides UVA as well as UVB protection.
5. Use a Lip Balm
Dry weather, salty foods and dehydration can suck all of the moisture out of lips, leaving them chapped and dry. Your teen should apply a lip balm daily to keep them moisturised and hydrated. The Alanna Rich Lemonade Lip Balm nourishes and conditions the lips for long term hydration.
Pro Tip: Exfoliate lips using a lip scrub!
Lip scrubs exfoliate and peel away chapped, dry skin to reveal smoother lips. They also improve the blood circulation to the lips, keeping them hydrated and healthy. The Bliscent Cake Frosting Lip Scrub gently exfoliates and moisturises, along with repairing any damage from UV radiation.
6. Exfoliate 1-2 Times A Week
Physical exfoliation a couple of times a week is a great periodic detox that is not too harsh for the skin. Scrubs use friction to scrape off any dead cells or bacteria from the skin to cleanse the pores deeply and purify the skin. This helps prevent any build-up of bacteria and sebum. However, over-scrubbing is highly unrecommended (especially for acne-prone skin) as it can aggravate, bruise or irritate skin. The Zyna Clarifying and Detoxifying Face Scrub gently cleanse away dull skin to reveal an even tone and smoother complexion.
7. Treat Acne Diligently
While acne cannot disappear overnight, it is extremely important to regulate it and treat it with discipline. Teenage acne can be stubborn and along with treatments, patience is also key. The Organic Riot Zap - Anti Acne Serum can be used all over the face or as a spot treatment to treat acne and banish pimples.
However, we recommend that if your child is suffering from a severe case of acne, they should consult a dermatologist.
How Early Should You Start?
The driving factors for this question are puberty and genetics. Your teen should ideally start maintaining a stable face cleansing routine between the ages of 12 and 14. Starting this routine goes hand in hand with the onset of puberty when sizable changes are expected to occur. This also ultimately depends on genetics and how, as well as to what extent, the teen’s body reacts to these changes.
While a child’s teenage years are difficult to get by for many reasons, acne and unhealthy skin is one issue that can be avoided if treated on time. Have your teen follow these simple daily practices for healthy skin and great hygiene.
- Rishita Chitalia