By Snezna Kerekovic
If you have a tween/teen in your life you will know that the bane of their existence is their skin…more specifically those pesky pimples that rear their ugly heads as puberty sets in. Far from being a trivial beauty issue, pimples and acne at this highly hormonal stage of life can have a major impact on your their self-esteem. A little knowledge can go a long way in helping to deal with skin problems. Here’s the 411 on how to prevent and deal with teen skin drama.
Pimples and acne have a major impact on how a young person feels about themselves; it’s the number one root cause of low self esteem. A sudden breakout can make a young person feel as if they don’t want to face the world. And, don’t even try to tell them that it is a passing phase. When you’re at that age and your hormones are going awry, your body is developing in ways that are totally embarrassing; you sprout hair in places you never imagined, and then you start breaking out. It can be quite devastating.
95% of tweens/teens will experience pimples. Add to that the fact that low self-esteem is linked to bullying, self-harm, depression, even suicide. It makes getting on top of your tween/teen’s skin a major priority. Let’s help them fix it.
What is happening to the skin?
As tweens/teens approach puberty one of the changes they experience is that the body produces more oil. The skin’s surface naturally houses surface bacteria but the excess oil produced during puberty traps that bacteria onto the skin.
Another natural process of the skin is that it literally sheds thousands of dead skin cells in order for new cells to emerge. The combination of excess oil on the skin’s surface combined with bacteria and the dead skin cells leads to pores being blocked. Pore blockages then manifest as pimples caused by the trapped oil/bacteria/dead cells combo.
Starting tweens/teens on a regular skin care routine of cleanse/exfoliate/moisturize can make a major difference to their experience of pimples/acne.
The skin’s job is to keep the surface moist. This is a sign of healthy skin that will withstand external damage and longer-term skin aging. If your skin feels that it is under attack and being dried out on the surface, the skin reacts at the lower levels to pump out more oil in defense. It’s important to understand this because if you’re applying products to the skin that contain ingredients designed to dry out pimples, you’re actually doing more harm than good.
It’s the reason why a lot of people will experience the following cycle: Buy products that dry up the pimples. Then experience side effects that can include skin drying, redness and flaking. But, because it seems to be getting rid of pimples, the side effects are accepted and the skin seems to be doing great. Two to three weeks later the pimples are back with a vengeance. The product isn’t working and your tween/teen tries another product range and goes through the same cycle. Your child is left feeling hopeless, thinking that nothing works and is doomed to face the world with a face full of zits.
Understand that if the skin’s job is to stay moist then any product that contains ingredients that are drying to the skin will simply trigger the skin to produce more oil and that means more pimples.
The two main-stay chemical ingredients in most pimple creams or skin care products for teen skin are Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid which both dry out pimples.
Avoiding products that are based on ingredients that are all about drying out pimples is a first step in dealing with them.
A good routine
Because bacteria and dead cells are a major contributor to clogged pores and pimples then it stands to reason that if you address those two elements, you are on your way to tackling pimples and acne.
To remove bacteria from the skin’s surface, cleanse twice a day, using an anti-bacterial facial wash. It’s extremely important to avoid cleansers with sodium lauryl sulphate. SLS is a chemical ingredient used in many washes and shampoos to give products a foaming effect. It is extremely harsh on the skin and very drying, which as explained, actually produces more oil.
To remove dead skin cells on the skin’s surface that can clog pores, use an exfoliator a few times a week to slough away dead cells and stimulate cell renewal. Be sure to choose an exfoliant with small exfoliating beads as large particles can over-stimulate and aggravate the skin. The Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System does a great job of cleansing and exfoliating skin and is gentle.
Moisturize every day, twice a day. A good moisturizer provides skin with essential skin-loving nutrients and it will also protect the skin from external elements that can clog pores with pollution, dirt and grime.
Forget about the age-old approach of drying out the pimple as the way to treat it.
Look for products that use ingredients that purify, balance and heal, like Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Sea Buckthorn Berry. These ingredients have been backed by studies showing their effectiveness in dealing with pimples minus the side effects you can often experience with their chemical cousins.
It’s as simple as Cleanse, Exfoliate, Moisturize and Treat with products that avoid drying chemical agents.
I created Bellaboo Skin Care, as a natural alternative to chemical-based skin care. Our three step system is designed to be super simple to use and works to bring skin back to healthy balance. Cleanse with All That Clean Skin Facial Wash, exfoliate with Buff Skin Facial Exfoliator (a delicate buffing fix of ground bamboo and rice bran powder), and moisturize with Gorgeous Skin Moisture Dew. Add to that a super hero pimple treatment – E Z Zit Blitz Serum, which deals with pimples gently and without any side effects.
Bellaboo available: ULTA stores and http://www.drugstore.com
Make-Up Not Fake Up
Most girls will be experimenting with make-up, especially if they have pimples. Make-up is often plastered on to cover up blemishes, which contributes to clogged pores, especially if you are not diligent in washing it off completely at the end of the day.
Youngblood Mineral Make-up is great for young skin. It is non-pore clogging, doesn’t contain talc and has a natural finish. You can use the mineral makeup as a foundation, blush, contour and even mix it in with your moisturizer to become an instant tinted moisturizer.
Tips and Tricks to help keep acne away
• Wash pillow cases regularly – the oil from your face transfers to your pillowcase and then you spend hours with your skin against this surface that has built up oil and bacteria.
• Tie hair back. Keep hair, which is full of natural oils and hair products, away from the face, especially when sleeping.
• When choosing an exfoliator be sure to choose one with small exfoliant beads. The larger the exfoliant particle the more it will over-stimulate the skin, leading to increased oil production. It can also knock the head off pimples and spreading bacterial infection.
• Moisturize. A light, fast absorbing moisturizer protects your skin from external elements, such as pollution, that can damage skin and clog pores. A good moisturizer ensures that your skin is nourished and hydrated.
• Drink plenty of water – 6-8 glasses a day – to flush out toxins and keep your skin hydrated.
• Eat healthy most of the time. Fatty and oily foods will make skin sluggish, which leads to imbalances. Eating fruits and vegetables will give your skin glow from inside out.
Snezna Kerekovic is an ex-beauty editor turned beauty brand creator and pro self-esteem advocate. The creator and President of natural skin care brand, Bellaboo, she is passionate about choosing to live a healthy life that is comprised of using natural products wherever possible, eating organic, healthy food and exercising. She brings her own personal lifestyle to her brand – creating products that are all natural, inspiring girls and women to realize their own true beauty, and working to make a difference to young women’s self-esteem via her Foundation – Make The Change … One Girl At A Time.