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Teen skincare tips

Teenage girl checks her face for acne in the mirror
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From hair growth to breakouts, being a teenager means lots of changes to your appearance, particularly when it comes to your skin.

Thankfully, there’s plenty you can do to look after your skin during teenage years that will set you up for a healthy, glowy complexion later in life.

Here we share how to care for your skin, identify your skin type and get a good routine in place with our top teen skincare tips.

What happens to skin during puberty?

Puberty causes many changes in the body, including the skin. This is due to extreme hormonal changes that can cause everything from excess sweating to greasy hair, a result of more oils on the scalp.

One of the most common symptoms of puberty on the skin is acne, affecting 95% of people aged 11 - 30, particularly those between 14 - 19 years.

What causes acne during puberty?

Acne during puberty is caused by increased levels of the hormone testosterone. Sebaceous glands are heavily sensitive to testosterone and as a result, begin to produce much more oil than the skin needs, otherwise known as sebum.

This and dead skin cells can lead to clogged pores, causing spots to develop. The majority of sebum-producing glands are on the t-zone (the forehead, nose and chin), so you are more likely to develop teenage acne in these areas.

When to see a doctor for acne?

Mild acne can often be treated at home with specialist acne cream available over the counter, however you can speak to a GP to help with more severe cases. This may be because:

  • Your acne is painful
  • You have acne on your chest and back as well as your face
  • You have acne scarring
  • Your acne is causing you to have a low mood or lack of confidence

Acne treatment for teens commonly includes prescription medicine such as topical retinoids or antibiotics, azelaic acid, or for women, the combined contraceptive pill. Your doctor will discuss each option with you and be able to recommend an effective treatment plan.

If these options don’t work, you may be referred to a dermatologist who specialises in treating skin problems during puberty.

How to know your skin type?

Not everybody has the same type of skin. In fact, there are 5 different skin types that each display different characteristics, often determined by genetics, your skincare routine and the environment.

Having a better understanding of your skin type will help you to look after your skin, particularly if you have dry skin, acne or conditions such as eczema. You might identify with one or more - that’s perfectly normal. Take the time to compare each with your symptoms.

Use the table below to learn how to know your skin type:

Skin type Characteristics
Normal Well-balanced skin that produces a normal level of sebum
Combination Skin that is oily in some areas and dry in others
Dry Skin that produces less sebum that other skin types
Oily Skin that produces too much sebum

Many people also have sensitive skin, whereby their skin often reacts to skincare products, allergic reactions and external factors such as changes to the weather or sunburn. This may cause symptoms such as redness and hot patches, tightness and itching. Sensitive skin can also be the result of underlying skin conditions such as dermatitis.

Using sensitive skin products is the best way to treat symptoms and avoid flare ups.

Skincare tips for teens

Looking after your skin starts in your teens. It’s a great way to begin practising good habits that will keep your skin healthy and prevent problems later on in life such as premature ageing and adult acne.

An effective skincare routine is the best place to start. Keep it simple by following our top teen skincare tips:

  • Use gentle skincare products. When you first start looking after your skin, you want to make sure you’re not using products that are too harsh or contain strong ingredients. Opt for gentle cleansers that remove dirt, makeup and oil to unclog pores and keep acne at bay.
  • Wear SPF daily. You should wear SPF face protection everyday - even in cloudy weather. This will protect your skin from UV rays that can cause premature ageing and damage.
  • Moisturise twice a day. Your skin needs hydration, but not just from water. Apply face moisturiser after cleansing the skin in the morning and at night to keep it healthy and supple. Look for oil-free moisturisers if you have oily or combination skin.
  • Exfoliate the skin. Exfoliation keeps skin smooth and gives your pores a deep clean. You can use gentle products or homemade scrubs with oats and honey, perfect for sensitive or dry skin. Aim to exfoliate 1-2 times per week.
  • Remove makeup at bed. Leaving makeup on at night can stop your skin from rejuvenating, leading to clogged pores and more spots. Make sure to use a gentle makeup remover before bed to get rid of product, dirt and dead skin cells. And remember to wash makeup brushes and sponges regularly to remove bacteria.
  • Avoid touching your face. We touch multiple surfaces throughout the day, from our phones to public transport - each of which have dirt and bacteria that we don’t want on our face. Wash your hands regularly throughout the day, particularly before doing your makeup.
  • Wash your bedsheets. Even if you wash your face and shower everyday, your bed sheets are still crawling with bacteria. Change your sheets every 7-10 days, particularly pillow cases which touch your face at night.
  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can cause dry, dull skin. Make sure to drink at least 1-2 litres every day.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Food has a role to play in the appearance of your skin. Plenty of vegetables and fruits are the best things to eat to promote glowy skin whilst too much sugar and oily food will cause acne to worsen.

Teenage skin goes through a series of transformations, the majority of which are the result of hormonal surges during puberty. This often causes acne and breakouts which can either be treated with a good skincare regime or acne treatments available online. You can also speak to your doctor to explore prescriptive treatments if your acne is causing you discomfort or low mood.

Discover more about how to treat skin conditions and look after your health at LloydsPharmacy including the best acne treatments and the importance of vitamins for teenagers.