Being a teenager is hard. Being a teenager with acne is harder. I know, because I was that teenager. Even as a pre-teen, I had acne. Not just a few little pimples here and there. I had a face full of inflamed and painful acne. I tried to conceal it with makeup, but that didn’t work and seemed to make it worse.
My mom took me to the Dermatologist who gave me a cream to use and it literally made my face so dry that my skin would peel. This Dermatologist also told me, a teenager, to get in the tanning bed and that would help to clear it up. First off, looking back at that now, I’m shocked that a Dermatologist would say this knowing the risks of skin cancer and sun damage.
My skin is and has always been very fair. I literally burn, peel and then my skin is back to its very fair color again. So thank goodness my mom didn’t allow me to take that advice from a Dermatologist. I didn’t know anything about an Esthetician. And just did what most teenagers with acne do, which is think I had oily skin so I combat that with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic products. My skin seriously hated me! It was a hot mess! My skin was red, irritated and dry! What am I supposed to do with dry skin AND acne?!?!
I remember being extremely self conscious about my skin. One time in particular a boy in my class called me pizza face. Growing up with 2 older brothers and 1 older sister, I’m sure I told him to shut up and mind his own business, but it bothered me that he said that. It hurt my feelings that someone would say something so cruel to someone for something that they couldn’t control. A few years later, that same boy asked me out! Hahahaha!! I turned him down! But now looking back, maybe that boy sparked the path that led me to becoming an Esthetician and being able to help teenagers with their skin. I won’t mention his name, but thank you “boy”, for your rude comment!
So when a teenager comes and sits with me to talk about their skin, I can truly empathize with them. I feel their hurt. I feel their shame. I’ve been in their shoes. I truly want to educate them on their skin.
So let’s talk about teenage skin and what exactly is happening during this hard time of our teen lives! So as hormonal levels rise in teens, the skin reacts. Hormones stimulate your skin’s oil glands. This promotes an excess of oil or sebum. This excess sebum causes pores to get clogged and makes a perfect bacteria filled environment for pimples to brew.
Acne varies from one teen to another. For example, one teen could have large pores and oily skin, which is the main reason for the breakouts. Another teen could have dry skin and breakouts, which we call “dry acne”. (This was the type of acne that I had) These two very different types of acne call for two very different types of products and treatments. Not all acne means oily skin!
If you do have oily skin then here is some things that you need to use in order to control the oil and help the breakouts:
Wash your face twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night. Having two different cleansers will be most beneficial. The morning cleanser being a gentle cleanser and the night cleanser being a cleanser that has salicylic acid in it.
A hydration toner with witch hazel can be used after cleansing. This will help to kill bacteria on the skin and allow for better product penetration.
A light moisturizer to be used twice a day. This will be great for adding moisture back to the skin without being too heavy or too much for your oily skin. (Yes, even though you have oily skin you still need a moisturizer) (We will talk why on this a little later)
And last but definitely not least is a sunscreen to be worn daily. An SPF of 30 or more is recommended. Make sure it’s not a sunscreen that will clog your pores (non-comedogenic) and that it is not loaded with harsh chemicals.
Dry acne is very hard to combat. Your skin is dry but yet you are breaking out. It seems like nothing you do is right and your skin just can’t seem to get balanced out. Here are some tips to help combat your frustrating skin!
You still need to cleanse your skin twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night. A gentle but hydrating cleanser will be your best friend. This will help to calm the skin and give your skin the moisture that it needs.
A hydration toner with witch hazel will help to kill bacteria on your skin and put moisture back in it.
A hydrating moisturizer will be beneficial to wear every morning and evening. If you find it to be too heavy, then switch to a moisturizer that is for combination skin. This will help to control the oil and give moisture to the dry areas.
And never forget your sunscreen of SPF 30 or more daily!
Okay, so now that we’ve gone over the products that will benefit your skin type. Let’s talk about WHY does oily skin needs a moisturizer and WHY can dry skin still have acne!
Everyone’s skin needs to ideally have a PH level of 5.5. On the scale, a PH level of 7 is considered neutral and the lower numbers are acidic and higher numbers up to 14 are alkaline. So healthy skin is slightly acidic.
Oily skin needs a light weight moisturizer because the oil that you have on your skin is the “bad” oil. It’s the sebum that causes acne to form and pores to clog. If your skin is excessively oily and causing breakouts to happen then your skin is too acidic. The PH of your skin has fallen below that 5.5 ideal PH level. So by helping to balance out that PH level and get you to that ideal 5.5 level, then it is important to follow the steps provided for your skin care routine.
Dry skin will still breakout when your PH level has raised above that ideal 5.5 level. So your skin is more alkaline. The skin needs moisture and is begging for it. So if you aren’t giving it the correct products then your skin will start to produce its own oil, which again is the “bad” oil, the sebum that causes breakouts and clogged pores. This is why it is so important to follow the skin care plan and stick with it. Your skin will be much happier, you will be much happier and the PH level of your skin will be balanced.
I know how hard it is to keep up with a great skin care routine, but once you get in the habit of doing it and once you find the products that work for your skin then you will see that changes in your skin. Being a teenager is hard. Your skin doesn’t have to make it harder.