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Treating teenage skin

As I struggled with my skin as a teenager and a young adult, I would of loved someone to have educated me on how to look after my skin and this is perhaps what I would of told myself if I had the knowledge I have today.

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Dear Teen,

Your skin is going through huge changes, in fact, some of the biggest changes you will experience are happening now. Not until you are in your 50’s will you see as many changes and this is because of the same thing in both age groups; HORMONES!

Hormones are chemicals that send messages to cells. During adolescence, there are a few hormones that will influence the skin, one of them; Testosterone, may have an impact on oil producing glands. This then stimulates a thicker sebum and more of it, which can increase the risk of follicle blockages called comedones; commonly known as ‘blackheads’.

Inflammation can occur and along with the production of pus, giving us pustules, commonly known as ‘pimples’ may occur.

So what is the best way to treat this?

Well, aggressively washing the skin and picking pimples is not the answer, in fact, it can make the problem worse.

As teenage acne is usually hormonal, it is difficult to treat this from a topical point, however, understanding the correct products to help treat breakout or acne is beneficial to reduce scarring and spreading.

The following is the procedure I would suggest for anyone in the age group of 13-19 with or without acne:


  • Cleanse with a mild milky cleanser. This will not strip the oil from the skin. As much as you may want to remove all of your skin oil, this is not going to help your skin as oil is important for the skin to function as a healthy organ.
  • Moisturise with a light-based Antioxidant Moisturiser. Antioxidants reduce damage caused by radical oxygen species (ROS) or Free Radicals. This damage is accelerated by excessive sun exposure, poor diet, and smoking.
    Sun Protection with a broad spectrum, zinc-based sun screen no matter what type of day it is. It has been noted that an overcast day can cause more damage due to the concentration of UV rays under the cloud. For girls, a tinted sunscreen may be preferred.
  • Specialised Serum may be added under your moisturiser. Purchase a Vitamin B3 serum (Niacinamide) as this helps with boosting the skins immunity and also impacts oil production.


  • Cleanse with the same cleanser you used in the morning, but this time do it twice to remove pollutants, excess perspiration and oil,makeup and sunscreen.
  • Clarify the skin if you suffer with breakouts with a toner or lotion that contains Salicylic Acid (BHA). If you haven’t used product with this ingredient before, perhaps do a patch test as it is a derivative of the same ingredient that makes Aspirin so if you know you are allergic then please do not use. Salicylic is great as it dissolves the oil plugs trapped in the follicles. An alternative if you are allergic to salicylic acid would be Lactic acid. This won’t dissolve the oil plugs but will help with opening the follicle to help with removing blackheads. in low concentrations, this is fine to use every night, if you skin feel tight and irritated, use only three times a week.
  • Moisturise with either the Antioxidant Moisturiser you used in the morning or a Vitamin A based Moisturiser. Your Skin Care Therapist will be able to prescribe the correct dosage for you. Vitamin A is excellent in treating any acne by having an effect on sebum production. This is one ingredient you will use for the rest of your life as it is essential for a healthy skin.
  • Spot Treatments may be used on breakouts. Most contain ingredients that are anti bacterial so not necessary to put all over the face.

Love who YOU are. You are unique, you are special and you deserve to be happy so do something everyday that involves a smile. A positive attitude may be something you need to work on, but if you start now, you will be a better adult with a happier outlook on life.

I hope this helps you with starting out on a skin care regime. Remember, it takes 21 days (approx) to make a habit so give your self some time to gather momentum, it will be something you will thank yourself for when you are older! I also suggest you find a Skin Care Therapist that can start you on clinic treatment every month – six weeks. Clinic treatments for this age group focus on deep cleansing and extracting any blackheads to eliminate pimples and scarring.

If you are interested to learn more about skin you can follow Donna’s personal blog My Skin Coach

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