The teenage years are a series of constant changes both physically and physiologically and your skin is a big part of that. The fluctuation of hormones, lifestyle choices and environmental factors can all impact the skin's appearance and general health.
Fortunately, there are strategies that can help you maintain good skin health during these years. Here's a guide to help you.
Understanding Teenage Skin
Teenage skin often faces challenges like increased oil production, acne, sensitivity and uneven complexion. These changes are mainly due to hormonal fluctuations, diet, stress and other factors specific to adolescence.
It also depends on your genes and unfortunately you have no control over this element. If your parents had issues with their skin during their teenage years then you may well have similar issues.
Tips for Maintaining Good Skin Health
1. Develop a Skincare / Washing Routine
With school, personal and social life becoming so busy it’s important to wash. If you can only manage once a day, that’s fine, I’d suggest washing at the end of the day, not in the morning.
This is because of what our daily lives consist of, sweating, shedding of hair and skin, the surfaces our hands touch and environmental dirt are just a few things that need cleansing each evening. Going to bed with clean skin and hair means bedlinen stays fresher for longer, helping the body stay fresher.
I also recommend using a roll on deodorant each evening, it can save time in the morning and getting to school without deodorant can cause unnecessary worry.
- Cleansing: Use a gentle cleanser suitable for your skin type, if you don’t like the feeling of one product, keep trying until you find a formulation that you are happy with.
- Moisturise: Apply a moisturiser to keep skin hydrated, this is an absolutely essential step. If your skin’s oil function has been disrupted (it’s what happens when washing) the skin needs to be rebalanced and a moisturiser does this effectively. If you have oily skin try using a formulation without oil.
- Sun Protection: Protect your skin from potentially harmful UV rays especially on sunny days.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
- This is difficult, I know, but try to eat at least some fruit and vegetables every day.
- Do your best to keep energy drinks to an absolute minimum.
- Limit processed foods, sugars, and dairy if they seem to trigger breakouts.
3. Stay Hydrated
- Drink water, it really does help to keep your skin hydrated as well as keeping your body functioning normally.
4. Exercise Regularly
- Physical activity promotes circulation, helps reduce stress and some studies have shown that it can lead to a healthier complexion. Basically it’s very good for your all round physical and mental health.
5. Avoid Touching Your Face
- This is virtually impossible but if you do get regular breakouts then try to keep your hands off your face as it will help to minimise the spread of bacteria and irritation.
6. Give it a Rest
- If you wear makeup, give your skin a break now and again.
7. Avoid Scrubbing
- Gentle exfoliation is beneficial but aggressive scrubbing can irritate the skin. Use a soft cloth or flannel.
8. Manage Stress
- Much easier said than done. Relaxing activities like meditation, (basically breathing and sitting still) spending time with friends, or doing the things that you find stimulating can all help to reduce your stress levels.
9. Stop Vaping / Smoking and Alcohol Consumption
- Both can have negative impacts on your skin and overall health but you already know that.
10. See a Dermatologist if Required
- If you experience persistent skin issues or it's just getting you down, then seek advice and treatment from either your GP or find a Dermatologist.
11. Special Considerations for Acne Prone Skin
- Consider using products containing salicylic acid, Chlorella Vulgaris or Lactic acid.
- Avoid popping or picking at spots to reduce the risk of scarring.
Having good skin as a teenager may seem like it’s a bit hit and miss but with a consistent approach and an understanding of what your skin needs, it is achievable.
Patience and perseverance are the crucial parts of achieving this goal. Positive changes might take time to appear, however, adopting these tips is a great start and don't be afraid to seek professional help if needed.
One Last Bit of Advice
Be wary of ‘miracle’ products and '30 day money back' offers - the skin’s natural turnover is a c.28 day cycle so it would probably improve anyway and miracles are like unicorns, lovely to believe in but fantasy nonetheless.
If there was a miracle cosmetic product that ‘cured’ acne or could ‘regrow’ hair there wouldn’t be any people with acne and baldness would be a thing of the past. Don't fall for the marketing.