We’ve all heard “Mom knows best”. I did not know how much to appreciate my mom’s skin routine lessons to me as a teenager until now. Good skin care habits are not something that is taught in school, so many teenagers have no idea what a basic skincare routine is let alone how to address particular conditions. Here I will cover the do’s, the don’ts and the most important steps in healthy skin.
Skin is our largest organ. Whatever is going on internally will most likely be showing up on your face. Hormones, stress, diet and sleep patterns all play a major role but a good skin care routine is critical to having healthy skin that looks and feels great.
Step 1: Cleansing
Find a cleanser that is best for your skin type. A trained professional like an esthetician or dermatologist can help determine this if there are doubts or questions. I recommend cleansers vs soaps. True soaps can strip the skin of its surface natural barrier due to the high pH levels where the skin has a more neutral surface. Cleansers are more neutral, therefore much less irritating.
Washing both AM and PM is a great habit to get into BUT if I had to pick my battles, night time cleansing is much more important. Getting rid of the day’s sweat, dirt, makeup, environmental pollutants before our head hits the pillow is a MUST for clear skin. Also, changing that pillow case and cleaning makeup applicators weekly helps in the battle for flawless skin.
Extra Cleansing is necessary if there are athletics involved. Facial wipes can be helpful to wipe down the inside of helmets and shoulder pads. They are also a great quick way to wipe away sweat and dirt while closing the pores that have been open due to the heating of the body. It is important to make sure they are facial wipes and not conventional wipes that contain preservatives and fragrances that can sting and irritate the skin.
Step 2: Moisturize
The idea that those with oily skin don’t need a moisturizer is a big fat FALSE! Oily or acne prone skin needs a light oil-free moisturizer that is most important to put on in the AM. It helps retain water in your skin. If there is no water or moisture on the surface of your face your oil glands actually go into overdrive thinking they aren’t making enough oil and there lies the problem of breakouts and a shiny T-zone (draw a”T” down the center of your face and that’s where the most active oil glands are). Drinking water is a great way to hydrate your skin. So is eating foods with high water density like celery, cucumbers and watermelon.
Step 3: Exfoliation
Teens really should step away from grainy scrubs. Too much scrubbing can cause pre-existing pimples to erupt, spreading their bacteria all over the face. Over exfoliating can also strip the skin of its neutral, natural pH barrier, causing those oil glands to go into overdrive. That’s when you end up with dry flaky irritated surface skin AND breakouts from oil overdrive. Having a 2%
salicylic acid in a cleanser or toner is a great light daily exfoliant for oily skin. For those teens
with normal, dry or combo skin types… a weekly enzyme exfoliating mask is best for you. I love Pure Enzymes by CosMedix, a cranberry enzyme that eats away all the dead skin while putting in antioxidants to protect the skin from future free radicals. You paint a dime size amount on freshly cleansed skin. The enzymes stop working once their job is done so no need to worry about setting a timer, but about 15 minutes is all it takes. Getting rid of pore clogging dead skin is important to keep a healthy active cell turn over rate.
Step 4: Masks & Serums
A custom treatment product is a great way to really target areas of concern like zoning in on acne, scars from past blemishes or dry flaky skin. We all have different skin so we all need our own added boosters for help. The cardinal rule for EVERYONE is NEVER PICK AT YOUR FACE. If a white head is ruining your day the correct way to “pop” it is to apply a warm compress for 1 minute then apply pressure with 2 Q-tips using a downward then roll up method. Never squeeze with fingers or pick with finger nails. That is a guaranteed way to scar your face and have that white head invite a few more friends over the next day. Serums are a consistent product you can apply after washing but before moisturizing. Masks should be worn about once a week. Ask your skincare expert what products are right for you.
Last but definitely not Least… Step 5: SPF
Prevention Prevention Prevention!!!!!!! Yes, for vanity reasons using sunscreen at an early age will help prevent wrinkles, age spots and saggy skin. But it will also aid the next generations in reducing their chance of skin cancer. Sunscreen should be no lower than SPF 15 but it is more important to reapply it than the number. Sweating, being in the water or just swiping your face with your arm can physically remove your sunblock. If there is nothing there to “block” those harmful UVA/UVB rays then your skin is at risk for damage. REMEMBER: we get sun damage through house and car windows, on sunny days and cloudy days. So please reapply your SPF. One of my favorites is Invincible Setting powder SPF45 by Supergoop. It’s 100% mineral & sweat resistant. It comes in a translucent powder puff brush that is easy to dust on through the day without messing up makeup or clogging pores.
It seems like a lot of steps but trust me, you’ll thank me later 😉