Nobody ever said being a teenager would be easy. There’s a lot going on physically, mentally and emotionally during the teen years. To compound all the other changes you are experiencing, just when you thought nothing else could go wrong, your skin takes a turn for the worse. And you are not alone. Acne is so common among teens (almost 8 in 10 have acne breakouts) that you would be in slim company if you made it through the teen years without it rearing its ugly head at least once or twice.
Teens get acne because of the hormonal changes that come with puberty. Hormonal surges lead to enlargement of the oil glands making teen skin oilier and creating large pores that become clogged and erupt into pimples without the proper care. Sometimes it may feel like your skin is impossible to manage, but the good news is that there are ways to prevent and treat common skin problems.
Here are some tips to help prevent breakouts and clear them up as fast as possible:
Wash your face twice a day with warm water and a mild soap made for people with acne. Gently massage your face with circular motions. Don’t scrub. Overwashing and scrubbing can cause skin to become irritated. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends after cleansing you apply an over-the-counter lotion containing benzoyl peroxide.
If you wear glasses or sunglasses, make sure you clean them frequently to prevent them from transferring dirt and bacteria and keep oil from clogging the pores around your eyes and nose.
Keep hair clean and out of your face to prevent additional dirt and oil from clogging your pores.
Don’t squeeze or pop pimples. Doing so can push infected material further into the skin, leading to more swelling and redness, and even scarring. If you notice a pimple in the making before a big event, like the prom, a dermatologist can often treat it for you with less risk of scarring or infection.
If you wear scarves, headbands, and caps, make sure to keep them clean because they can collect dirt and oil, too.
If you use hair sprays or gels, try to keep them away from your face, as they also can clog pores. If you have long hair that touches your face, be sure to wash it often enough to keep oil away.
Avoid touching your face with your fingers or with objects that can collect dirt and germs like your phone. Touching your face can spread the bacteria that cause pores to become inflamed and irritated. Always wash your hands before applying anything to your face, such as treatment creams, makeup or sunscreen.
Remove your makeup before you go to sleep. When buying makeup, make sure you choose brands that say “noncomedogenic” or “nonacnegenic” on the label. This means it won’t clog your pores and contribute to acne. Never use anyone else’s makeup, especially eye and lip products, and don’t share makeup brushes, sponges and other makeup applicators.
Wear sunscreen when you are going to be outside. It may not seem possible now, but someday, you won’t be worrying about pimples. Protecting your skin now can prevent wrinkles and the potential for developing skin cancer later in life.
If you’re concerned about acne, talk to a dermatologist. Dermatologists offer a range of treatments that help to clear up breakouts and prevent scarring. A dermatologist can help you find the treatment method that’s best for you and can also give you lots of useful tips for dealing with acne and caring for your specific skin type.