Supporting good skin care habits is crucial to success with teenage acne. Avoid the myths and so-called natural remedies (like rubbing your face with garlic or washing your face with potato juice). Work with a good dermatologist, and always stick to a routine-acne won’t go away overnight.
Here are some skin care tips to encourage your teenager to incorporate into a routine:
Tip #1: Don’t over-wash. Since dirt is not causing your acne, excessive scrubbing and washing won’t make it go away. Try to limit yourself to two washings per day – anything more than that can leave your healthy skin dry, and your acne-prone areas irritated. Habitual over-washing may also stimulate extra oil production, which could result in more breakouts.
Tip #2: Skip harsh scrubs. It’s okay to exfoliate, but be sure to use a gentle formula. Avoid skin care products with almond or apricot shell fragments; they can irritate or even tear your skin and further aggravate your acne.
Tip #3: Say no to alcohol. If you use a toner, avoid skin care products with high concentrations of isopropyl alcohol or common rubbing alcohol. Alcohol strips the top layer of your skin, causing your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. The result? Dry, red skin – and possibly more blemishes.
Tip #4: Don’t squeeze or pick. Squeezing or picking your blemishes – with fingernails, pins or anything else – can cause greater inflammation. You’ll also increase the damage to the surrounding skin, so the blemish is more likely to leave a permanent acne scar.
Tip #5: Hands off! Propionibacterium acnes (the bacteria that causes breakouts) is a normal resident of your skin; it doesn’t lead to acne until it gets trapped inside the hair follicle. Excessive touching of your face, including rubbing or even resting your chin in your hands, can drive bacteria into your pores – where it can begin its dirty work.
Tip #6: Work out, wash off. When you exercise, your movement generates heat, and clothing and equipment cause friction. Until you shower off, heat and moisture are trapped against your skin. So whenever you can, shower immediately after exercising.
Tip #7: Find a regimen and stick with it. There’s a wide range of treatments available, many of them over-the-counter, and there’s a good chance one of them will work for your teen. If you start treatment before your acne gets severe, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding physical and emotional problems down the road. But changes won’t happen overnight. Give any skin care regimen a fighting chance by sticking with it. After sufficient time, if your acne hasn’t improved in a couple of weeks or gets worse, see your dermatologist for medication and additional skin care tips.