at some point). Even if acne is mild, learning to take care of your skin during puberty will set you up with healthy skincare habits to last a lifetime. If acne becomes more severe, treating it early on can prevent potentially permanent scarring as well as unnecessary emotional distress. Keep reading for my expert tips on managing teenage acne at any age.
Teenage Acne Vs. Adult Acne While the breakouts that occur in your teens aren’t inherently different from breakouts you might experience as an adult, teens may need different factors to control their breakouts. Teenage acne is most often caused by an overproduction of oil brought on by hormones. Androgens, a group of sex hormones that can cause oil glands to become overactive, increase in both girls and boys during puberty. This means that keeping skin clear and managing acne in your teens should focus on proper cleansing and oil control.
While teenage acne can be frustrating, the good news is that teen skin is more resilient than adult skin. It has a higher rate of skin cell turnover and heals more rapidly. The fact that teens produce more oil than adults helps keep their skin’s natural barrier protected, making them less prone to irritation.
managing teenage acne should focus on proper cleansing and oil reduction. That said, younger, pre-teen skin should be handled somewhat differently than teenage skin on the older end of the spectrum.
I’ve broken down the best products and routines for managing teenage acne by age group.
Note: Due to the nature of their hormones, boys often experience a more severe onset of teen acne than girls. That said, boys are also more likely to recover from their acne during their teens whereas girls are more likely to carry their acne into adulthood. (No fun, girls!)
Acne at Ages 11-14 The first signs of acne often start to appear with the onset of puberty, which typically happens between the ages of eleven and fourteen (or even earlier for some).
These first signs of acne usually manifest as congestion, meaning clogged pores (little bumps under the skin) and blackheads in the t-zone. Since acne is usually still mild at this stage, it’s a good time to get on top of it.
The challenge with this age group is that the skin is still very young and often resembles childhood skin more than adolescent skin.
This means it needs to be treated gently without the use of overly harsh or active ingredients.
My best advice for this age group is to establish a simple, consistent skincare routine and stick to it. Not only will this help keep acne under control, but it will also establish healthy skincare habits that will serve you for life.
CLEANSER The ideal cleanser for someone in this age group would be something gentle and free of SLS (a harsh sulfate that can dry out the skin), synthetic fragrance, or drying alcohols.
I recommend either IS CLINICAL CLEANSING COMPLEX or MBR ENZYME CLEANSING BOOSTER.
Be sure to cleanse both morning + evening as well as after sports or activities that make you sweat a lot.
Toner Using a hydrating, alcohol-free toner with soothing properties after cleansing is a great way to make sure any remnants of cleanser are removed to keep pores clean. My favorite for acne is IS CLINICAL’S COPPER FIRMING MIST or FURTUNA’S MICELLAR ESSENSE.
Moisturizer Get in the habit of using two moisturizers: one without sunscreen for nighttime and one with sunscreen for daytime. It’s thought that 80 percent of a person’s sun exposure occurs before the age of eighteen, so if you can lock this habit down early on, your skin will be thanking you for years to come!
I recommend IS CLINICAL’S HYDRA-COOL SERUM. A lightweight hyaluronic moisture for nighttime and ODACITÉ SPF 50 MINERAL DROPS ( tinted or sheer) for daytime.
Manual Scrub If you’re seeing a lot of congestion, you can introduce gentle, physical exfoliation a few times a week , using Furtuna’s new Triple Active Exfoliator.
Acne at Ages 15-19 Around age fifteen is when acne often starts to become more severe in teens. This is also when sebaceous glands are kicked into overdrive, so you really want to start focusing on products that help with oil reduction. This is also the age at which I typically start to recommend chemical exfoliation. Like an in office treatment peel or at home: Is Clinical’s ACTIVE SERUM or ACTIVE PEEL SYSTEM, or PCA INTENSIVE CLARITY RETINOL.
*Always Wash Your Face After Exercising *Change Your Pillowcases often. *incorporate a healthy diet, with lots of greens
I also highly recommend professional facial treatments bi-weekly during this stage. getting deep into the pores without causing damage is my absolute specialty...and a crucial step in clearing and turing over the skin.