I’ve seen a lot of teens lately for their routine checkups, and skin care is always part of our discussion. If you have adolescents, you know how self-conscious they can be when it comes to their skin.
Some teens are just blessed with good skin, and when you ask them what they do to maintain their skin, their usual reply is “nothing.” Of course, that’s not the norm. Adolescence is the prime time for acne, and whether the breakouts are mild or persistent, good skin care is key for everyone.
The first thing every adolescent needs to do is to wash his or her face twice a day. Don’t bother with “fancy” skin potions or lotions; the drugstore has more than enough choices to begin a good cleansing program.
Using a mild soap-free cleanser may be enough to begin with, something like Purpose, Basis, Aquanil or Neutrogena. If the skin is more oily and acne prone, try a cleanser that contains glycolic or salicylic acid, products like Neutrogena Acne wash, or Clean and Clear (read labels to check the ingredients). These provide gentle exfoliation of the skin surface. Wash with a soft cloth, but don’t scrub or buff; just wash.
After washing your face in the morning, always apply a gentle non-comedogenic moisturizer with sunscreen. This will not cause acne, but will prevent the sun damage we all experience daily. Note: This is not the same as applying sunscreen for a day at the beach or lake. I like Oil of Olay complete, or Neutrogena but there are many other products out there, so find your favorite.
At bedtime, after washing your face, if your skin seems to be breaking out begin using a 5 percent benzoyl peroxide lotion – you only need a dime-size amount for the whole face – applied after your face has completely dried from the washing. If the lotion is applied to a wet or damp face it may cause redness. Benzoyl peroxide products come in several strengths and may be titrated up in strength as tolerated.
If this regimen is not working well, it’s probably time for a visit to the doctor to discuss some prescription products.
Submit questions to Dr. Sue Hubbard at kidsdr.com.