Skincare For Teens: From Oily to Normal Skin Types
Skincare habits for your teen that will have benefits to last a lifetime.
Sometime over the summer between the 7th and 8th grade, I decided it was time to get busy on a skincare/beauty routine. I didn’t have much guidance in this new endeavor – my mother wasn’t a product junkie by any means, in fact, I don’t remember her having any products at all – maybe a jar of Ponds cold cream? Yeah, I was not destined to be that girl. I loved the idea of all kinds of bottle and jars and potions and lotions. I couldn’t wait to start rubbing white gunk all over my face and then splash it with water all slo-mo style like I saw in the commercials.
The commercials that had the biggest influence on me were the Noxzema Skin Cream spots. I had seen those commercial for as long as I can remember – an endless parade of pretty, pore-less ladies laughing, working out, ironing (!), while a voice-over told you how much regular soap sucked compared to Noxzema, which promised to “deep clean” and leave your skin “soft” and moisturized and here’s the kicker – it was medicated. All that medicine-y goodness actually made it tingle! That summer, I marched myself into the drug store, got the biggest jar of Noxzema they had, along with a blue Maybelline eye shadow palette and a tube of Dial-A-Lash mascara. You couldn’t tell me nothing. Not even after the Noxzema made my eyes burn and there continued to be a serious lack of evidence that my fairly normal skin required a “deep clean.” I continued down this path until high school, when I discovered the Buf Puf; I then proceeded to scrub myself silly for another few years, until, finally, I knew better.
Things are, of course, different now. I look at the wealth of information available to young girls today on how to care for their skin and I am frankly amazed. There are blogs and vlogs, YouTube channels with tutorials and product reviews, instagram pages and a handful of lifestyle magazines targeted to teens that offer advice and product recommendations on beauty and skincare. So much information can be overwhelming – the problem isn’t a lack of information out there – it’s that there is so much. And at this tender age, proper skincare is not only about what to do but what not to do, to maintain healthy, balanced skin. So where to begin?
Healthy Skin starts from the Inside Out
First, the foundation of any healthy skincare routine starts with a healthy diet that includes, leafy green vegetables, fresh fruit, proteins and healthy fats found in walnuts, salmon, flax seed and avocadoes. Drink plenty of water (about 8 glasses a day) and limit excess sugar found in soda, fruit juice, candy and processed foods.
Know Your Skin Type
As mentioned above, the beginning of my skincare journey consisted of using products that were totally wrong for my skin. Because so many products targeted to teens promise to banish blemishes and deep clean, those are the ones I gravitated to. However, using the wrong products can wreak havoc on your skin. For instance, trying to ‘dry out’ the skin to control acne will, in fact, produce more oil, making acne feel painful and become even worse. Using products formulated for oily/acne-prone skin can make dry skin dull and flaky. If you have any doubts about your skin type, see a qualified skin care therapist or Esthetician who can assess your skin and recommend products and/or services tailored especially for your specific needs. At Joanna Vargas Salon, you can trust that all of the products used in treatments and available for retail are gentle but effective and free of any petrochemicals and harsh ingredients.
The following is a ‘cheat sheet’ on skin types and how best to care for them:
Normal skin has an even, smooth skin tone, soft texture and no visible flaky patches. Pores are barely visible and the skin surface is neither greasy nor dry. Although normal skin is not ‘acne-prone’, hormonal changes, and clogged pores due to pollution, dirt and sweat can still cause congested skin and pimples. It is important to wash with a mild, sulfate-free cleanser morning and night, even when the skin doesn’t seem ‘dirty.’ Follow with a lightweight, alcohol-free moisturizer.
Dry skin is dull, rough, scaly and itchy with almost invisible pores. Limit hot showers, high temperatures and low humidity (i.e. avoid sleeping with the heater on all night, use extra blankets instead and try a humidifier in the room). Wash with a mild sulfate-free cleanser morning and night, pat the skin dry (don’t rub), follow immediately with a fragrance-free, alcohol-free moisturizer for the face, as well as, an alcohol-free lotion or oil, such as coconut or sweet-almond, for the body.
Oily skin is acne-prone skin with open pores and a shiny complexion. Blackheads and pimples may also be present. Wash 2 or 3 times a day with a deep cleaning soap or cleanser such as the Joanna Vargas Miracle Bar, $22.00, however shop for it at Amazon and get it for 20% off with this code EAXS6JN7. This offer will not last so hurry. Juice Beauty also has a range of products aimed at treating breakouts, and the over production of oil without harsh chemicals, to keep skin healthy and is benzoyl peroxide free (juicebeauty.com) You may also want to use oil blotting sheets during the day to control excess oil, like the Dinoplatz Blotting Paper, $8.00, Sephora.com, that comes packaged in an adorable carrying case that you can easily tuck into a backpack. After cleansing, use a gentle toner to close pores, remove any lingering traces of trapped dirt or oil and maintain the skin’s PH balance. The Burt’s Bees Rose Water Toner, $11.00, burtsbees.com, is mildly astringent, with anti-bacterial properties and smells yummy. If you are experiencing serious breakouts and/or have excessive congestion (blackheads), seek the help of a professional skin care therapist to perform extractions (removal of blackheads or clogged pores) and deep clean pores with a deep cleaning facial like the Purifying Facial offered at Joanna Vargas Salon.
You may have an oily “T-Zone” (forehead, nose and chin) and normal or dry skin elsewhere. The Joanna Vargas Miracle Bar is a great choice for combination skin, followed by a toner and moisturizer and you can also use the bar on your body. Whoo hoo!
Make sure to change your washcloth every day, and always use a different washcloth for the face vs. the body.
The use of hair gel, creams, curl definers, etc. can cause acne around your hairline after sweating and/or if you have an oily scalp. Make sure to rinse your hair often to remove product buildup (you don’t necessarily need to wash with shampoo daily, unless you have very oily hair/scalp, as this can dry out your hair). If you’re experiencing breakouts only in this area, try eliminating hair products one at a time; you may be having an allergic reaction. Always make sure to extend your cleanser to your hairline and neck.
Rosewater Toner is suitable for all skin types and can prepare your skin and maximum the results of your moisturizer.
Change your pillowcase and sheets at least every three days, particularly if you have oily skin.
Never pop or squeeze a pimple, which can make the breakout worse, cause inflammation and may even cause scarring. If you have the occasional eruption caused by hormone fluctuations (around your period, you may notice breakouts around the mouth and jawline), stress, or just not practicing good skincare habits, a spot treatment like Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, $17.00, Ulta.com is a much better option. And of course, if the flare-up is more serious, seek the help of a skin care professional.
Apply a chemical-free, paraben-free broad-spectrum sunscreen every day, year-round, not just in the summer. The MD SolarSciences Mineral Crème SPF 50, $30.00, mdsolarsciences.com, is lightweight, water resistant and is suitable for all skin types.
Your sixty year-old self is going to thank you.