Teen Skin Care

By Kim Seidel

Experimenting with mom’s colorful bottles of cleansers, lotions and makeup is a natural part of growing up. I remember admiring the lipsticks and face powders in my own mother’s bathroom cabinet when I was a young girl.

While my 13-year-old daughter has been wearing light makeup for about a year, I remember my surprise when I discovered her proudly sporting my blush and lip gloss.

“It is amazing how fast little girls are growing up; at times, it’s even frightening,” says Mary Jo Rapini, a psychotherapist and co-author of the book, “Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom” (Bayou Publishing, 2008). Telling your 12-year-old daughter she can’t wear makeup until she’s older may only cause her to rebel or to develop feelings of shame associated with it.

“A better approach is to have a heart-to-heart talk,” Rapini says. “To put both of you at ease, go for a walk, or sit in an ice cream shop or wherever the two you can talk without interruptions.”

In addition, you can help your teen to establish her own skin care routine as a healthy foundation for the makeup she wants to wear.

Body changes during puberty bring changes to the skin, says Lynn Weiland, a Mary Kay consultant. About 80 percent of teens get acne, though the severity of the problem varies.

Teens can reduce the number of breakouts by taking care of their skin. This can create excellent lifelong habits too.

The following are the ways teens can care for their skin:

Wash your face twice a day with a cleanser and follow-up with a moisturizer. Teens with oily skin should chose products formulated for that skin type.

After cleansing, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying an over-the-counter lotion containing benzoyl peroxide to decrease oil and bacteria.

Teens can spot treat a pimple with a benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid gel or cream. Apply directly on the blemish and it will dry up faster than ignoring it.

Take a bath or shower every day. Some teens may develop acne on their chest and shoulders. Body sprays with acne treatments are available over-the-counter and can be used after bathing or showering.

Avoid wearing tight clothes if you do have body acne. These don’t allow skin to breathe and may irritate and cause more acne.

Scarves, headbands and caps collect dirt and oil, so make sure those are not worn tightly. Also, wash these items after wearing.

Keep your glasses and sunglasses clean that you wear on your face. In addition, avoid getting hairspray and gels on the face. Keep your hair clean and away from your face.

When shaving, always use a non-oily moisturizing cream.

Always protect your skin with a sunscreen marked with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15. It may seem like tan skin hides acne, but it’s only temporary. A tan may increase acne, rather than improve it. Tanning also causes damage to skin that eventually leads to wrinkles and increases skin cancer risks.

Use a weekly mask and a weekly exfoliator. A mask deep cleans your pores. Look for a clay-like mask, which purifies deep down. An exfoliator removes the top layer of your skin to bring new skin to the surface faster. Be gentle when using the exfoliator and avoid scrubbing, which can cause more acne.

If your skin routine is not bringing the improvements that you want to see in the mirror, you can ask your parent to bring you to the dermatologist. Many prescriptions are available to help teens with skin problems. Dermatologists also offer good advice and tips for skin care.

When purchasing makeup, buy brands marked “non-comedogenic” or “non-acnegenic” on the label. Toss old makeup that smells or looks different from when you first bought it.

Creating a natural look with makeup is most ideal for teens. Eye colors in lilac, pink and honey, and cheek hues in pink and peach enhance natural beauty. Lip glosses in pink, bronze and berry can give girls extra color yet appear natural.

Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water. While there is no evidence that certain foods worsen acne, a balanced diet can improve the overall appearance of the skin.

Before going to sleep for the night, remove all makeup. Another great idea to keep your face fresh is to change your pillow case several times a week.

Kim Seidel is a writer specializing in parenting and health. For more information, visit www.seidelink.com.

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