Adolescence is a very memorable stage of everyone’s life. It is during this stage where we figure out who we want to become, build our dreams and develop our physical and psychological well-being.
However, with all the demands of school, family and friends, being a teenager is not always a walk-in-the-park. Some go through tough times, dealing with not just the people around them but also dealing with all the changes that happen in their bodies during this stage of life. (1)
You get mood-swings, you get angry and upset all of a sudden, and you seem to be emotional all of the time.
Relax! You are not alone.
What causes all these drama?
Hormones are important substances in our body capable of developing secondary gender characteristics. For females, it helps the formation of breasts, widening of hips, and developing of our reproductive system. For males, it develops the Adam’s apple, deepening of voice, production of bodily hair and development of the male reproductive organ.
Hormone’s role is very complex and affects all that, our mood, and our skin too. (2)
Although it is not true for everyone, teenagers usually suffer from acne. Again, because of all the hormonal changes that is happening, it affects the skin in many different ways. Especially for those who are predisposed to have oily skin, it is usually around this stage that it starts to come about.
What’s the connection?
Hormones can trigger excess oil production that leaves you with not just a shiny forehead, but also with acne. (3) Because of too much oil in the skin, it suffocates the pores, resulting to clogging. When acne-causing bacteria gets involved, it infects the pore and leads to a brand new zit.
Blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples are all types of acne. For more information, you may read the classification of acne here.
What can a Teenager do?
Although we cannot stop the hormones in action during adolescence, there are many different ways to help prevent or deal with acne. It is best to consult a dermatologist to help figure out the best solution fit for your skin-type to solve acne.
It is also important to note that there is no single effective solution to treat acne for all skin types. Acne is usually multi-factorial and the approach to heal it usually focuses on what factors are involved to its formation.
Here are the ways to help control teenage acne:
Wash Your Face Twice Daily
Use a mild facial cleanser twice a day to remove excess oil and dirt. It is recommended to use a cleanser with salicylic acid to help dissolve clogs in pores that may worsen acne. Do not wash your face more than twice a day to prevent stripping of too much oil that will just make your skin more sensitive.
Avoid Water that is Too Hot
Washing with warm water is preferable to help open pores but avoid using water that is too hot. Aside from damaging the skin, it may also cause dryness. Our body will compensate if it thinks there is not enough moisture. The result? It will lead to over production of sebum.
Apply a Light-weight Moisturizer
Moisturizers are made to hydrate our skin however, not all moisturizers are created equal. If you are acne-prone, most likely you have oily skin. Choose gel-based or water-based moisturizers that will not clog the pores. Cream-based moisturizers are usually formulated for people with dry skin. Test out products and choose which is best suited for your skin-type.
Consult a Dermatologist
It is a good idea to visit and discuss acne problems with an expert. Sitting down with a dermatologist will enable you to explore the best possible solution to solve acne problem. You can have a personalized anti-acne skincare regimen and it will be tailored specifically for your skin type.
Start with a Pea
If you have prescribed topical acne medications like retinoids from your dermatologist, do not over apply. Usually, a pea-sized amount is enough to cover the entire face. Do not be too eager to apply more than what you need. You will just end up with a more sensitive, irritated and dry skin.
Say no To Dairy
Milk is the culprit to most unexplained breakouts because cows are given hormones so that they can continuously produce milk for our consumption. Think of breastfeeding. Mothers have milk-producing hormones so they can breastfeed their kids. This is the same with cows. We consume the milk, all with its nutrients and hormones and voila, it interacts with our own body and a new zit is surely on its way. You can make a food diary and take note of what you eat and note of any pimple formation to check if this applies to you.
Safer Way to Deal with Acne
Most people are not fond of applying topical acne medications because it leads to redness, sensitivity or painful, stinging sensation on the skin. Blue Light Therapy is an alternative solution to kill acne-causing bacteria and is a popular in-office treatment. (4) You can invest in your own blue light to get at-home treatments and continuously work your way to banishing those pesky bumps!
Resist the Urge
It is very tempting to pick, squeeze, and scratch pimples away. Especially when you are stressing to get rid of a huge zit, it is oddly satisfying to pop it not knowing that you are making the matter worse. Whatever you do, do not, I repeat, DO NOT PRICK YOUR PIMPLES! You might have secondary infection, you might spread the bacteria and cause more pimples to form, and you are risking of giving yourself an acne scar.
Use Clay to Absorb Excess Oil
Using a clay mask once or twice a week is a fun way to help control oily skin. Depending on the clay mask you are using, you may do a spot treatment to draw out excess oil, dirt and other impurities deeply embedded in the skin.
Patience is a Virtue
Another thing to consider is to have a lot of patience. Do not expect to banish acne overnight. Again, your body is under a lot of stress during puberty so do not add to your own stressor. If you are under acne medication or anti-acne skincare routine, allow time for it to work. Do not just change routine after a few days because whatever you are doing might be just kick-starting. Most anti-acne treatments take about 8-10 weeks before you see its positive results.