I remember growing up, looking in the mirror and thinking it looks like mini volcanoes on my head due to all the acne and congestion. If I knew then what I know now I'd have had a lot more control over it as oppose to throwing sudocrem and toothpaste on my skin. Luckily for you, I'm going to give a few tips that I have learnt over the years.
1. Don't over-strip, know your skin type
Most people think when treating acne you have to use products that will reduce the oils in your skin but there are many different causes for acne. It could be from irritation, bacterial or in some cases dietary. As a lot of the information on the internet direct you to target the oils in the skin, you will find recommendations suggesting that you use Salicylic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide - which do help, but they're not for everyone! Firstly know your skin type, are you oily? dry? combination? Is your skin sensitive? Is it dehydrated? Did you know you can still have acne while having dry or dehydrated skin? Also did you know that if you strip your skin too much then it can cause more oil to form which defeats the whole process? Know your skin so you can know how to treat it, you may not need to reduce oils but increase moisture so you don't get inflammation as a result of irritation. The best way to know your skin type is to see a skin specialist, or book a skin consultation with me!
2. Cleanse properly
Cleansing is extremely important and what is even more imperative is that you do it properly. Firstly, starting off with your cleanser - is it the right one for your skin? Is it removing all impurities? Make sure your cleanser is balancing and does not strip your skin. Next thing to make sure is that you are cleansing for long enough. Is 30 seconds long enough? No. Is one cleanse enough? No. I recommend to double cleanse for 60-90 seconds, thoroughly massaging the soap into your skin and rinsing, not with hot or cold water, but lukewarm water. Lastly, it is fine to use your hands. Don't feel like you have to invest in an abrasive tool to cleanse. If you wish to use anything I would probably suggest a muslin cloth.
3. Don't overload your skin with products
Too often we see people packing their skin with so much products and changing them every two weeks if they feel as though they are not working. By finding products with good formulation you can take your routine from 10 steps all the way down to 4. You don't have to do too much to your face because this can affect your skin negatively. Just find a good formulated batch of products, give them time to work and stick with them. Again, see a specialist for the best products orrrr book a skin consultation! (I do online skin consultations that I offer to people across the globe, if you would like help).
4. Exfoliation is key
Acne can tend to be a build up of things that are trapped in the skin, which is why we need exfoliation. We need to remove the top layer of skin to prevent blocking and also cleanse the pores. There are many exfoliators to pick from, popular ones for acne or Salicylic Acid, Mandelic Acid or PHA's. You can even use enzymes for something a little more gentler. But what about scurbs? Like most people, I am not a fan - but I don't blame the scrubs, I blame the people. Because when we cleanse we want to feel like our skin is clean, when people use scrubs they tend to really rub into their skin which is honestly not necessary, the bits will do their jobs if they're gently applied to the skin. So for that I reason, I do tend to recommend chemical exfoliants or enzymes.
5. Protect your skin at all costs
Ending it off with protection. When it comes to acne, you must be protecting your skin in a number of ways:
Cleanse - removing impurities and dirt that will clog the pores
Antioxidants - protect your skin from environmental factors that lead to free radicals as free radicals can cause inflammation
Keep moisturised and protect your skins barrier - so moisture cannot be lost leading to inflammation and also so that acne causing bacteria does not get into the skin
SPF - you know it! Protect your skin from the sun to prevent compromising your skins barrier. The sun can also worsen post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation which is commonly seen after acne.
So there you have it - 5 tips for managing teenage acne. Also do remember that it can be due to hormonal imbalances, and this is a part of you growing up! Be patient with your skin and work with it. :)