October 1, 2013

Are you a parent with teenagers with problem skin?

I have two teenage daughters and teaching them to care for their skin can be a bit of a challenge. 

Teenagers are generally not motivated to spend a great deal of time on skin care, they are waaaay too busy! You know, playing the computer games, talking to friends or just hanging around. 

Yet, I don't know about your kids, but mine are self conscious of their breakouts and acne, and asked me to help them. 

This is the advice I give to parents when they come to see me to help their children with their skin. 

1. Keep it simple 

Kids aren't interested in complicated skin care routines and will soon get bored of it, no matter what the benefits are. Remember too, this is all new to them and if they feel confused or overwhelmed, they will simply give up. Of course I am generalizing here, and I'm sure some are more motivated that others, but as a rule I found parents spending hundreds of dollars on complicated skin care products that just end up sitting in the draws gathering dust. 

I taught my daughters first how to clean their skin correctly and got them into a consistent routine with this before introducing anything else. I choose a gentle cleanser designed to unclog the pores, re-balance excess oil without stripping their delicate skin, treat the infection and inflammation and speed up the healing. 

2. Focus on treating the problem first.

After about 2 weeks being in a good cleansing routine we started to see improvement and they were more motivated to try something else. I got a spot treatment serum and showed them how to apply after cleansing their thin. This serum has ingredients to gently exfoliate, unclog, dry up blemishes, reduce inflammation and speed up healing. They applied it just once a day at night. 

3. When the skin improves: 

Focus on preventative skin care suited for delicate skin.

After 2-3 day of using the serum, the skin cleared up and now was the time to switch them to a preventative / maintenance routine. 

Using acne products when the skin is not breaking out can actually worsen the problem in the long term. Once the oil is re-balanced, if you keep using products that manage excess oil, the skin will just end up drying out. Acne serums are designed to quickly clear acne so are quite potent and should not be used long term. 

Next, I introduced a treatment cream they use at all times, to preserve moisture, and stimulate cellular turnover. It's essentially a moisturizer to care for their skin, preserve the youthful beauty of their skin and keep it healthy and glowing.  

They still get the occasional breakouts and I expect they will continue to do so until their hormones settle down. What is different now however, is that the breakouts are not as pronounced as before and clear much faster, a matter of days, not weeks. 

Acne scarring prevention 

This is our long-term focus, so a good skin care routine is essential now. I have also taught my children to NEVER EVER squeeze their pimples. It may get rid of the pus instantly, but (as one found out when she decided to try to see what happens) if you squeeze, it takes weeks to clear up, as the wound ruptures, becomes raw, and forms a scab. If you're lucky a bruise type scar forms, which takes many months to clear, (if you have an Asian or Mediterranean skin, it will turn to a permanent brown spot) if you're not so lucky, the collagen will not form properly and the tissue will collapse resulting in a permanent dimple type scar. Or too much fibrous tissue will formed resulting in a cyst type scar. The lesson here is to teach your kids to never squeeze. 

A final word on professional treatments. 

When my children's skin break out, I give them a 1/2 hour facial treatment focused on clearing the breakouts quickly. This DOES NOT replace their daily skin care routine, it is designed to boost the results. A facial can give a real boost to the skin and speed up the recovery, but how they care for their skin on a daily basis will give 80% of the results. 

So when your child's skin is actively breaking out, book them in for a professional treatment. Typically it takes only 1/2 hour and cost around AUS$45-$55. The therapist will use appropriate exfoliants and masks to help clear the problem quickly. Please ask the therapist NOT TO extract. I have never felt comfortable squeezing young children's skin. It's painful, old fashioned, can result in scarring and is totally unnecessary if you use good quality products. 

What have your experiences been like trying to help you children look after their skin? 

Do you have any comments you would like to add to this article? Feel free to post your comments below.

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Have a beautiful day!
Jana x

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