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Expert Advice | What can teenagers do about spots

Many teenagers suffer from spots. They can have a major impact on their self- confidence and mental health. Although they are a very difficult skin problem to treat, you can considerably reduce spots with the right skincare.

How can I help my teenager develop a good skincare routine?

Treating spots and pimples is no different for a fifteen year old year old than a fifty year old: age is not a skin type! Unfortunately, however, most skincare products for teenagers contain unnecessary irritants that only lead to an oilier skin and cause even more spots. In addition lots of products contain ingredients that should not be used on such young and delicate skin. Furthermore, teenager are becoming increasingly obsessed with reading online forums and following slightly peculiar advice on how to treat spots. In addition they go online and order all sort of strong acids and put these on their skin which cause even more problems later down the track. Help your teenager to keep their expectations realistic by talking about which skincare products they should and shouldn’t use. Do not forget how vulnerable your teenagers ego is. Skin problems are distressing for anyone at any age, but can be disastrous for a teenager especially with the increasing pressure on social media. It is essential to have a simple yet effective skincare routine. It consists of the following five steps:

Step 1: Use a Mild Cleanser

Wash your face twice a day with a gentle, water soluble cleanser. I would recommend Algologie Purifying Cleansing Gel as it is very natural and simple and wont irritate the skin further. Avoid solid soaps. They dry the skin out too much and can also block the pores.

Step 2: Exfoliate

It has been proven that one cause of spots and blackheads is the accumulation of dead skin cells. They block the pores and can also cause the inside of the pores to become enlarged as the dead skin cells accumulate, which causes the sebum in the pores to build up, leading to spots. The best ways to remove dead skin cells is to exfoliate with a product that contains salicylic acid (BHA) . I would recommend Environ sebulac range of products if acne is quite severe. If not then Algologie exfoliating and purifying powder which contains many natural marine properties that help to detoxify skin and decongest clogged pores.

Step 3: Benzoyl Peroxide

Study after study has shown that benzoyl peroxide kills “Propionibacterium acnes” one of the bacteria that causes acne and spots. It is the most effective over the counter treatment for spots and can be bought at a pharmacy or chemist. You can also try Mesoesetic acne one treatment cream which contains mandelic acid which is a good alternative for people with spots and who are over sensitive to benzoyl peroxide.

Step 4 – Supplements

For teenagers who are over the age of 16, I would strongly recommend speaking to an aesethic practitioner who could prescribe supplements. I recommend my patients over the age of 16 to start on Skin Accumax if they suffer from acne. The unique blend of high- quality active ingredients in these supplement capsules work to clear problematic skin and enhance the complexion. More importantly it helps treat problematic skin without harsh chemicals that cause dryness and flakiness.

Step 5: Protect your skin from sun damage

The skin cannot heal spots if its fighting the daily damage caused by the sun at the same time. A light day SPF of at least 30 accelerates the healing process and protects the skin from further damage. I would recommend Heliocare SPF 50 as its gel consistency is lightweight that it will not clog pores or aggravate the skin as well as offering very good protection too.

Additionally, you can help an oily skin by removing excessive sebum with sebum- absorbing tissues and by using a mild clay mask every so often – I would recommend using the algologie clay mask once a week and get into the habit of getting your teenager doing a mini facial on themselves once a week. In addition it is best to use a lightweight day and night cream which do not block the pores. For mild acne I would recommend Alogologie Hyrdo-Matifying Purifying Gel Cream, for moderate to severe acne I would recommend either the Environ Sebulac Oil and Lotion or alternatively Mesoestetic Acne One Treatment Cream.

Leave your skin alone! Imagine that you have a vet dog collar around your neck all day. Don’t pick at them or squeeze them as that could cause scaring and make your skin look or feel worse than it already does.

Feel free to combine products from different brands to find out what works best for you, as long as the products do not contain any irritating ingredients. Take care with products that make your skin tingle. These products don’t help: they irritate the skin and make the problem worse! I am a strong believer that not one product company is best for everyone – I love working with my clients and it sometimes take a matter of weeks to trial and error different product variations until we have discovered the correct mixture that works for them. That’s why its good to work with a aesethic practitioner who specialises in acne as they can give lots of samples for you to try before you invest.

 I always say to my patients, if you haven’t seen any improvement after six months of using a consistent skincare routine, consider going to a dermatologist for prescribed medication.

 Why do teenagers have problems with spots and blackheads

  1. Overactive hormones – during puberty, the body produces excessive amounts of hormones, especially androgens, which stimulate sebum production. The more oil produced in the pores, the greater the chance they will become blocked and burst open. Propionibacterium acnes bacteria cause infections which in turn create inflamed, swollen spots.
  2. Inadequate facial cleansing. Forgetting to wash your face is not the cause of spots and / or blackheads, but if you don’t wash your face twice a day, dead skin cells, sebum, sunscreen, and makeup can accumulate, which block the pores and worsen your skin problems.
  3. Exposure to irritating ingredients. Alcohol, menthol, camphor, eucalyptus and fragrances (perfumes) can cause inflammation. These stimulate sebum production, increasing the number of spots. So avoid products containing these irritating ingredients.
  4. Using a day and night cream, face mask, foundation or concealer that blocks the pores. Some people use several layers of makeup containing ingredients that block the pores, such as a concealer and other moisturising cream- based products.
  5. Erratic skincare routine. The secret to nicer skin is stick to a consistent , effective skincare routine. Although it is impossible to cure acne, you can keep spots under control by using the right products. Convince you teenager that consistent skincare and patience are vital.
  6. Hair care products. Gel, mousse, hair oil or hairspray can cause spots if they come into contact with the skin. Keep your hair off your face and use fewer or different hairstyling products.

There are all kinds of myths about spots and pimples. Despite what people often say, you can’t scrub away small spots or get rid of them by sunbathing. They are not contagious.

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