For teens and twenty-somethings your skin is naturally gorgeous, and is what the rest of us try to recapture. You don’t need to do much to look beautiful-lucky you! Aside from treating acne or another skin condition you may have, your mission is more about what NOT to do!
Words of Advice
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
“It is better to treat at the beginning than at the end.”
“Anything you do to abuse yourself during your youth, you will pay for after 40.”
These sayings are so true when it comes to skincare. Many surface skin issues are preventable if you develop good habits during your teens and 20s. Some traumas you inflict on your skin during these years may be impossible to fully reverse and may require an inordinate amount of effort to improve later.
Some patients think the doctor can put an egg back in its shell… but we cannot.
Dr. Mama Sabetta’s Recommendations
- Absolutely no tanning beds, not EVER.
- No sunburns.
- Don’t sunbathe. Try to minimize your sun exposure.
Practice safe sun… You will get a bit of color nonetheless, and your skin will thank you:
- Wear hat and sunglasses and cover up with clothing or sun protective clothing, seek the shade.
- Apply daily sunscreen (at least spf 15 in winter and at least spf 30 in summer), when outdoors reapply your sunscreen at least every 2 hours.
- Use self-tanning lotion that you apply yourself at home (rather than spray on) when you feel you “need” some color.
Common Sense Hygiene
- Cleanse your face twice daily: in the morning and on arriving home after school, sports, work or at bedtime.
- Do so utilizing a clean washcloth and warm water.
- Prior to your afternoon/evening face washing, gently remove your sunscreen or makeup.
- Use products that are made for your skin type (oily vs. dry vs. normal vs. combination skin). For example, if you have oily skin, use a cleanser designed for this, such as a Benzoyl Peroxide cleanser. Many teens enjoy the Say Yes to Tomatoes line for their acne prone skin.
- Be prepared to adjust your product lineup depending on the season. For example, if you usually have oily skin, you may want to switch to a product for normal skin in the winter such as a foaming or invigorating cleanser.
- Use a moisturizer only if needed for dryness. Overuse of moisturizer can promote clogged pores and zits.
- Keep track of your moles. Look at them monthly.
- If you suspect a change, especially concerning changes including a new, growing, dark colored or bleeding lesion, see your Dermatologist ASAP. Melanoma does occur in young adults.
Acne, pimples and zits are a chronic recurrent condition. Acne cannot be cured; there is no magic bullet. It cannot be eradicated 100%, but acne can be managed and controlled until you outgrow it. If you consider zits a problem, see a Board Certified Dermatologist and expect to follow-up at least 4 times a year for best results. A common reason for treatment failure in teens is compliance. Teens are often inconsistent with using their prescribed products. Hey, they are kids!
What works for continued compliance and therefore results? Seeing the Dermatologist!
What doesn’t work? Nagging by parents. In fact, it has the reverse effect. When parents harass their kids to use their acne products, the kids use them even less.
Acne Treatment Guidelines
For mild acne:
Benzoyl Peroxide (BP) for germ killing and a glycolic salicylic product to help unclog pores. Topical prescription antibiotics may be indicated for flares.
For moderate to severe acne:
Benzoyl Peroxide for germ killing, retinol or a retinoid for blackhead unclogging, and regular topical antibiotics and oral antibiotics for acne flares.
Consider monthly in office:
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), or peels like salicylic acid peels, or combination retinol, glycolic and salicylic peels.
My Personal Tips for Acne Prone Skin
Absolutely NO picking, scratching, over clarisonic-ing, or squeezing by you or a facialist. If you think this is obvious or if you think you are the only teen who does these things, think again. These behaviors are so common in young women there is a name for it, “acne excoriee’ de jeune fille”, known as “picker’s acne”. Anxiety, stress, and excessive mirror time often exacerbate this condition.
Much of what you may be calling ”acne” is really the consequence of self-manipulation of your own blackheads, enlarged pores and pimples. Squeezing usually makes pimples take longer to heal and leaves more marks and scars than if they were untouched.
Instead of squeezing pimples, try a warm water compress followed by a clay mask. Or better yet, concoct your own mask from oatmeal and a bit of water to form the consistency of a paste. Oatmeal can be calming and smoothing and absorb a bit of oil.
Scars are permanent. So try to avoid them by following your prescribed acne regimen. But if you already have scars, don’t fret. We now have great easy, effective and safe non-invasive laser/light treatments to alleviate the scars and discolorations. Fractional Laser Resurfacing (FLR) is an amazingly effective yet non-invasive series of treatments that remolds and improves scars. It is extremely effective and safe. For brown or red discolorations, pulsed light photo rejuvenation works well.
Be Ahead of the Curve
- Apply an antioxidant lotion in the morning under your sunscreen.
- Apply a mild antioxidant with retinol eye cream at night and a bland moisturizer under your eyes in the morning