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Skin Care by the Decade Teen Years


By Tara Ichelson, Licensed Esthetician, Owner, Pretique SkinSpa

Skin undergoes a variety of changes as we age, and, at times, these changes can even occur day-to-day simply by the habits we adopt. Yes, we all would love to have kept that baby soft skin from our youngest years, but unfortunately that’s not reality. Truth be told, changes in our skin and appearance can have many different affects on a person’s life, not just in the area of confidence, but more importantly, related to very real health concerns such as pigmentation, adult acne, and of course, skin cancer. We are going to explore the importance of a skin care regimen related to different decades of life, and how we can not only combat these issues, but also take steps to prevent them in the first place. Many people can be put off by a regimen, citing that it takes too much time, or that it’s too confusing. My job is to not only educate my clients on how we can implement a regimen in the time that can be committed to, but to also educate on why it’s important. When that happens, it’s as easy as brushing your teeth twice per day, and it’s never too early to start. Today we begin in those fun pre-teen and teen years, so all of the parents out there can get a jumpstart with urging their kids into a good routine, and hopefully making adolescence a little less stressful in regards to problem skin.

Most of us probably remember having some sort of issue with our skin as we went through various changes during those awkward years. Thankfully these days, there are a lot of options out there to help prevent and treat problem skin, but sometimes it can get overwhelming since there seems to be too much to choose from, so let’s just cover the basics of a simple regimen and also some good rules of thumb for kids to adopt as well:

In regards to a daily routine, when hormones are going crazy in the body, several different issues can come up, and skin seems to be at the top of the list. Oil produces in greater concentrations during puberty, and bacteria loves to thrive in oil. When cleansing the skin twice per day, it helps eliminate that excess oil, and in turn helps eliminate the bacteria. Cleansing twice per day might seem like a pain to the average teen, but so are breakouts, so this step will be one of the best ways that healthy skin can be promoted. A good cleanse will generally be followed by an astringent or toner to balance out the ph level of the skin, and then followed by a moisturizer. If there are areas of the skin that are blemished, a spot treatment can be applied on the areas of concern before moisturizing. While on the subject of moisturizer, a common myth is that if a person has oily skin, then they should not use a moisturizer, but that is incorrect. A moisturizer needs to be used to replace the moisture that the skin is losing, and when that isn’t done, the sebum that is produced works overtime to compensate for that loss. That is why using products that are suitable for the individual skin type is so crucial, so that those with oily skin are using a moisturizer formulated for oily skin, which can actually reduce the overproduction of oil and minimize shine.

Products that are “non-comedogenic” should always be used since they won’t clog pores, and if your teen is prone to breakouts, cleansing gently for about two minutes with a wash that contains salicylic acid will be effective to medicate the skin by treating breakouts, and preventing the formation of new ones. Salicylic acid can have a drying component to the skin however, which is why hydrating is so important with a moisturizer, but note it may not be suitable if the skin is prone to sensitivity. It should also be noted, in regards to breakouts, that all kids will get blemishes from time to time. If the blemishes are severe and associated with scarring or overly painful or recurring, and showing no improvement after about two months of implementing a medicated regimen, seeking a skin professional or dermatologist is advised.

In addition, a couple of good tips to live by as a pre-teen or teen beginning a skin care routine, always cleanse the skin after sporting practice or events, as keeping the skin in a sweaty condition is a playground for bacteria. There are convenient cleansing wipes available that gently and effectively get the job done, if a shower can’t be taken right away. Secondly, when cleansing the skin, there is no need to try and scrub the skin off the face. Be gentle, as scrubbing too hard can irritate the skin and in some instances, make any existing problems worse. Also, one rule I continuously drive home with my clients — no picking. If there is a blemish that comes, use a spot treatment to effectively medicate the area. Picking or improperly trying to extract a blemish can not only spread any bacteria to other areas of the skin, but it can also result in scarring. Finally, and anybody that has read my previous articles will know my passion for this most important rule, sunscreen is a must. Most moisturizers will contain a sunscreen, otherwise there are several brands that offer a simple oil-free sunscreen that can be applied and re-applied throughout the day when participating in summer activities and sports.

Lastly, there are a lot of easy and convenient three-step regimens on the market these days, where the steps are simplified to avoid confusion, and they are effective for keeping skin healthy and supple. These regimens contain the necessary products that target the different skin types, from sensitive, to oily or dry, to combination and even skin prone to acne. By following simple routine and good habits, problem skin can hopefully be avoided in the teen years, and set the stage for continued health of the skin throughout the following decades of life.

Tara Ichelson is a licensed esthetician and owner of Pretique SkinSpa in Bettendorf, Iowa. She offers professional luxury facials and skin treatments at practical prices, and is available for free skin consultations. Tara is available Tuesdays – Saturdays by appointment only. Call 563-650-0290 to schedule an appointment or a free skin consultation. Visit www.pretiqueskinspa.com to view a service menu.