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Monday, September 3, 2012

Back to School: Basic Tween and Teen Skincare

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Today I would like to talk about basic skincare for the tween (9-12) and teen set. This applies to girls AND boys alike.  During the tween years acne starts to pop up and as soon as that happens kids start to pick at it, making scars on the skin that are irreversible. If you take care of your skin, then you are less likely to have scarring and your self-esteem will be high. I firmly believe that high self esteem is one of the keys to a bright future for our kids.
What are the steps to having great skin?
  • First, identify your skin type: dry, normal, oily, combination, dehydrated etc.  Dry skin doesn’t have any oil all over the face. Normal skin is skin that is in a good state all around, it is not oily or dry. Oily skin has oil over the face. After cleansing you can start out dry and then by noon be oily. Combination has both, usually dry cheeks and oily T-zone (nose, forehead and chin) and finally dehydrated has a lack of moisture all over the face. This last one is usually one that is one that older people have or dehydrated can be from too many acid peels. Tweens and teens have normal and oily usually.
  • Next, find products for your skin type. Tweens and teens need to cleanse, moisturize and use sunscreen. Expensive products are not needed. There are very good products at the drugstore or through a dermatologist if the child has acne. Cleansing is a must! The child needs to remove the oil and dirt accumulated throughout the day. Neutrogena has some great cleansers, Boscia (available from Sephora) also has great cleansers but they are more expensive and generally most cleansers work well. The goal is to cleanse. If there is acne then a cleanser with salicylic acid is a must!
  • Sunscreen is essential. It really is important to avoid sun exposure at any age. It has been shown that sunburns and suntans cause skin cancers. http://www.skincancer.org/ Also, tanning beds cause skin cancers too. Please avoid those. I do believe they are illegal for children under 18. Sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher is a good start but SPF 30 is actually much better. The natural mineral sunscreens are very good and they don’t cause reactions in people. Aveeno makes great sunscreens for the face and body. Neutrogena also has one that is SPF 55 for the face and it has SPF 55.
  • For night if the child has normal or dry skin a very light moisturizer is okay. Neutrogena makes good ones. If the child has acne then it is not a good idea. For acne I recommend salicylic acid to start with, it works well because it kills the bacteria that causes acne. That is for basic blackheads and whiteheads without any pustules. If there are pustules, then benzoyl peroxide 2% is a good prophylactic. It needs to be used all over the face once daily. (Use white pillow cases and towels, it bleaches). If that doesn’t work, then 5% and up to 10% can be used but no more than 10% because it is extremely drying to the skin. There are various drugstore products that have benzoyl peroxide. ProAcitv has it and another ingredient (I think salicyclic acid). Alpha hydroxy acids are also very good. The key is to exfoliate and get the dead skin cells out of the pores and to kill the bacteria that causes the pustules. If all of this doesn’t work, then a trip to the dermatologist is in order. He/she has prescription strength products that will work (EpiDuo for one, which also has benzoyl peroxide). Or maybe a light peel to get rid of the excess skin cells.
So, I hope this gives you some ideas. Great skin essential for great self-esteem at this age. You want your tween and teen to look good so she/he feels good about herself/himself. If you have any questions about products, I will be happy to answer them. Have a great school year!

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