Saturday, September 6, 2014

Teenage Skin—what you need to know

Many of my clients have asked what they can do for their teenagers problem skin. Or sometimes they simply want to start their teens on a good skin care program, but dont know where to begin. Whether your kids have problem skin or not, there are some basic habits teenagers should try to develop that can have a positive effect on their skin. I have written this section specially for them.

1. Keeping your skin clean is of paramount importance. Generally, you use soap to wash your face. This presents problem number one. Almost all soaps have high alkalinity. Alkaline cleansers should not be used, especially by people (young or old) having problems with their skin. Alkalinity strips all surface oil and water off your skin, leaving it depleted. The oil glands will usually pump out more oil to compensate for the loss.

Adding to this excess oil, your skin might become dehydrated from the soap. So your face may feel dry (although its simple dehydration), yet will look and feel oily at the same time. Confusing, isnt it? Liquid Aveeno or Cetaphil cleansers would be good alternatives to soap. They are inexpensive and do a good job of cleansing. 

So keeping the skin clean with a non-alkaline cleanser is the first rule to follow. Just as I would instruct adults, you should be washing your face both in the morning and in the evening. Getting into good skin care habits early on will benefit you down the road.

2. Rinse off your face immediately after exercising. This is very important. All that salty sweat is basically toxic waste (toxins) being released from your body. It is coming out of your body, and you need to complete the elimination by thoroughly rinsing your face with water until you cant taste the saltiness anymore. Many clients who were experiencing sweat-related problems had a significant reduction in their breakouts using this quick rinse-off method. 

3. Dont wash too much. If clean is good, then surely washing several times throughout the day must be better, right? Well, its not. Since soap dries out the surface of your skin, you are essentially forcing your oil glands to pump and pump and pump to keep the surface lubricated. Even using non-alkaline cleansers can overstimulate the oil glands, giving rise to oilier skin. Although it is important to keep the skin clean, you dont want to create more oil. Washing twice a day is a good guidelineand always after sweating. If you feel the need to wash another time in the day, then do so. But in general, dont wash too much.

4. Abrasive scrubs are out if there are problems with infection (red bumps, pimples, blemishes, zits, and/or acne). Blemishes can easily be opened up or irritated with the abrasive particles contained in a scrub. Like open wounds, a scrub can leave these blemishes subject to even more infection and makes them take longer to heal. If no infection is present, scrubs are fine to useas long as they are used with care. You never want to rub too aggressively with a scrub. Please be sure your skin is already wet when applying the scrub. Never use one on a dry skin. Why? Too much pulling and not enough glide.

5. Pimple-drying agents should not be used on problem skin. This includes oxy products, blemish pads, etc. These products are very harsh, to say the least. Theyre being used on skin that is infected and inflamed. This tissue needs soothing, calming, antibacterial products used on it, not harsh, caustic creams.

6. Food does affect your skin. There are plenty of books and many doctors who will disagree with me on this issue. However, I have seen too much evidence to believe otherwise. It just doesnt make sense that what you eat doesnt affect everything about you, including your skin. Its like saying I can fill up my cars gas tank with orange juice, and this wont affect how it runs. A car requires a certain type of fuel to run efficiently, and so does your body. If you put low-quality foods into your system, sooner or later your system (your body) will rebel.

During the teen years (I know this was true for me), eating healthy, well-balanced meals isnt necessarily the norm. There tends to be a lot of sodas and sweets, and usually a more than occasional fast-food burger and fries. Even if your stomach can survive this, it is doubtful your skin willnot for any extended length of time. I think your body can tolerate all kinds of abuse for a short period of time, but after your time is up, your body will rebel. It will start creating symptoms of overload. One of these symptoms” is breakout.

And to top that off, kids are bombarded by advertisements in teen magazines to use oxy this or zit remover” that. As Ive said before, these products do little more than irritate the skin and put the irruption in a dormant (inactive, not cleared up) state. Become aware of how food may be affecting your skin.

7. Dont pick. I know this is an impossible request. I feel it is my duty to at least address this issue even though Im quite sure faces will be picked at by their owners. Its human nature. But truly, my recommendation is to leave your face alone.

When to start your kids on a skin care program. When your children are starting puberty, it would be beneficial to start them on a good skin care program. If they arent having any problems with their skin, have them begin washing their face with a non-alkaline cleanser. Do this at least nightly, and for an even better routine, morning and night. Thats a good start, and later down the road you can add other products (toners and moisturizers, exfoliators and masks) when needed.

At such a young age, and if no problems are present, their skin is functioning optimally and wont need a lot of extra care. And when I say morning and night, I completely understand the likelihood of that is low. Many of my adult clients dont wash twice a day. Hopefully you can get your kids to wash at least once and hopefully two times every day. Miracles do happen :+)

If your teens are having problems, its time to get them started on a good program of cleansing, exfoliating, and using a clay mask to help keep their breakouts to a minimum. Exfoliating and using a clay mask are additional steps that can help make a difference in their skin.

Numerous clients have found good results for their teenagers skin by following the previously mentioned steps. Not all teenagers are going to follow a skin care routine, but I have found if they see good results from following a simple program, they will be more prone to following through with it on a regular basis.

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