While some of us may feel that acne and breakouts are just a rite of passage that we all have to suffer through in our preteens, others—ehem, the ones going through it—do not feel so blasé. In case you’ve forgotten, it’s a pretty big deal. It’s a time when you’re trying to figure out a way to get comfortable in your own skin, which is a challenge when that skin is not behaving.
Celebrity skin expert Christie Kidd gets it. She shared some great tips with us for young people, along with advice for parents to get them on a routine, and stat. While kids and preteens are becoming more aware of the importance of hygiene, a true, non-negotiable routine is harder to instill. It all starts with cleansing. Every. Day.
All-over hygiene is important, even for the skin on the face.
“This is a great time in a child’s life to implement good skin-cleaning habits as well as good general hygiene,” Kidd points out. “I find this age group of kids tend to not wash their hair daily. Greasy hair will equal a greasy face! The oil on the scalp makes its way to your forehead … so start by simply having your child wash his or her hair at least every other day. Every day if they run on the oily side!” Showering daily, whether or not the hair is washed, is a must at this hormonal time.
More experienced hygiene practitioners may feel that washing the hair every day seems superfluous or aggressive—and it is, for us. For younger people in the throes of puberty, excess oil production is a real issue and can be tackled with a little more zeal.
Cleanse twice a day, sometimes three times.
On that note, preteens might need to wash their face with cleanser both morning and night, according to Kidd. “Start the day clean, go to bed clean! And if they play sports, a third wash, midday, is great if they suffer from acne.” This extra cleanse step is crucial for active kids, as sweat and oil buildup combined will manifest in good old-fashioned breakouts like clockwork. Try keeping cleansing wipes on hand for backpacks and gym bags.
While this is an important note to teach your young ones, it’s also a good refresher for all ages. “You have to teach your children to wash and rinse their face thoroughly. Leaving residue on the sides of the face or the jawline almost always ends up in acne!” It’s very easy to overlook these areas, especially when giving so much attention to the troublesome T-zone. Don’t forget to give the perimeters some TLC.
Many preteens and young teens over-dry their skin with toners and acidic cleansers. A mild salicylic acid is important for acneic skin, but so is moisturizing! Super dry skin can lead to excess oil production, so this is key. “Whether you are dry or oily will determine which type of moisturizer or sunblock you should use,” Kidd explains. “If you run on the oily side, a nice mineral powder sunblock works very well for day-to-day coverage. If you are normal to dry, you could use a sunblock/lotion combo.”
While it may be difficult not to want to layer it on, Kidd advises against tinted sunblocks, as they can lead to breakouts. Opt for a clean makeup brand to layer on top, if that’s a must.
Spot treatments aren’t always that reliable, especially when breakouts are hormonal and sporadic. Revisiting that notion of a mild salicylic acid, use one all over the face. It won’t over-dry, and it will work preventatively. It sets up a nice canvas for the moisturizer, without overdoing it on the products, for a totally manageable routine.
Up next, be the first to know our weekly content and sign up for our Poosh newsletter.