Get with the Program: Guidelines for Teenage Acne Prevention
If youíre a teen with acne, itís no secret that this can be a particularly traumatic experience. Although almost all teenagers have acne, when it's on your own face it must seem that much more noticeable, that much bigger, and that much more embarrassing. For teenagers going through an acne crisis, there are two pieces of really good news. The first bit of good news is that the old myths have been dispelled. Until recently, acne was thought to be rooted either in poor hygiene practices, or a direct result of fatty, greasy eating habits. Research has shown that acne is actually much more related to hormone function and genetics, and it is now more widely recognized that acne is not your own fault.
The second piece of really good news is that there are now many different ways to treat a teenage acne problem. Gone are the days of using the same old bar of soap that you use on your feet to clean your face as well! No more do you have to apply a generic moisturizer or, if you have oily skin, avoid moisturizers altogether! While the appearance of acne is not something entirely under your control, there are certainly several things you can do to prevent acne breakouts and heal existing acne more quickly. Dermatologists and skin care specialists suggest the following guidelines for basic teenage acne control:
1) Wash properly
When it comes to washing your face, more is not necessarily better. By washing your face once or twice a day with a gentle cleanser, you can get rid of excess oil and bacteria on your skin. But when you wash your face several times a day, you are actually preventing your skin from regenerating some of that healthy, protective oil. Your skin's response to this is to make even more oil since the original amount wasn't enough, and the end result is oilier skin than when you started. Another thing to avoid when washing your skin is the use of really harsh cleansers. Exfoliating cleansers can be great for removing dead skin cells, but you do not want to use them daily, and harsh chemicals can over-dry your skin, leaving it tight and dehydrated.
Conclusion: Wash your face twice a day with warm water and a gentle cleanser, and forgo scrubbing with a face cloth.
2) No touching your face
There are healthy, natural bacteria that live on our skin and help to break down the sebum (oil) on our face. That's fine when the bacteria is ON your skin, but touching your face can push the bacteria INTO your skin, where its byproducts can irritate your pores and cause inflammation. Plus, think of all the things we touch with our hands during the day... you really donít want all that oil, bacteria, and gunk on your face!
Conclusion: Don't touch your face unless you have a darn good reason, and try to avoid resting your chin/cheeks/forehead on your hand.
3) Stay away from alcohol products
Alcohols are commonly used in skin cleansers, and are extremely harsh on your skin. Isopropyl alcohol in particular can dry out your skin and drive your sebaceous glands into overdrive to compensate.
Conclusion: Avoid toners that use alcohol, and go for ones that contain other anti-bacterial ingredients instead.
4) Don't overuse makeup
Yes, even the makeup you use to cover up acne can be responsible for causing acne breakouts. Buy non-comedogenic products (especially foundation), and apply them minimally and for limited amounts of time. You may want to wear some makeup to school, but you probably don't need to wear it to your weekend soccer games or while you work out at the gym!
Conclusion: To conceal acne scars, use a silicone-based foundation, and for blemishes, use moisturizer before foundation to avoid drawing attention to the dry skin immediately around the blemish.
5) Avoid too much sun
So many people think that sun is good for your skin. It doesn't have to be bad for your skin, but it isn't the catch-all solution to acne that some seem to think it is. While the sun may dry out your skin and make it less oily, the resultant tan or sunburn makes you lose those dead skin cells faster than normal, giving you a greater likelihood of clogged pores despite overall drier skin.
Conclusion: If you're going to be in the sun, use a non-comedogenic sunscreen of at least SPF 15 at least half an hour before you go outside, and keep your face shaded by a fun hat.
6) Beware of hair products
Unless you have your hair tied back 24/7, gels, creams, and hairspray can easily be transferred onto your face from your hair. These products often contain alcohols or oils that can contribute to acne breakouts.
Conclusion: If possible, minimize the amount of product you use in your hair, or be careful to avoid contact between your hair and your face when you are styling. If you have long hair, tie it back at night, and if you have bangs, pin them up while sleeping.
Teenagers with acne have it much easier these days, now that the causes of acne are properly understood. Acne control is no longer limited to crossing your fingers and hoping for it to go away! Follow a basic skin care regime (cleanse, tone, moisturize) and use the guidelines above as part of a proactive plan to get clear and healthy skin.
About the Author: Author C. L. Jackson wishes the topic of acne was simply an academic interest ... but unfortunately thatís not the case! You'll find much more information on this topic at the author's website http://www.acne-infosource.info/acne-control.php