What can teenagers do about spots

Many teenagers suffer from spots. They can have a major impact on their self-confidence. Although they are a very difficult skin problem to treat, you can considerably reduce spots with the right skincare.

How can I help my teenager develop a good skincare routine?

Treating spots and pimples is no different for a fifteen-year-old than for a fifty-year-old; age is not a skin type! Unfortunately, however, most skincare products for teenagers contain unnecessary irritants that only lead to an oilier skin and cause even more spots. Help your teenager to keep their expectations realistic by talking about which skincare products they should and shouldn’t use. Do not forget how vulnerable your teenager’s ego is. Skin problems are distressing for anyone at any age, but they can be disastrous for a teenager. It is essential to have a simple yet effective skincare routine. It consists of the following four steps:

Step 1: Use a mild cleanser.

Wash your face twice a day with a gentle, water-soluble cleanser, for example Paula's Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser. Avoid solid soaps. They dry out the skin too much and can also block the pores.

Step 2: Exfoliate.

It has been proven that one cause of spots and blackheads is the accumulation of dead skin cells. They block the pores and can also cause the inside of the pores to become enlarged as the dead skin cells accumulate, which causes the sebum in the pores to build up, leading to spots. The best way to remove dead skin cells is to exfoliate with a product containing salicylic acid (BHA) like Paula's Choice Clear Regular Strength 2% BHA Exfoliant. BHA exfoliates the inside of the pores as well as just the surface of the skin. It is also an anti-inflammatory and prevents redness. Do not use aggressive scrubs with coarse grains, since these only damage the skin and make the problem worse.

Step 3: Benzoyl peroxide.

Study after study has shown that benzoyl peroxide kills ‘Propionibacterium acnes’, one of the bacteria that causes acne and spots. It is the most effective over-the-counter treatment for spots and can be bought at a pharmacy or chemist. You can also try Paula’s Choice Clear Daily Skin Clearing Treatment + BHA. It contains azelaic acid that can be a good alternative for people who have problems with spots and who are oversensitive to benzoyl peroxide.

Step 4: Protect your skin from sun damage.

The skin cannot heal spots if it is fighting the daily damage caused by the sun at the same time. A light day cream with an SPF of at least 30 accelerates the healing process and protects the skin from further damage. A foundation with a sunscreen offers good protection too.

Additionally, you can help an oily skin by removing excessive sebum with sebum-absorbing tissues and by using a mild clay mask every so often. It is also advisable to avoid products that are too emollient for the skin, such as cream-based products. It is best to use lightweight day and night creams which do not block the pores.

Leave your spots alone! Don’t pick at them or squeeze them as that could cause scarring and make your skin look or feel worse than it already does. If you can’t resist, then do it very carefully.

Feel free to combine products from different brands to find out what works best for you, as long as the products do not contain any irritating ingredients. Take care with products that make your skin tingle. These products don’t help: in fact, they irritate the skin and make the problem worse!

If you haven’t seen any improvement after six months of using a consistent skincare routine, consider going to a dermatologist for prescribed medication.

Why do teenagers have problems with spots and blackheads?

  • Overactive hormones. During puberty, the body produces excessive amounts of hormones, especially androgens, which stimulate sebum production. The more oil produced in the pores, the greater the chance they will become blocked and burst open. Propionibacterium acnes bacteria cause infections which in turn create inflamed, swollen spots.
  • Inadequate facial cleansing. Forgetting to wash your face is not the cause of spots and/or blackheads, but if you don’t wash your face twice a day, dead skin cells accumulate, which block the pores and worsen your skin problems. If you do not remove makeup thoroughly in the evening, you also make any problems worse.
  • Exposure to irritating ingredients. Alcohol, menthol, camphor, eucalyptus and fragrances (perfumes) can cause inflammation. These stimulate sebum production, increasing the number of spots. So avoid products containing these irritating ingredients!
  • Using a day and night cream, face mask, foundation or concealer that blocks the pores. Many girls use several layers of makeup containing ingredients that block the pores, such as a concealer and other moisturising cream-based products.
  • Erratic skincare routine. The secret to a nicer skin is to stick to a consistent, effective skincare routine. Although it is impossible to cure acne, you can keep spots under control by using the right products. Convince your teenager that consistent skincare and patience are vital.
  • Hair care products. Gel, mousse, hair oil or hairspray can cause spots if they come into contact with the skin. Keep your hair off your face and use fewer or different hairstyling products.

There are all kinds of myths about spots and pimples. Despite what people often say, you can’t scrub away small spots or get rid of them by sunbathing. They are not contagious. You don’t get spots from chocolate and fatty foods; your diet only plays a role if you have allergies or intolerances to certain foods (lactose, gluten, nuts and some types of fish).

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