Nancy L. VanderSluis, M.D.
The preteen to early teenage years are a good time to start a skincare regimen. At this age, children understand the importance of hygiene. Starting a skincare plan at an early age will introduce a healthy habit with benefits that will be seen well into the future.
Until now, your preteen or teenager may think a quick rinse in the shower is sufficient for healthy skin. To maintain proper hygiene, a teenager should bathe daily and cleanse his or her face twice a day with soap or a facial cleanser to remove excess dirt and oil. Look for mild products that say non-comedogenic. Use warm, not hot, water and pat dry with a clean washcloth.
Choose a moisturizer that is oil-free, preferably with at least a 15 SPF. Apply a thin layer to clean, dry skin. Sun protection is one healthy habit your child will thank you for 15-20 years from now.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 80-90 percent of teenagers will experience acne. During puberty, hormone levels increase, which increases the amount of oil the body produces. When the oil is trapped, a pimple or zit forms on the skin. The most common places for teenage acne are on the face, neck, chest and back.
If your child is prone to breakouts, start using a medicated wash with 1-2 percent salicylic acid. If this does not help, benzoyl peroxide is an alternative. Topical creams and wipes are also available and effective. Treatment will also prevent new lesions, so use these products on the entire acne prone areas, not just on individual acne lesions. Improvement may take 1-2 months of daily use, so be patient. A slight feeling of dryness or tightness is normal but if over-drying or irritation occurs, discontinue use. If the over-the-counter products are not effective, consult with your child’s pediatrician.