The average age for girls to begin puberty is 11, while for boys the average age is 12. Sebum (oil) production starts to pick up around this time and one of the most common complaints I hear from teenage patients is that they are self-conscious about greasy skin, visible pores or blackheads, especially on the nose, forehead and chin.
Blackheads are essentially a mixture of excess oil and dead skin cells which get trapped in the pores. A chemical reaction occurs when the mixture is exposed to air, turning it black, and this is what gives blackheads their characteristic appearance.
Up to 85% of teenagers will experience some form of acne at one time or another and I try to reassure my patients that they are not alone. Nonetheless, it should not be considered a rite of passage that everyone has to suffer through, regardless of the severity. Establishing a skincare routine and teaching teens how to look after their skin is important, both for skin health and for self-esteem.
Researchers have found that it takes 66 days on average for a new habit to become ingrained. Although following a skincare routine might feel daunting at first, it doesn’t take long for it to become second nature.
One of the best places to start with taking care of your skin is to develop a morning and evening skincare routine and stick to it every day. It is never too late to start, but it helps to get in the habit from your teenage years onwards.
Stick to the items in your skincare routine and give them a chance to work. Unless you have a bad reaction to a particular product, I would usually suggest using it regularly for 2 – 3 months before switching if you haven’t noticed an improvement at that point. Don’t fall into the trap of using too many products or chopping and changing every couple of weeks. Similarly, don’t stop using the products when the spots are controlled as you could end up back at square one.
Blackheads and acne are not because you are dirty so scrubbing too hard, or using harsh exfoliators, is not particularly helpful and may actually increase inflammation. Use a mild cleanser to wash your face and rinse with warm water or a soft wet flannel before drying gently.
Moisturise twice daily. Apply a sun protection moisturiser or sunscreen in the morning and a plain moisturiser at night. Acne blemishes can leave dark marks on the skin if not properly protected from UV rays in sunlight. Choose a broad spectrum sun protection product with SPF30 or higher. Always check the label for the words ‘non-comedogenic’ which means the product is less likely to block the pores.
Whatever you do, don’t scratch, pick or squeeze. This can introduce bacteria, increase inflammation and may ultimately lead to scarring. Always clean your hands before applying your skincare products and avoid touching your face at other times. Don’t go to bed without removing your makeup. Ideally, you should stick to your usual nighttime routine even if it’s late and you’re tired. Keep some cotton pads and a bottle of micellar water next to your bed, however, for those occasions where you may otherwise be tempted to skip cleansing or sleep with your makeup on.
Try keeping sugary and processed foods to a minimum. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have an occasional chocolate or treat though.
Milk and dairy products can trigger breakouts for some people too.
Always consult with a doctor or dietitian before you cut anything out of your diet to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need. For example, vitamin D supplementation and milk alternatives fortified with calcium may need to be considered if you are limiting dairy.
Look after your general health and wellbeing. Lack of sleep and stress can increase your risk of breaking out. Try to go to bed at the same time most nights, don’t scrimp on sleep and actively seek out ways to let off steam. This may be through doing a hobby, taking a yoga class, exercising or relaxing with friends.
Speak to your parents or GP if you are struggling with your skin. We have lots of experience helping teens and their parents navigate this tricky time.Book now
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I can’t recommend Dr Kluk enough. Her friendly, professional & warm manner instantly put me at ease. A sensible, steady approach has given me improvements beyond my expectations & continues to do so. I feel so lucky to have found her.
Justine saw my 10 year old daughter for comedonal acne. She gave her a gentle treatment plan, great advice & lots of words of comfort. Highly recommend her!
Dr Kluk was fantastic. She’s experienced, warm and very professional. She took time to understand my medical history and came up with a combined topical/ hormonal treatment that has really transformed the texture of my skin, reducing blackheads, scarring and breakouts.
Justine is a complete expert about skin. She is so professional and friendly at the same time and I always know I’m in good hands with her. My skin dramatically improved after seeing her, giving me more confidence.
Dr Kluk is beyond amazing. I haven’t seen my skin like this for years and she’s helped me regain my self-confidence. I would highly, highly recommend this clinic!
Dr Kluk has been part of the biggest improvement that I’ve had in my skin journey so far. I’m so comfortable in my skin now and we’ve still got plans for improvement!
I was very nervous about my first session and Dr Kluk was brilliant at picking that up and keeping me calm through the treatment. I would highly recommend seeing Dr Kluk.
I now see foundation as a choice, and not a “need” like I used to, and I feel so comfortable in my own skin. Dr Kluk is so kind, understanding and knowledgeable.
The big difference with other clinics is that Dr Kluk went into great detail about how each cream should be used, in order to treat spots but avoid making my skin sore and inflamed. Couldn’t recommend more highly.
Justine was so reassuring and kind in her approach. She also clearly explained my treatment, so I feel really comfortable using the products. Fingers crossed it makes a difference – we’ll see in three months! Thanks Justine.
5 stars are NOT enough for the wonderful Dr Kluk. She is truly professional, honest in her opinion and she takes great pride in the happiness of her clients. The best dermatologist!
Dr Justine has completely changed my skin. From advice on products to use, to prescribing and adjusting medication, she has made such a difference. Would happily recommend her to anyone!
Justine is approachable, efficient and knowledgeable. She is by far the best Dermatologist I have seen and has resolved issues that others have been unable to.
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