Skin Care for Teens

7 Tips for Treating Acne, Banishing Oily Shine, and Keeping Your Skin Healthy

The most important thing you can do for your skin is take care of it every day. Good daily skin care will help keep and acne and oily skin under control, and make your skin look and feel better.

But taking care of your skin doesn't have to take a lot of time, and you definitely don't need a bunch of expensive products. Your daily skin care routine can be fast, simple, and inexpensive.

These 7 tips will help you develop a great skin care routine that works for your budget and your life.

Expensive Skin Care Products Aren't Necessary

Photo: Bruce Ayers / Getty Images
Photo: Bruce Ayers / Getty Images

You really don't have to spend a ton of money on a high-end skin care line. The products you can buy at the drugstore, even generic or store brands, will work just fine.

So, unless you have money to burn on expensive products, forget about the brand name.

Focus more on how it makes your skin feel. If you like the way it feels, you like the scent, and you like the price, it's a good product for you.

Cleanse Twice a Day (or More if You Sweat)

Wash your face at least twice a day, morning and night. And since sweat can make breakouts worse, you'll want to throw in an extra cleansing right after gym class, sports practice, or after working out.

Dove, Cetaphil, and the Neutrogena bar are all inexpensive and gentle cleansers, perfect if you're using drying acne treatments. You can also choose cleansers that contain benzoyl peroxide, if you need an acne treatment product.

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Ditch the Scrub

When you're breaking out, you probably feel like grabbing a scrub and going at your skin. Don't!

Using super abrasive scrubs will irritate your skin, can tear scabs off of breakouts that are trying to heal, and leave your skin looking more red and inflamed than it was before.

Exfoliation is important, but there are gentler ways to do it. Instead of an abrasive scrub, try over-the-counter glycolic acid or alpha hydroxy acid "peels" (these are basically masks that remove dead skin cells).

Many acne treatments are already doing the job of exfoliating. So if you're using any prescription acne medication (Retin-A Micro, isotretinoin, Differin, etc.) you don't need an extra exfoliant. It will just irritate your skin.

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Grab an Astringent for Super Oily Skin

If your skin pumps out the oil, an astringent is just what you need. Astringents (sometimes called toners) remove oil from the surface of the skin, and leave your skin feeling clean and refreshed.

OTC astringents containing salicylic acid are good choices for breakout-prone skin. If your skin tends to be sensitive, pick an alcohol-free product.

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Moisturize Daily to Soothe Tight, Dry, Flaky Skin

Acne treatments can make your skin super dry, but using a good moisturizer every day can help your skin feel a whole lot better.

The trick is to choose a moisturizer that says oil-free and noncomedogenic. This way, it won't leave you feeling greasy and won't clog your pores.

You get bonus points if you choose a moisturizer that has SPF! Use it daily and you'll protect your skin from the sun.

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Don't Pop Pimples

It's hard not to pop pimples! But try to fight the urge, and leave them alone. Popping pimples damages the skin, and can cause dark spots and scarring.

But nobody wants to walk around with a big whitehead on their face. Instead of squeezing them, shrink them with a spot treatment overnight. For those just-woke-up-to-a-big-whitehead blemishes, a warm compress can help quickly (and gently) drain.

If you absolutely must get rid of that pimple now, at least extract it safely.

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See a Dermatologist (or Your Primary Care Physician)

Even if you take perfect care of your skin, acne can happen. Sometimes, you can get it under control with acne products you buy at the store.

But if you've tried store-bought acne treatments, and you're still breaking out, it's time to see a dermatologist. They have prescription medications that are stronger than the OTC products, so you'll get better results.

The good news is that, even though acne is common at your age, you don't have to wait until you outgrow it. With good skin care and the right treatment medications, you can have clearer skin.

Next Steps:

Everything You Need to Know to Treat Teen Acne

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"How to Wash Acne-prone Skin." AcneNet. American Academy of Dermatology, 14 Apr 2010. Web. 23 Aug 2013.

Titus S, Hodge J. "Diagnosis and treatment of acne." Am Fam Physician. 2012 Oct 15;86(8):734-40.

"7 Acne Skin Care Taboos." AcneNet. American Academy of Dermatology, 21 May 2010. Web. 23 Aug 2013.

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