Health Break | Published October 27, 2010

For teens, great skin care should start early

It’s hard enough to be a teenager these days without battling that unkind, age-old issue of unsightly breakouts and acne. However, there are some things young adults can do that will help develop good habits—and the clearest skin possible—for their entire lives.

  1. Use good products. While some over-the-counter products work okay, some teens need a stronger treatment than what’s available in the local drugstore. A physician’s office can provide products that are backed with scientific evidence, not just marketing claims.
  2. Benzoyl peroxide products work by introducing oxygen into the skin’s pores and killing the bacteria responsible for breakouts. It also helps remove dead skin cells, which can block pores and create more breakouts.
  3. Salicylic acid products work in a similar fashion, sloughing away dead skin cells but also penetrating through to the follicle, keeping pores clearer. Typical over-the-counter treatments range from .5 percent to 2 percent in strength.
  4. Use sunscreen. Make this a daily habit early in life. This simple routine is a huge step to maintaining great skin as an adult.

Some of the best results seen with younger skin have come when parents bring kids for a total skin care analysis. After a thorough hands-on analysis, a licensed aesthetician assess what will work best and provide the best results.

Regularly scheduled facials over the course of a few weeks are a common first course of action after the analysis. The aesthetician will perform extractions that clear out the pores, which in turn provide a critical preventative maintenance step. By really attending to the skin in a series of visits, clogged areas can be cleared and start the healing process. This gives young people a fresher start than they would have by simply purchasing more and more over-the-counter treatments that may yield unsatisfactory results. Education about skin care is important for patients, regardless of their age. Proper cleansing, a good diet, decreased sugar and caffeine and minimizing hand-to-face contact are all important to healthy skin.

Some patients work with the aesthetician as well as a dermatologist to get their skin issues under control. This doesn’t need to be an “either/or” decision; both healthcare professionals have expertise and medical training to help patients achieve the best complexions possible.