From breakouts to blemishes – the ultimate guide to tackling teenage skin.
Hormonal changes during the teenage years mean that skin problems are common for teenagers. In fact, about 95% of people aged 11-30 are affected by acne to some extent – and it’s most common in girls aged 14-17 and boys aged 16-191. So, you’re not alone! However, whilst no one should feel embarrassed about their skin, it only natural that it can make you feel self-conscious and affect your self-esteem. Unfortunately, Snapchat filters sometimes just aren’t enough to hide those outrageous outbreaks and pesky problems – from pimples to cold sores. Teenage skin can be tough to tackle, so follow these tips to get back to selfie-taking with confidence!
1. Silly Spots
Breakouts occur when there is an overproduction of oil, which is extremely common in teenage skin as hormones are all over the place. For some teens this hormonal reaction can cause the occasional pimple or blemish but for others breakouts can be more serious causing acne2. Acne usually develops on the cheeks and forehead and can contain these 6 different types of spots: blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules, cysts.3
Several gels and creams are available to buy at pharmacies which can help to elevate pain and reduce swelling. DO NOT squeeze your spots! As tempting as this is it can spread the bacteria to other parts of your face and cause scarring which would last a lot longer than a spot on your face.
2. Zap That Dating Disaster
Picture yourself looking forward to a date and discovering you have a cold sore, it’s the ultimate buzzkill. Cold sores can knock a person’s confidence even though it is an extremely common condition. 1 in 5 people experience recurring cold sores4 and one-third of people affected with a cold sore develop a blister at the affected site which can be highly infectious and can take up to 12-14 days to heal5.
There are various products out there that combat cold sores however, thanks to recent advances in heat technology a new type of treatment has become available. HERPOtherm® is a pocket-sized saviour – shaped like a lip balm to avoid stigma – it produces a concentrated temperature of approximately 51 degrees to reduce symptoms of itching, tingling, tightness, burning and pain.
When compared to creams containing aciclovir, HERPOtherm® can reduce the duration of cold sore blisters by 50% or prevent the development completely, if applied early enough . Control your cold sore and stay date ready.
3. Kiss And Make-Up
For many, make-up is a mood booster which increases confidence. Although wearing make-up doesn’t cause acne, certain ingredients and wearing too much or too thick makeup can clog your pores and encourage acne-causing bacteria to grow.
It is essential to take off your makeup every time before you go to bed and to wash your face with a cleansing gel, foam or soap. Another tip is to use a brush or beauty blender to apply your foundation as fingers carry many germs and can irritate the skin. Furthermore, make sure to wash your brushes regularly to keep germs and oils away.
Lip balm is great to keep your lips moisturised. Dry lips may lead to cracks which can irritate lip conditions that may be present such as cold sores. Lip balm or lipstick can be applied after the use of HERPOtherm® which means that you can add some colour and moisture to your lips whilst treating them. The product can also be used multiple times on the same area if symptoms persist however, it is recommended that you do not exceed a maximum of five applications on the same area within one hour. Do not apply HERPOtherm® to open blisters.
4. Kiss And Make-Up
Not getting affected by stress is definitely easier said than done. 2020 certainly hasn’t been an easy ride, with many teenagers falling out of their usual routines, receiving exam results (without the exams!) and being separated from family and friends during isolation.
Unfortunately, being stressed can affect your skin negatively. When you are tense, your body releases stress hormones which may increase the skin’s oil production, making breakouts more likely7. Stress is also the main trigger which can cause reoccurring cold sores!8
Some techniques to tackle stress are:
- Get more sleep – this means cutting down on the all-nighters and getting your school/college work done during the day.
- Exercise – although PE may not be your favourite subject at school it may help relieve some stress. Even a walk in the fresh air with your friends would relieve some adrenaline that stress builds up.
- Reduce alcohol/nicotine intake (for older teens) – now that summer is over, and school/college has started again this should be easier to reduce and will help you to feel healthier and more in control of yourself.
5. You Are What You Eat
After school or college, sugary snacks may not be a great idea if your skin is suffering from breakouts and inflammation. Excess sugar can worsen acne and eczema as a sugary diet leads to increased oil production. It’s best to try and maintain a well-balanced diet to keep clear, spot and blemish-free skin9.
Try eating antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables, healthy fats from oily fish and nuts. These foods provide nutrients that are essential for healthy skin.
- Nassaji m et al., Eur Res J 2019. 5(3):545-549
- Nassaji m et al., Eur Res J 2019. 5(3):545-549