What causes acne?
Acne is a result of the cutibacterium acnes that naturally live in your skin. But although this bacteria is natural, it can cause breakouts on your face once it grows too much. As it grows, it eats the oil on your face, and it expels waste. When it does this, the released compounds are very irritating to the skin, and in turn, more bacteria can show up as a result of this inflammatory response. All of this begins to compact, and this forms pimples. The pressure from the pimple also causes inflammation.
These are the main components of an acne, but for teens, it can happen for different reasons. A hallmark of teenage acne is breaking out within the T zone. When you go through puberty, this is where most of the oil starts to show up. Likewise, It’s important to focus on active ingredients or “actives” that have been proven to help. The following routine is for teenagers who are struggling with acne, people who are in college, and for parents who want to help their children. However, remember that if the acne is major and cystic, it’s best to see a professional. But otherwise, this is a good place to start if you’re trying to build a routine.
Panoxyl Creamy Wash - $11.99
The first step in a good routine is a cleanser. This is a cleanser from PanOyxl that is creamy and non-drying. In regards to helping with acne breakouts, it works pretty fast. This cleanser is also keratolytic which means that it exfoliates the outside layer surface of the skin. This exfoliation helps to relieve pressure, and it kills bacteria. On the other hand, it can be a little drying especially if you use the 10% formula. It can also stain your towel or pillowcase. Always wash this Benzoyl Peroxide cleanser off, and overall, it is a really fantastic option for teenage acne that is under 15 dollars.
Gentle Exfoliant Maelove Deep Exfoliator -$24.95
This one is from MaeLove, and it contains physical and chemical exfoliants. So, it exfoliates two ways at the same time. This exfoliator has BHAs which directly help acne-prone skin, and it also has clay that really absorbs oil. The BHA chemical exfoliator, salicylic acid, penetrates the skin, and it helps with redness and inflammation. Salicylic acid is oil soluble and can go into that oil, break it up, and help to get rid of it.
As for the physical exfoliant component, the beads in here are super gentle. They are not rough like walnuts or apricot kernels. Do not use those types of things because they can scratch the skin and further irritate acne-prone skin. Instead, this exfoliant has gentle and rounded edges that give you a sensorial experience without scratching the skin. They don’t include microbeads because we don’t want plastic microbeads that can wash down the drain and get into the ecosystems of fish. Once they go into the water, they actually break apart so they’re no longer solid little things.
Bliss Clear Genius Toner -$18
Although a toner is not a necessary step to a skincare routine, the Bliss Clear Genius Clarifying Toner is wonderful for teenage acne. This toner feels more like an essence, and It has a jelly-like consistency. It also has ingredients like salicylic acid that are helpful for acne. Furthermore, it has witch hazel. The efficacy of witch hazel depends on the formula it’s in, and this formula is very gentle and helpful with blackheads and pores that are on the nose. There’s soothing niacinamide and tigergrass for redness, and then, we’ve got AHAs too. This is fantastic for acne-prone skin. If you want to use a toner to help your other products penetrate, this works very well.
The Ordinary Granactiv Retinoid - $18
Retinoids have been the gold standard in dermatology for treating acne. Many people feel like they shouldn’t be using retinoids as a teenager, but as long as you’re responsible, teenagers can use them. This one has retinol, hydroxy pinnacle, and retinoate. These ingredients help your skin not to produce so much oil. They help with acne, and they also help with increasing how quickly your skin turns over and creates a new barrier. Overall, it creates a plump, healthy look.
Hyaluronic Acid Serum Maelove The Hydrator -$29.95
This is an intensive hydration serum. It comes out in a nice liquid form so it actually goes onto the skin, and it absorbs nicely. While a lot of people avoid oils or hydration when they have acne, hydrators and the right type of oils like jojoba can regulate oil control all over the face. They can prompt your skin to calm down and take a break from oil production. This serum has panthenol, resveratrol, and vitamin B. The resveratrol comes from grapes, and these antioxidants can help with damage, irritation, and wound healing from skin picking. Because it’s a liquid, it sinks into the skin so well, and it really prepares your skin to be soft, supple, and calm. The ingredients are also super basic so you’re not putting a bunch of actives or mixing a bunch of things on the skin. There’s water and hyaluronic acid which draws moisture and water into the skin as well.
Glycolic Acid Moisturizer Maelove The Night Renewer -$29.95
After you use the serum, you can follow up with a moisturizer. This is the Night Renewer Glycolic Acid Cream, and it doubles as an acne treatment because it has AHAs. AHAs like glycolic acid come from sugar cane and help exfoliate the top layers of the skin. This has a high amount of glycolic acid so it really works, but as always, you should wear a sunscreen over it during the day. You can wear it under the sunscreen, or you could choose another day moisturizer that does not have glycolic acid. The ingredients are mainly composed of squalane, shea butter, and hyaluronic acid. It goes onto the skin super buttery smooth, locks everything in, and creates a protective layer.
Body Acne Spray AcneFree -$10.99
A lot of teenagers are in athletics, so if you sweat, and you don’t have time to shower, the acne free body clearing acne spray is very helpful although it is not an alternative to showering. This spray has 2% salicylic acid, aloe, and niacinamide to dissolve oil and soothe the skin. This product is amazing because it also reaches your back which is a primary area for acne.
Dermalogica Clear Start Fizz Mask - $22
This mask is affordably priced, it goes really well on the skin, and it foams up so it’s really fun. You can put it on once or twice a week. It helps to exfoliate blackheads so they stop oxidizing. It has sulfur which is great for regular acne or “fungal acne.” We have kaolin clay, bentonite, and apple extracts that can be mildly exfoliating to the skin. It’s great and fun to use.
Acne-free Terminator 10 Spot Treatment Acne Free -$8.29
Just like the PanOxyl cleanser, this has benzoyl peroxide which means it’s a fast-acting solution for acne. It helps break up oil, exfoliate the skin, and kill bacteria. It’s great but a bit aggressive since it’s a spot treatment.
Killa Kit Deep Microdart Patch 8-pack - $29
These are emergency pimple patches. You can put them on top of a pimple to prevent skin picking. They also have microdarts so when you put them on the skin, they gently and non-painfully puncture the skin. after 6 to 12 hours, they dissolve into the skin. Once you take it off, you should see reduced redness and size of the pimple. These don’t work on cysts or deep nodules. So, if that’s the case, it’s better to see a professional. Derms might recommend a gentle intro to retinoids like Epiduo, which has adapalene, or topical antibiotics.
The Zitsticka patches mostly work for whiteheads and zits. You can use them to reduce the appearance of a pimple the night before a big event. If you want a full-face treatment, you can use a mask, and you can use a spot treatment for multiple pimples.
This is a general routine. Everyone’s skin is different, but this is a great place to start!