As a mother, choosing the safest skincare products I applied to my kids skin was consciously important for me from day one of motherhood. But once you master how to look after your baby’s skin, you have to start looking for products for toddlers. However nothing will prepare you for the onslaught of teen hormone explosion and its affect not only children’s moods, but, no less importantly, their skin when they enter pre-teen & teen years. Teen skincare market offers unlimited possibilities, yet very few brands offer genuinely clean/natural/holistic formulations that address teen skin needs. British teen skincare brand Spots and Stripes does exactly that. Why? Because it’s founder Charlotte-Anne Fidler is a mother, who takes addressing teenage skin needs the right way pretty seriously.
According to Environmental Working Group (EWG) US-based study of teen products published in 2008, presence of 16 different chemicals associated with hormone disruptors was found in the blood and urine of 20 young adults. Hormone-disrupting synthetic chemicals like parabens, tricoslan and phthalates can affect teenagers overall development, including sexual & physical. This is all the more the reason to talk to your sons and daughters about skincare, daily routine, ingredient lists and what to look out for in order to help their skin look and feel good.
Teen skincare doesn’t and shouldn’t be complicated. Suggest the following steps to your child and show them how you would apply the products yourself. Once they’ve mastered the basics, let them enjoy their skincare routine independently, knowing that they are helping their skin look its best every day.
- Cleanse: balms, lotions or oils work equally well. Just look for the one that appeals to your child in terms of texture and smell, which will hopefully make sure they cleanse regularly.
- Tone: face waters or mists will help hydrate the skin. Not surprisingly it’s not just adult skin that gets thirsty .)
- Moisturise: please tell your child, particularly your daughters, that they don’t need anti-ageing ingredients, but rather the nourishing ingredients for their skin type.
- Spot treatments: girls might prefer to use face masks for when their skin becomes spotty, while boys might go for a simple spot zapper stick ( Spots and Stripes Super Balm works on spots, insect bites and nourishes lips as well. It also works on dry skin patches, as well as irritations). Honey is also a good ingredient to help clear the spots at bay.
Recently my son noticed that his forehead became covered in tiny bumps, as if he had a heat rash without the redness. Most children have tiny pores, so hormonal changes within their bodies, coupled with summer heat and city pollution, often lead to such ‘bumpy’ appearance of pre-teen and teen skin, causing additional emotional stress. This is the perfect time to talk skincare & importance of skin hygiene and introduce a daily cleanser into children’s skin & bodycare routine.
I ordered Spots & Stripes Gentle Cleansing Lotion for Boys (there is a separate one formulated for the girls) and not only has it helped to get rid of of the tiny bumps/spots on my son’s forehead within a couple of weeks, now he happily uses it as part of his evening routine without any reminders on my part.
A super gentle lotion is clearly effective for boys skin. With ingredients like Coconut and Fukui oils, which help lift the impurities off the skin, the skin is left balanced and soft to the touch after cleansing. There are also calming Chamomile & soothing Lavender oils in that formulation, as well as Mint – this trio of ingredients helps calm and refresh the skin, as well as keep bacteria under control. A great tip shared by Charlotte-Anne is to “tell children that if their skin feels dry or tight after cleansing, it’s a first sign that their skin’s acid mantle has been impacted.” Now is also a perfect time to gently remind children to not touch their faces unnecessarily – as much as to keep Covid away, as angst causing spots.
“If a child’s skin is still clear, they don’t need to cleanse with more than water until about 11 or 12. The minute they start showing congestion – and that can be as young as 8 or 9 years old nowadays, they should cleanse, but it can be t-zone only to start with, if the cheeks look clear.”Charlotte-Anne Fidler, founder of Spots & Stripes skincare brand for tween/teen skin
I also recently posted on my Instagram about Spots & Stripes Hydrating Face Mist for Boys that took me as a mother by surprise. When Charlotte-Anne kindly offered to send it to my son to try, I respectfully expressed my slight scepticism, thinking he wasn’t likely to use it. But I was wrong – both the scent & the idea appealed to him, however he now has to ‘share’ it with his sister, who fell under its charm too. The face mist was used during the summer heat & now that the temperatures are coming down, both children tend to use it in the evening, when they feel their skin needs some ‘moisturising’ or sometimes to refresh their faces after doing sports.
In the context of this face product, I also want to shine the spotlight on the hyaluronic acid and its use on teen skin. A lot of teenagers who get their skincare advice from social media and influencers (many of them sadly seem to give simply irresponsible advice in exchange for personal financial gain), tend to use a lot of products with HA – but they don’t need to! Especially when a high percentage (say 2%) of it in the product can cause irritation. This particular face mist only has 0.02% – for more insights into this product please have a look at my Insta post from August 12, 2020.
Reading Recommendation for Teen Skin: If you need more range recommendations for teen skin, as well as some helpful teen skin hacks, check out Imelda Burke’s ( founder of Content Beauty ) book “The Nature of Beauty”.
As to my personal recommendations, I can confidently share the following, as tried and tested by my own children, godchildren and friends children, who fit this age category:
- Weleda: particularly their Skin Food & Skin Food Light. As gentle, as it is effective.
- Skin & Tonic: a simple, but effective range of products that can help address various teen skin needs, including blemishes & sensitivity. Once the teen years are done and over with, many young adults happily continue using those wonderfully nourishing products full of natural goodness of plants and oils.
- Josh Rosebrook: while “Complete Moisture Cleanse” errs on the more expensive side for a teenager alone, it can be shared by parents and kids to make its purchase more cost-effective. Its gel-like texture is appealing and has a herb base with a nourishing coconut derived cleansing agent.
- Osmia: its Black Clay Soap Bar (unfortunately the brand doesn’t have a UK stockist at the moment & the cost of postage makes it quite restrictive) works well on teen skin. Osmia also recently launched a new mud cleanser, “Purely Gentle”, which while not formulated with teenagers in mind specifically, can be used on teen skin safely and effectively. It promises to deeply cleanse the skin with oceanic clay plus has added skincare benefits derived from skin nurturing ingredients like organic aloe, honey and chamomile.
What continues to puzzle me, both as a journalist with interest in beauty and a mother, is the lack of skincare brands targeting teenagers that are both affordable and well-formulated in terms of addressing the specific needs of teen skin. I first wrote about teen skin in 2016, roping my friends children as willing volunteers, but not a huge amount of progress has been made since then in terms of the choice of brands/products tailored specifically to teenagers. Which makes me truly appreciative of the work of brand founders like Charlotte-Anne, who innovates and creates skincare aimed at young skin, catering to both genders with equal attention to detail.
I also think that the more of us parents are vocal about the need for safe and holistic skincare for our children, the more brands are likely to respond with care in formulating nourishing and effective products for them. I hope you agree with me that the responsibility of providing our children with good habits that will benefit their skin long-term starts at home. The same goes for the choices our children make when it comes to choosing brands they use on their biggest organ – their skin.