I am not much of an expert on teen skincare ( my teens are long gone and my children aren’t there yet ) but the subject kept on rearing its head, with many girlfriends asking for recommendations on what to use on their teenagers skin. Girls of course tend to observe their mums and ask for their creams ( girls, please don’t rush and enjoy the natural glow that your skin has, there will be a time when you will look back and wonder why you didn’t appreciate it ) and boys often appear disinterested yet seem to ask about getting rid of pimples or the best way to shave, in order not to get rashes or small cuts.
As I started my research on the subject I didn’t know much, but then brands started emerging and recommendations from colleagues poured in, making me breath a sign of relief that there is actually something for the teenagers to use.
Skin is our biggest organ and personally I hold the opinion that we shouldn’t overload it. We have hormones in our food & water and chemicals imbedded in the materials from which our clothes are made all which can interrupts our body’s hormonal balance. So my focus was and is on the brands that are natural, that won’t disrupt your child’s body functions and will work alongside their skin in order to solve the problems that they might be experiencing. Ultimately, no matter what the age or gender, we want beautiful, healthy skin and that is what is at the centre of this mini-series. I read a lot, asked experts for opinions and researched the brands, so let me start with some of the brands that you might consider if you are a teenager or a mother of teenager who is asking for advice.
Nourish Skincare ( Balance range )
Elements ( formulated for boys and men )
Of course there are many others, but the ones listed above are the ones that came on my radar and that I feel happy to put forward for your considerations and would happily use on my own children. Remember that as Bobby Brown says in her book ‘Teen Beauty‘ ‘it’s never too early to start caring for your skin’.
When we enter our teens our hormones kick in with a vengeance ( hair starts growing in armpits and groin and on boys faces; girls start having their periods ). The moods change and sulkiness and grumpiness emerge on a major scale. The skin revs up its oil production, leading to pimples, blackheads and acne. Before we hit puberty the skin’s PH tends to be more alkaline, making the skin more prone to infections and irritations.
It is also important to keep in mind that it is never too early to start protecting the skin against the damage that is caused by strong sun rays and the environmental pollutants.
Looking back on my own teenage years and observing modern teenagers ( so much smarter, taller and more mature than my generation was ) some things haven’t changed and that is the approach that I will definitely take with my own children:
– Make sure you drink enough fluids, particularly water. Please don’t drink fizzy drinks, like Coca-Cola or energizing drinks, they will have a negative impact on your digestion, your teeth and will make you feel more jittery. Try coconut water or adding your favourite sliced fruit or veg to water ( oranges, strawberry, blueberries, cucumbers, mint, ginger – it will add freshness and make plain water more enticing). Herbal teas with ice, fresh juices and smoothies in particular might appeal.
– Eat a varied diet, with different food groups and colours. Don’t look in the direction of ‘fat-free’ labels, instead focus on the food that will help you nourish your body and assist the active growth process you are going through. Women are more prone to osteoporosis in later life, so do make sure you have enough calcium in your diet if you are a girl. We are all different and unique, so the best thing you can do at this stage of your life is to get to know your own body and what fuels it. It will serve you well in the future!
– Exercise. There is so much choice that you are bound to find something that will appeal to you. It will help you be healthy and fit, help flush the toxins and will give you a healthy glow that we adults secretly envy and try to emulate with blushers !
– Wear sun protection. Sadly skin cancer is on the rise and while we all need Vitamin D, sun rays are much stronger nowadays ( that’s where the term ‘anti-ageing’ is appropriate .) And please remember that red skin means your skin has burnt and can lead to a higher risk of skin cancer in the future.
– Choose the right skincare & regime for YOU. We are all different and there is no one product or brand that fits us all. Personal hygiene is important, as your hormones change you might end up smelling of sweat, so make sure you cleanse your skin in the shower and allow it to breath – it will make you feel so much better. You will probably need a cleanser ( chose based on your skin type and personal preference, a toner ( it will help you make sure that your skin is truly clean, as well as re-fresh it ) and a moisturiser ( again, choose according to your skin type and needs in the moment in time ). Your probably don’t need a mask (unless you want to have fun with it; when I was growing up my girlfriends and I made fresh masks made from fruit, oats, sour cream, honey) and if you choose to use an exfoliator make sure you choose a delicate formula that won’t be abrasive and scratch your skin.
However, as I am not an expert on teen skincare & routine, who better to ask as the wonderfully generous and knowledgeable Margo Marrone, who has founded Organic Pharmacy and who I am very lucky to call on for advice on all things holistic health and beauty.
According to Margo, ‘the most important thing to teach both is how to cleanse. That might sound silly but teach them at an early age and they will never forget. Whatever cleanser they choose, learning how to take it off with a warm muslin cloth is the key! But boys and girls need a slightly different routine because of make-up; otherwise its the same.’
”In the morning cleanse with Organic Pharmacy Peppermint Face Wash – dampen the face, massage a little all over and remove with a muslin cloth, soaked in warm water. Follow with Manuka Face Cream – it is very light in texture but mighty powerful due to inclusion of tea tree, manuka, lavender and echinacea, giving your skin antiseptic, healing and anti-bacterial properties in one bottle. If you get spots, then apply OP Blemish Gel on the actual spots you might have. In the evening follow the same routine, but for girls who wear make-up use Carrot Butter Cleanser first and follow it with a Peppermint Face wash. After cleansing you can use Purifying Seaweed Clay Mask twice a week, followed by a moisturiser and Blemish stick, if needed.”
Last but not least enjoy this wonderful time of your life. Make friends with people who make you feel good about yourself. Listen to your parents, at least sometimes – they aren’t being boring or repetitive, they have been teenagers, so their advice comes from experience that as yet, you don’t have. Explore the world but try not to make mistakes you might regret later.Try to be you and not emulate other people. Have fun with fashion and with following your own, unique path.