How to treat teen acne
Spots, blemishes and pesky pimples: all types of acne treatments for teenage skin, from prevention to cure
There’s also #acneisnormal – a campaign that has been gaining momentum on Instagram, and has had a positive impact on the mental strategy of dealing with problem skin. After all, it can be so debilitating for those also going through those tricky hormone-ridden years. Model Kendall Jenner posted an open letter to fans saying: 'I had such bad acne when I was younger. It completely ruined my self-esteem – I wouldn't even look at people when I talked to them. I felt like such an outcast; when I spoke, it was with my hand covering my face.'
No matter how many pimples you may have, you also don’t have to live with them. Read on to find the best acne treatments and the brilliant teenage skincare routines you can find in the capital, that are both active, yet gentle to delicate young skin.
THE TEEN ACNE TREATMENT PLAN
By Sara Waterman, Head Aesthetician at Young LDN
Culture Whisper: What are the treatment options for tween and acne-prone teen skin?
Sara Waterman: Teenage acne and congestion are often due to pollution and hormones, which is often exacerbated by things like exam stress. Teenagers can also suffer from dry skin as a result of environmental and genetic factors, as well as dehydration. There are multiple causes and types of acne and subsequently, there is no universal approach to it and therefore each and every one of us needs our own bespoke treatment program.
At Young LDN, we believe that the best way to treat acne is through proven combination therapy, which is why we have a bespoke ‘Acne Treatment’. The first treatment we usually offer is the Young LDN Signature Facial, which is an educational facial, teaching 12-19-year-olds how to cleanse and look after their skin and establish a good skincare routine to follow at home, with also an option for extractions. Prevention is key, and it is about getting the basics right from the start.
Young LDN Bespoke Acne Treatment, from £78
Where: 228 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London W11 2RH
Young LDN acne treatment consists of the following, depending on what is best suited for your skin: deep cleansing, extractions, dermaplaning, LED light therapy, peels; and advanced treatment options include stronger peels, laser and oxygen treatments, all performed in a contemporary, friendly spa space. Plus they can deal with post-acne scarring too.
THE BEST TEEN SKINCARE REGIME
by Charlotte-Anne Fidler, Founder Spots & Stripes
CW: What are the problems city-dwelling teenagers face when it comes to their skin?
CAF: The teens are a tricky time for skin. The rise in teenage hormones means the sebaceous glands up their production of sebum, and, because sebum is a food source for the bacteria that live on the skin, the bacteria multiply and you end up with blocked pores, blackheads and, eventually, acne. And we're finding that this can start happening as early as 10!
CW: Why does teen skin need a specific range?
CAF: Traditionally, Teen skincare has been all about acne-bashing. In other words, throwing all the (sometimes harsh) ingredients you've got at the skin to dry out those spots and wash away that grease. I'm completely against this approach. My belief – and the belief of some serious dermatologists – is that teen and tween skin HAS to be treated very gently, particularly if it's acne-prone.
That means using a cleanser that leaves the skin completely balanced (if a teen or tween is using a wash that makes their skin feel 'tight, that's NOT a good thing – it means that their skin is unbalanced and unbalanced, irritated skin produces more sebum...). Our Gentle Cleansing Lotion is Virgin Coconut Oil based, which seems counter-intuitive when you want to reduce the oil on the surface, but it leaves the skin completely balanced and is also full of ingredients that will reduce inflammation, zap those bacteria and generally soothe unhappy skin.
CW: What advice would you give to parents?
CAF: Don't reach for the acne-bashers as soon as you see the odd spot or blackheads forming. Avoid wash off foaming cleansers that contain harsh surfactants that will dry their skin. Start them young on a good cleansing routine with a gentle cleanser – twice a day, morning and night, not more than that. Good, gentle cleansing is your first line of defence.
Then, if they do get spots, treat them gently, too – use a spot balm or cream that takes care of the skin as well as zapping the spot (our award-winning Super Balm is so healing it can be used on chapped lips, dry skin and bites, too!). If the acne persists, a combination of gentle cleansing and an antibiotic cream is usually effective. And look at diet. Teens often see a big difference if they cut down on the dairy they consume. And there is a definite link between a high-glycemic diet and acne – so keep an eye on chocolate consumption and the amount of refined carbohydrates they eat.
CW: What are the key ingredients to look for when wanting to combat pimples or acne?
CAF: For us, it's ingredients like Naiouli, which is like Tea Tree Oil, but much gentler (and less smelly!). And Kanuka, a brilliant, blemish bashing-oil that's an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory powerhouse. We also use Myrrh, which is a natural super-power. It manages to be antiseptic, antifungal, antioxidant and it moisturises and soothes, too! Notice how most of these ingredients are oils – and they are often in a base of Virgin Coconut Oil. You don't have to strip and dry teen/tween skin to keep it clear!
The brilliant blemish busters that won’t damage the dermis
1. Spots & Stripes Gentle Cleansing Lotion for Girls, £13
Chamomile, mint and lavender restore and refresh without stripping the dermis.
2. Spots & Stripes Spot Zapper, £14
Essential oils target both bites and blemishes.
3. Skyn Iceland Blemish Dots, £20
A targeted treatment with blemish busting salicylic acid for persistent pimples.
4. Good Things Deep Pore Cleanser & Toner Anti Blemish, £4.99
Brilliant budget brand for keeping blemishes and spots in check.
5. My Clarins Clear-Out Targets Imperfections, £15
Vegan-friendly, eco-packaging and reduces redness within 24-hours.
6. Dermalogica Clean Start Oil Clearing Matte Moisturiser at Harvey Nichols, £19.50
Hydrates without making you break out.