One of the major gripes of the modern day teenager is ‘bad’ skin. Although it is important to highlight that bad skin, or acne, definitively does not mean that you’re dirty or unhygienic, there are simple steps, and good products out there that can help to combat acne, blemishes, or dull skin.
Step 1) Cleansing
If you use ANY PRODUCT on your skin, make it a cleanser. Buy a cleanser, and make it your holy grail The skin on your face collects dirt, sweat and (if you wear it) make up, throughout the day and night. It’s advisable to use a gentle cleanser twice a day (once in the morning, once at night), to wipe the gunk off your face. I use the Body Shop’s Tea Tree Foaming Cleanser (The Body Shop, £6), and I love it. For combination skin (which most teenagers have), it’s potent enough to clean your skin really effectively, but gentle enough not to strip it of its oils.
Step 2) Exfoliation
Buffing away dead skin is useful for making your face brighter, clearer and smoother. I remove my cleanser with a flannel every day, to lightly exfoliate it, but also use an exfoliating product twice a week. Sticking with the tea tree theme, I use Tea Tree Squeaky-Clean Scrub (The Body Shop, £7.50). Although it’s really important to exfoliate, there is definitely such a thing as over-exfoliating. Stripping your skin of it’s natural oils in an effort to get rid of sebum (the substance that produces acne on your face), is counter-productive.
Step 3) Toning
Toner finishes up the work that cleanser starts. It removes impurities, and makes your skin brighter and fresher. People that struggle with oil control throughout the day would appreciate the mattifying qualities of a good toner. Again, as part of the tea tree set, I’d recommend Tea Tree Skin Clearing Mattifying Toner (The Body Shop, £6). To avoid spreading any bacteria that’s on your hands onto your face, you should use a cotton ball to dab the toner on your face.
Step 4) Moisturising
In an effort not to strip your skin of oils, once you’ve cleansed, exfoliated and toned, you need to replace some of those oils. Moisturiser, contrary to what some belief, is actually very good for oil and acne prone skin, as it discourages overproduction of sebum (which causes spots). I keep it cheap and cheerful with a simple Boots Essentials Cucumber Moisturising Cream (Boots, £1.50), which I apply every night before bed.
Step 5) Extra
These four steps are the basics of a skin routine. Skin masks, eye creams, lotions, potions, oils and all sorts of other products are available to better your skin – research into what’s good for your particular skin type is key (to begin with, find out if your skin is dry, normal, combination or oily). I find that, for spots, keeping it simple with white toothpaste and a bit of Sudocrem is the best thing to do.