Beauty Buzz: Acne control for your tweens and teens

By Andi Douglas, nwaMotherlode beauty editor and mama of 3

Before picking my topic for the week, as part of a running gag in our house, I asked my husband what I should write about for my Beauty Buzz. For the first couple of years he occasionally surprised me with a topic, something he’d clearly seen on a Maybelline commercial, of course, but still. But that well has long run dry and and I just get a weary side eye at this point.

This time my barely a teenager son piped up with “how to get rid of pimples.” Bless his sweet little hormonal heart. He has had two whole pimples and is obviously not a fan. He was also not amused when I asked if I should put this detail in his baby book.

Since he is only dealing with the occasional blemish at this point, my goal is to establish a simple routine that will address those and not a full regimen of skin care. If it progresses to acne, which is a chronic or long-term condition involving multiple puss-filled pimples, then we will consult a dermatologist to explore other options and I recommend you do the same. My expertise falls under a fellow mom who wants my son to feel as confident as possible.

First step, we enforced the importance of not picking at or trying to pop a pimple. Not only can that cause scarring but it spreads bacteria which can lead to even more breakouts. If your child is a chronic picker or is accidentally scratching at night, consider putting a Band-aid over the offending bump when they’re at home.

Since pimples develop from a buildup of excess oil and dead skin cells, cleansing and exfoliating is a must for preventing future breakouts. If your young teen is anything like mine, any additional steps in the mornings or even at bedtime are accepted with a similar reaction to bamboo shoots under the fingernails. So an all-inclusive wipe that he can keep on his nightstand was a great first step. The Neutrogena Cleansing Wipes-Pink Grapefruit are both gentle and contain salicylic acid which is a perfect exfoliator.

For sensitive skin, the One Step Moisture Up Pad from COSRX not only fights blemishes and redness but has a slight texture for extra exfoliating. Once again K-beauty has come through with a great product in a cute package.

For a more affordable option, especially if your kid is the worst at closing a package and you know they’re going to dry out, the Equate Beauty Exfoliating Cleansing Wet Towelettes use plant extracts and a textured wipe as a natural exfoliant.

Cleansing daily is of course the best way to fend off breakouts but making it through adolescence without any offending spots only happens to the “perfect” girl in a teen rom-com. Having a good spot treatment on hand will help clear up a blemish quickly and hopefully keep it from growing if caught early.

At the first sign of the first pimple, I ordered a package of the Rael Acne Healing Patches from Amazon. Each package contains a sheet each of two different sized patches that contain hydro colloid. It’s a magic patch, basically, that protects the pimple while absorbing puss and oil. These are a cult favorite that I see in almost every beauty must-have list I read.

Now, even though Amazon Prime is a modern day miracle, it still takes a couple of days to receive a package so I had to hit the store for an immediate solution. Holy infinite choices, Batman!

Differin Gel acne treatment is a heavy-hitter that used to only be available as a prescription but was approved for over-the-counter sales a few years ago. Because it is strong, I recommend adding a moisturizer to the skin care regimen and a sunscreen because your teens skin will be more sensitive to light.

For something more gentle and natural, try Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solution Spot Treatment Cream. It has great reviews and helps keep harsh chemicals away from sensitive skin for as long as possible.

Since people’s skin chemistry is as different as people themselves, it make take a little trial and error to find the perfect combination of products, so it’s nice to find options that don’t break the bank.

This is a very basic, beginners guide to skin care for the blossoming teen. Now if anyone can recommend a topical ointment for treating deafening silences from a stoic boy I would appreciate it. Tween-hood is preparing me well for the hormonal rages to come from my daughters but my son has figured out that the silent treatment is my kryptonite…my mom-tonite? I’m officially trying to make that a thing.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend with your families and your kids brought home plenty of the “good chocolate” to steal. Happy Spring, mommas!

Andi Douglas always makes us laugh and is the mama of three especially cute kiddos. She loves talking about hair and make-up, so send her a question about either of those two topics and she’ll be happy to help a mama out. Email her at mamasATnwaMotherlodeDOTcom.