The teenage years are some of the most difficult moments in our lives. When you include hormones, crushes, heartbreak, and many other issues, those years feel like they’re never-ending!
With the addition of acne on top of those issues, it all works together to make us feel awful about ourselves, lowering our already waning self-esteem. The good news is our teenage years don’t last forever and if you do things right, neither will your acne. So for all you acne-ridden teenagers, there is hope! Keep reading to find out how to combat your acne!
Identifying Your Skin, Acne, and Severity Type
Before you can even begin to treat your acne, you need to know three things- your skin type, acne type, and the severity of it. Knowing these three pieces of information will help you pick the right products and treatments to aid in clearing up your acne. Here is the list of skin types you might possibly have. Below that are the acne types you need to identify and finally, we have the severity levels of acne.
- Combination Skin: Skin that is a combination of oily and flakey areas.
- Dry Skin: Skin with dry and flakey areas that may feel tight.
- Normal Skin: Skin that is well balanced.
- Oily Skin: Skin that looks shiny due to an overproduction of oils.
- Sensitive Skin: Skin with red and irritated areas that are typically painful to the touch.
- Blackheads: Visible acne that is black on the surface. Blackheads cannot be scrubbed away.
- Cysts: Clearly visible painful acne full of pus. Can cause scars.
- Nodules: A hard bump deep within the skin. They feel painful on the surface and unlike other pimples, they aren’t filled with pus.
- Papules: A red bump that is swollen with inflammation. More painful than blackheads or whiteheads, but not as painful as cysts or nodule.
- Pustules: A zit that has come to a head. It forms a white, pus-filled bubble on top.
- Whiteheads: Small, white, and under the skin.
Acne Severity Grades
- Grade I: This is the mildest form of acne. The skin may have blackheads, small pimples, and whiteheads with no inflammation present. These types of breakouts usually occur on the nose and forehead. Can be self-diagnosed and are fairly easy to treat.
- Grade II: This is the moderate form of acne. More things happen to the skin such as frequent breakouts, accompanied by papules and pustules that are sensitive to the touch. Harder to treat than mild acne, but not the most severe case.
- Grade III: The second highest severe grade. Accompanied by a large amount of inflammation and numerous papules and pustules. Nodules may become present at this grade level.
- Grade IV: The most severe form of acne. The skin at this level is filled with cysts, nodules, papules, and pustules. The acne will be spread across the face and onto other areas of the body as well. This degree of acne can cause significant scarring and could potentially disfigure the skin if left untreated. A dermatologist is definitely needed to treat this severity of acne.
Now that you have identified your skin, acne, and severity type, it’s time to start treating your acne! Sometimes just using the right range of products and having a good skincare routine is enough to help mild and moderate cases. But as the cases get more severe, the treatment gets harder. However, we will cover treatment options for all the severities in the next section.
Mild and Moderate Acne
For mild acne, over the counter medication may be the solution. These products are applied directly to the skin and should contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, salicylic acid, and sulfur. These ingredients can help fight blackheads, inflammation, and other acne issues. It may take about six to twelve weeks to see results, so be patient!
For moderate acne, over the counter medication should be your first solution. If you find that they aren’t working for you, then you should contact a dermatologist. From there they will prescribe a topical cream or gel for you to use. And in some cases, they may even prescribe an antibiotic for when your acne flares up. Take the antibiotics exactly as prescribed by the doctor for the absolute best results.
For severe acne, the best treatment option is to go to your doctor and let them treat it. And if scarring should occur as a result of your severe acne, then consult a cosmetic doctor or plastic surgeon.
Having a Skincare Routine
One way to help beat acne is to have a good skincare routine comprised of products to help control and eliminate your acne. These products need to be used on a daily basis, both morning and night. Some types can be used only a few times a week. Look for products with the ingredients mentioned earlier in the article and also include the word, non-comedogenic, which means the product won’t clog up your pores.
Girls, be mindful of the type of makeup you use. Look for makeup that is non-comedogenic so you don’t end up with clogged pores. And always make sure to take your makeup off before exercising to prevent sweaty makeup from entering and blocking your pores. Some products you can use in your daily and weekly skincare routine are:
- Cleanser (Daily)
- Moisturizer (Daily)
- Toner (Daily)
- Serum (Daily)
- Sunscreen (Daily)
- Exfoliator (Weekly)
- Face Masks (Weekly)
Another thing that can benefit you, in addition to a good skincare routine, is staying hydrated. Water helps purify our bodies by flushing the toxins out. And unlike soda, it doesn’t contain sugar which can be a huge contributor to acne breakouts.
If drinking just plain water isn’t for you, then try spearmint tea. It has been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties and reduce testosterone levels.
Also, maintaining a healthy and well-balanced diet can help with acne breakouts. Living on a diet of soda and sugary treats isn’t healthy and will make you break out even worse! So cut down on the sugary drinks and snacks and start drinking more antioxidant-boosting drinks, eating those leafy greens, getting those omega-3 fatty acids in, and all the vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients you need to stay healthy!
Other Things You Can Do
Besides the solutions mentioned above, there are smaller things you can do to help prevent acne treatments. These things don’t take much time, but can help make a big difference! So here are five additional steps you can take to help prevent acne breakouts.
- Change Pillowcases Regularly: Unwashed pillowcases can lead to a bacteria buildup that can negatively affect your skin. Aim to wash your pillowcases are least once a week to help prevent breakouts.
- Keep Phone Screen Clean: We use our phones several times a day and we use them in many places that are full of germs and bacteria. We are constantly touching them to text, make phone calls, or play app games. So, pressing that dirty screen to your face when making a call just rubs all that gross stuff against your face! Wiping your phone down with an alcohol wipe daily helps stop that. Also, using your speakerphone or headphones helps keep all the germs and bacteria away from your face.
- Change Face Towel Often: Dirty towels harbor bacteria and introduce new bacteria to your skin which will lead to increased acne breakouts. Switch out your towels on a weekly basis to help prevent the spread of bacteria to your face.
- Keep Your Hands Off Your Face: Our hands aren’t always the cleanest. With dirt under our fingernails and bacteria and germs on our fingers, picking or squeezing a pimple can lead to it spreading or getting infected further. Bacteria is easily transferred, so avoid touching your face as much as possible. Also, avoid resting your face on your hands or your arms to lower the risk of bacteria being spread.
- Save the Toothpaste for Your Teeth: We’ve all heard how toothpaste can help with pimples. But have you heard that using toothpaste can lead to further irritation and dryness when used as an acne treatment? So skip the toothpaste and try using salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide for spot treatment. And for an all-natural spot treatment, use tea tree oil, which is known for its antibacterial properties.
Being a teenager is hard enough without worrying about our appearances. These are our formative years, so every moment is important to us. By getting our acne under control, we can feel happy and confident, making these some of the best years of our life. So teens, take your acne seriously and do what you can to prevent it!