Health Makes More Healthy

Skin Care

The A-Z Guide to Teen Skin

A is for acne, the bane of any teen’s life! Bad news is it comes with the territory of being a teen. Good news is most teens will lose the acne once they pass those teen years. Not exactly reassuring when you are at that crucial self-conscious stage and you are covered in lumps and bumps! Basic deal is that acne is caused when your sebaceous glands (oil glands), which make oil to keep your hair and skin moist, go overboard and produce too much oil. Your skin can also go into overdrive shedding cells (which it does heaps – about a million little cells are shed from your body every minute!). The combo of too much oil and too many little dead cells leads to some major clogging of the pores. Bacteria gets trapped and, da da, you have spots! These can either be white heads, blackheads or the more severe hard nodules. There are some basics that can help. Avoid greasy food and go for a healthy diet instead. Wash your face twice a day with a gentle facial wash free of Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (like Bellaboo All That Facial Wash for clean, wicked skin). Use non-comodogenic, oil-free or non-acnegenic makeup or sunscreen. Keep hairsprays or gels away from your face as they can also clog pores. Keep long hair away from the face and wash it frequently. Avoid squeezing or picking spots. Steer clear of harsh chemical creams to treat acne as often they over-stimulate the skin causing it to create more oil and more problems!

B is for blackheads. Blackheads are caused when the pore gets clogged but stays open. The top surface darkens and you are left with a blackhead. To fight blackheads, make sure you use a gentle and natural cleanser to keep skin clean. Exfoliate twice weekly to keep those dead cells away from open pores. Make sure you use a gentle exfoliator, as anything too harsh will only over-stimulate skin. Try putting a warm towel on the blackhead area and then apply gentle pressure as this may unclog the pores. Do not pick or squeeze.

C is for cleanse. Make this your daily mantra and it will save your skin! Cleansing skin and using the right type of cleanser is the number one thing you can do for it. Alkaline cleansers or ones that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) strip surface oil from the skin, leaving it in need of more oil. The oil glands respond by pumping out more oil to compensate, leading to skin that is out of balance and prone to problems. Just do a quick check of ingredients on the pack and if you see these two then give it a miss! SLS is also used as an engine degreaser so it doesn’t take a degree in cosmetics to figure that it can’t be that gentle on your skin! Use an SLS-free cleanser with natural ingredients – it will do the job gently! Cleanse skin morning and night.

D is for dermatologist. If you suffer from really bad breakouts then be off to a dermatologist. There is no point in trying every potion and lotion in an attempt to blitz zits ‘cos putting on all that stuff will probably only make your skin worse. The more you over-stimulate spotty skin the more your skin is likely to try and produce more oil to compensate for all the drying effects of products. A dermatologist has made skin their life’s work, so they know what they’re talkin’ bout! They will professionally analyse your skin and give advice about what you need to do to get your skin back to normal.

E is for exfoliate. Exfoliating skin is a must as it removes dead cells from the skin’s surface. It’s an instant way of refreshing skin’s appearance and also stimulating cell renewal, so that fresh, plump cells are brought to the surface. Avoid abrasive scrubs on problem skin. If you have pimples, blemishes or acne, these can be easily opened up or irritated with the abrasive particles contained in some exfoliators. If you don’t have problem skin, a harsh exfoliator can create problems by over-stimulating the skin sebum, resulting in over-production of oil. Exfoliating is a vital step in a skin care regimen, but you should always opt for gentle exfoliation.

F is for facial. It’s a luxurious way to pamper yourself. It can be done by a professional or you can give yourself one at home. A beauty therapist will analyse your skin and pick a facial to suit your skin. It will usually involve deep cleansing, exfoliating, extraction (professional term for squeezing zits); massage, mask and intense moisturisation. Now, don’t expect miracle results. All that work on your face can actually bring zits to the surface but the facial does work to balance and remedy skin so that after regular treatments you will notice the difference. Advantage of going to a therapist is that they know what they are doing. If you choose to do it at home make sure you know what you are doing and use only natural, gentle products.

G is for gorgeous skin and there are some simple things you can do to get it. Eat healthy – if you put rubbish into your body it will come out as rubbish in the form of zits. Get plenty of sleep – your skin does its best work when it is at rest. Drink plenty of water; it keeps your body hydrated. Don’t smoke, it will add years to your skin age. We’re not going to get all rental on you but don’t binge drink. A heavy session will dehydrate skin. Not to mention, that being off your face is soooo unattractive!

H is for hypoallergenic and that means a cosmetic that does not produce allergic reactions. But, as how allergic you are can vary depending on your sensitivity, it is difficult to state that any product is 100% hypoallergenic. Usually when this term is used it means that a product is fragrance-free and uses very mild preservatives.

I is for in-grown hair and that means ouch! Usually happens on areas that are waxed or shaved. They are caused when the shaved hair gets trapped inside the hair follicle and grows into the skin. This then gets infected and you get a raised lump that is quite painful. Whatever you do DON’T use a product with alcohol in it as its drying effect will only make it worse. Exfoliating skin where you shave can help prevent the problem. You can use a gentle face scrub on the area. Don’t shave too close to razor bumps. To remove, lift the ingrown hair out gently with tweezers but don’t pluck as it will only make the hair regrow deeper.

J is for JBUG (Just Between Us Girls) and that’s what your skin care and beauty secrets should be all about! If you discover a fabbo product that just makes your skin look amazing or the best mascara, lip gloss or whatevz, then share it with your boos!

K is for khol – a must have cosmetic staple in any teen makeup bag! You don’t have to spend a fortune either and it gives a really defined line and feel soft and smooth going on.

L is for loofah and it’s a natural wonder for exfoliating the body. They are so cheap and you can get them at chemists, department stores and bargain shops. Simply use in the shower all over your body and you will step out with glowing, smooth as silk skin. Just don’t use it on your face as it’s way too harsh.

M is for moisturise – the third step in your essential skin care routine. Because our skin is exposed to daily environmental stresses – sun, smoke, pollutants, highly processed foods – it is being ravaged on a daily basis and needs a good line of defence against these assaults. This is where a good moisturiser steps in. It works to protect the skin against attack, and to nourish, replenish and feed the skin with essential nutrients. Even the most oily skin needs to moisturise.

N is for non-comedogenic which is a term for cosmetics that means it won’t clog pores. However, the term can be misleading. Ingredients are tested on the ears of rabbits and there is some question about the reliability of these tests. Plus, people’s reactions vary so much that even products that have used non-pore-clogging ingredients can still cause a reaction. There is no official list of non-comedogenic ingredients and no standards, so it is difficult to be confident in products that make this claim.

O s for oily skin and it’s a condition common to many teens. Basically the teen years, when our hormones are all over the place, is a time when we produce excess oil. Oily skin looks glossy, especially in the T-zone. Using the right products is the best way to counteract oily skin. Cleanse with a gentle cleanser that does not dry the skin, morning and night. Over-cleansing will only dry out the skin and make your oil glands work harder! Remember, the thicker the cream the more likely it will clog pores so look for one that is light and fast-absorbing.

P is for pimples, the collective word for spots, blackheads and whiteheads. What is there to say? They are the pits and we just want them blitzed! Cause is as per acne, white heads and blackheads – too much oil, dead skin cells, blocked pores and you get eruptions.

Q is for question and that’s what you should do when you go to buy beauty stuff. It’s your money (or parents) so spend it wisely. Know your stuff and you can suss out good skin care from bad. Ask if a product contains Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) or if it’s been tested on animals or whether it is chemical or natural-based. Ask questions and be rewarded with products that will work for you!

R is for rosacea. This is a skin condition that many mistake for acne but it’s a condition all on its own. It’s a reddening of the skin that can then get worse and be red and lumpy. There is no known cause. You basically look as if you are permanently embarrassed and often you can’t even use cosmetics to cover up as they can make it worse! Some things are known to trigger the condition and avoiding those can help. They include: alcohol, spicy foods, coffee and tea, getting too hot, and over-exposure to sun. Seabuckthorn Berry Oil is an all natural ingredient taken from the berries of a tree that grows wild in the Himalayas. Research has shown promising results with this oil on rosacea.

S is for sun care. You might think a tan is cool now but when you are 20 and look 30 or 30 and look 40 you may regret baking yourself. Seriously, the sun is the most ageing factor on skin. So be sun smart, don’t sun bake, and wear an SPF 30+ and hat when out in the sun. You should also start to think about wearing a moisturiser with inbuilt sun protection. You can buy moisturisers with inbuilt SPF30+.

T is for T-zone and it’s the area including your forehead and nose – shaped like a T. It’s also known as combination skin as you experience more than one skin type. For example, you could have dry skin everywhere except in your T-zone. The cause of a T-zone is the same as that for oily or spotty skin – an over-production of oil (sebum) in that area. To treat, cleanse skin twice daily, using a gentle cleanser. Use a light moisturiser that works to balance skin.

U is for ultraviolet rays and there are three types – UVA, UVB and UVC. UVA and UVB are the only types that are harmful to the skin as UVC does not penetrate the ozone layer and doesn’t reach the earth. UVB rays are mostly responsible for most cases of sunburn. They are shorter than UVA rays and only reach the surface layer of skin. The UVA ray damage is deeper as the rays are longer and reach the inner layer of skin. They are responsible for causing skin to lose its elasticity, which leads to ageing. Both UVA and UVB rays can lead to skin cancer. Melanoma is usually caused by UVA rays. Non-melanoma cancer is usually caused by UVB rays. Just remember that brown tan colour is your skin’s protective reaction to injury.

V is for vanity which equals boring. Nothing worse than someone who obsesses about the way they look and can’t pass a mirror without checking themselves out! Confidence is cool but vanity is naff. No need to obsess about the way you look – you are who you are and if you are happy about that you will be confident and that’s heaps more attractive than someone who thinks they are hot!

W is for white head, which is a small white mass under the surface of the skin, caused by a build up of sebum.

X is for xenophoric, which means someone who celebrates difference – beauty is in everyone and we should all take xenophoric pleasure in that!

Y is for youth – enjoy it and make the most of it!

Z is for zits – just another name given to the bane of a teen’s life!