Teen Acne

The teenage years are hard enough but then you add the complications of breakouts and it just seems unfair. Hormones are to blame. Around the age of 13, although I have seen earlier, the skin starts to change…fast and it usually begins in the t-zone. It can almost feel like it happens overnight!

Boys generally experience more acne during the teen years than girls do because of the testosterone that can over-stimulate the sebaceous glands. Girls usually have fewer breakouts during these years but are more likely to deal with breakouts later because of the monthly cycle. Sometimes women are still dealing with breakouts past their 40’s. I don’t think we ever really get a break!

Here are some tips to help manage breakouts. But please remember that it can take time for you to see improvement. Usually there is a difference in how it looks and feels after a few days because once you are using products that are good for the skin, the skin then reacts in a healthy way. But big improvements will take longer. The more consistent you are, the better the results. At the same time, we are still fighting hormones though.

  1. Use a gentle cleanser. Teenage skin is more sensitive and so it’s important to use products that are non-drying. I realize that this is the opposite of what is advertised but trust me. Most of the acne cleansers you can find at Target or anything over the counter, including ProActiv uses harsh detergents that strip the skin, irritate it and causes further inflammation. I actually recommend two different cleansers because you want a second cleanser to use a few times a week at night that contains salicylic acid. Too much of that can dry the skin. Salicylic acid reduces acne-causing bacteria and oil, exfoliates and helps to lessen post-breakout redness. It does all of that without irritating the skin.
  2. Alcohol Free Toner– This is an important step that people either skip or use but don’t know why. Toner helps to remove any residual cleanser left on the skin but also is the first step to hydrating the skin. There are different toners to use and depending on the severity of the breakouts or even how motivated someone is to clear the skin, I might recommend 2 different toners. Just like the cleansers, you would use one toner for everyday and another a few nights a week to hit those breakouts hard. Again, the second toner can’t be used all the time because it will dry out the skin.
  3. Wear a sunscreen everyday, even when the sun is not out. This is a hard one for teens, I have found. They don’t care about aging yet. I know I didn’t. My goal was to be as tan as possible every summer. Let me tell you, I regret it. I wish I had listened to my mom when she told me to wear sunscreen. The one I do recommend for the face contains zinc oxide. It calms the skin, protects it and can help fade the post-breakout marks. Now since teens rarely care about sun damage, let’s focus on the two benefits that sunscreen can offer those suffering from acne or just breakouts.
    1. Look for a sunscreen with zinc oxide. It can be anti-inflammatory when it’s on the skin, which makes it perfect for calming red and inflamed blemishes. And did you know that zinc oxide is the main ingredient that’s used in diaper rash creams?
    2. The other reason to use sunscreen is that it can help with the fading of discoloration after the blemishes are gone. Now stay with me while I explain this. Acne scars are caused from the inflammation of the dermis layer of the skin. The inflammation then triggers the pigment cells, which is why you see red and purple discoloration. When the skin is exposed to UV light (365 days a year), that keeps the pigment cells awake and thus preventing the blemish scar from fading as easily. If you wear a sunscreen with zinc oxide that is lightweight and non-pore clogging, it can protect those damaged cells and allow them to heal properly so the skin can become even-toned faster.

So wearing sunscreen becomes more than just worrying about sun damage. It can save your skin from those acne scars and blemishes.

  1. Moisturizer– I recommend using a lightweight one with soothing benefits. This will protect your skin and also keep it hydrated, which is so important with oily skin. It’s all about balance.
  2. Weekly Mask– I think masks are fun. When I was a teenager I used to rummage through my sisters cabinet, she had all the fun stuff because she was older, and so I would play with her masks. Unfortunately we have very different skin but I didn’t understand that then so I just had fun using them! A great mask for acne prone skin is one that will unclog pores, rebalance the skin and soothe irritation, inflammation and redness. Not all masks are created equal so make sure you don’t use one that just dries out the skin. I posted one that I love for acne and breakouts.
  3. See an Esthetician– What I can do in the treatment room is much different than what you can do at home. I have stronger products and I know how to use them gently so the skin is not damaged. Extractions are another reason to see an Esthetician. Everything I do in a facial leading up to extractions is to make it easier to do them. It’s easier than you think to damage those pores. This may not be the favorite part of a facial but it’s necessary to achieve healthy skin. And I’ve actually been told that I am pretty gentle. Seeing an Esthetician is also a good reminder to stay on track with home care. You can’t lie to an Esthetician. We know whether you have been taking care of your skin or not.
  4. Some parents might opt to take their teen to a Dermatologist. This will likely mean that a prescription will be given. I’m not against that route because I think some have it so bad, it’s the best way to clear the skin and usually the fastest. I would still recommend seeing an Esthetician because then the teen will learn how to properly care for the skin too. A quick fix is never the answer and they may pay for that later. Most of the prescription products are really drying to the skin and so using good products become even more important. Damage that is done at 15 won’t show up until later and then it’s too late.

For the most part, my teen clients are using the same products but the frequency of the stronger products might be different. When you see me or even do a consultation (if you don’t live in the area), I am available for questions or concerns. My goal is for you to have healthy skin. The most important thing to remember is that it takes time. Teenagers are impatient and they want results now. Be patient and it will be worth it.

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Are You Taking Care of Your Chest?

I have a lot of older clients that always ask me about their chest. They are concerned about sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles. Once the damage is done, it is much more difficult to treat the skin…but not impossible. Start caring for your skin now! The younger you are, the more you can do to prevent the damage. Below I have listed options for preventing and correcting this often neglected area.

1. Exfoliation. Just like your face, you body needs to be exfoliated to get rid of the dry skin so that products can properly penetrate and do the job correctly. Dead skin is an unwanted barrier. Unlike your face, you can exfoliate this area more often. I recommend using a Konjac Body Sponge every other day and a Glycolic Cleanser about 2-3x a week.

bath-sponges

2. Treat the Skin. If you are using serums on your face, then apply them on your neck and chest too. Immediately after a shower.

3. Grapeseed Oil. This is great from head to toe. I personally use it all over my body and my skin is super soft. Even better, this is a great product for aging. Grapeseed Oil should be used at night after you get out of the shower.

grape-seed-oil-6oz

4. SPF. Always, always, always wear sunscreen. This is true for your face and body. Don’t just extend it from your face, hoping it is enough for your neck and chest. Use enough that you are fully covered.

Hydration is the key to making fine lines and wrinkles look less obvious. The drier your skin is (anywhere on the body), the more you will see what you don’t want to show the world.

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What is That Rough, Bumpy Skin?

Do you have rough, bumpy (usually red) skin on the back of your arms? This is called Keratosis Pilaris or chicken skin. It is very common and harmless but annoying. They are caused by dead skin blocking the hair follicles.

Solution- Use a Chemical and Physical Exfoliant. Do this 2-3x a week.

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Eye Cream. Should You Use One?

This is a common question and for many years I have said that everyone should use one. I have since changed my mind. I still see the value in them and still recommend them but now there are conditions.

The reason you use an eye cream is to hydrate the eye area to help with dark circles, puffiness and/or fine lines. This is either a preventative or corrective. The eye area is 7x thinner than your face so it does require something different than your moisturizer so there is definitely a benefit to an eye cream.

I stopped recommending them to everyone because if you are using serums in your routine then I don’t think you need another product for your eyes. Of course, this only applies if you are using the correct serums but I make sure that my clients are using the right ones so they aren’t missing out on anything.

The ingredients in the serums are small enough to penetrate into the eye area and give you what you need. I don’t know why an additional cream/serum is needed. I used myself as the guinea pig for this experiment. I stopped using an eye cream to see if I would see a difference and I haven’t. The serums I use are hydrating and will help with fine lines.

Another reason to start using an eye cream is to firm up the area during the day. You can also mix a little eye cream with your under eye concealer to make it less drying.

Now, if you aren’t using serums (or the right ones) then you MUST wear an eye cream/serum. Your eyes age the fastest and are the most abused so protect the area now! I suggest people start as young as 18-20.

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Acne Scars. How to Get Rid of Them.

I was recently asked how to get rid of those pesky marks left on your skin from a blemish. You know the ones…they are dark, red and purple and stick around for weeks and sometimes months.
It becomes dark because the inflammation from the blemish triggers the skin to produce pigment cells. Even if you didn’t pick at the blemish, it can still leave a scar (even though it will fade in time, it’s still considered a scar) because it stretches and damages the surrounding tissue.

1. The most important thing to do: Wear sunscreen. Every single day. There are no exceptions to this. Any exposure to UV rays will stimulate the melanin cells, making it more red and darker for a longer time (maybe forever).

2. Using a chemical and physical exfoliant will help stimulate new, healthy cells while removing the scarred, damaged cells.

3. Vitamin C will brighten the skin and help correct the problem.

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Teen Acne. Results Are Possible.

I see a lot of teens in my treatment room and they all complain about acne and breakouts. I always know the ones that will listen to my suggestions and follow my advice vs the ones that will still do their own thing mixed in with my help. I do what I can and always hope for the best.

Sometimes what I recommend the first time may not work or it may not be strong enough which is why communication is so important. Instead of deciding to change it yourself, it is important to talk to me (or whoever is treating you) and let them know your concerns. It may be something simple but when you make the decision it becomes more difficult to figure out what went wrong. Mixing and matching your routine just doesn’t work.

Honesty and consistency is vital. I don’t think people are deciding to just lie to me, but I do think they leave out information. It makes it difficult to properly treat the situation and more than likely, the problem will not go away. Self-treating wasn’t working  and that is why the client came to me, right?

A big difference in only 4 months!

Patience is something else people need to have when it comes to teen acne. It is not something, for the most part, that goes away in a month. It takes time. Hormones are raging! I can’t control those but I can help with better skin. I will always be honest though. If I don’t see any improvement, I will say that. For each person that has followed my advice, has seen improvement though. Their skin gets healthier. Breakouts don’t always go away because, remember, hormones cannot be controlled on my end. And I am also not a fan of acne meds except for more extreme cases. I definitely don’t think it should be the go-to treatment but rather a last resort.

This is what results look like when YOU want results. It takes time each morning and night (not a lot) and a few other things depending on your lifestyle but if your skin is effecting your self-esteem, it should be worth it, right?

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Be Sun Smart This Summer, 2013

Protecting your skin from the sun is more than just wearing sunscreen. Here are some tips to save your skin this summer and keep you looking young!

1. Even if you have damaged skin, it is never too late to start doing everything you can to protect yourself. Having the mentality that you have already done the damage so it doesn’t matter it not the way to go. Things can get worse!

2. Wear sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. It should say it on the label on the glasses. Large-framed, close-ftting frames are best to provide ultimate protection to your eyes. The skin is much thinner therefore it needs to be extra protected. If you can, have an extra pair in your car so that you never are without.

3. Sunscreens that protect against UVB and UVA rays are most important. The sunscreen factor is only for UVB rays. Look for these ingredients to block UVA rays… avobenzone (Parsol 1789), octocrylene, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, oxybenzone and Mexoryl SX (also called ecamsule). Other clues on the bottle? Words like “broad spectrum,” “multispectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection.” Zinc oxide is my favorite and has definitely helped me avoid a burn when I haven’t been able to avoid the sun.

4. Make sure you are applying enough sunscreen. The recommended amount for an adult (average) is 1oz and 1/2oz for a child. Reapply every 2 hours. Or you can do the math… Take the SPF # and multiply (x) that by how long it takes for you to burn (be realistic). Example: 15SPF x 15minutes to burn = 225 (3 hours, 45 minutes) That is how often YOU should reapply.

5. Price doesn’t matter when it comes to sunscreen. Well, I say that with everything. 🙂 Buy cheap when it comes BODY sunscreen because as long as it does the job you need it to do, you’re good! When it comes to your face, buy what is good and healthy for your skin. Not all face sunscreens are created equal and some will feel greasy or heavy or whatever. Find one you like and one that you know you will use everyday.

My favorite! Click to order online.
My favorite!

6. You don’t need anything higher than SPF 30. Everything else is just chemicals.

7. Don’t just stop at sunscreen. Wear a hat, use an umbrella and avoid the sun when it is strongest (10-2).

8. Don’t rely on the labels. “Waterproof”, “water-resistant”, “sweat-proof”, “protects all day.” The meanings vary from bottle to bottle and it doesn’t matter anyway because once you are exposed to the sun, the active ingredients begin to break down.

9. 90% of suns aging effects is incidental and not from laying on the beach all day. The sun can penetrate through windows and more often than not, those who don’t wear sunscreen everyday, have more damage on their left side of their face than their right.

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If you still find yourself with a burn…

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What are Age Spots?

Updated March 2018

Age Spots or Liver Spots as they are sometimes called are not really caused by aging. Though they do show up as we get older, they are actually caused by sun damage which is why they show up on areas that tend to get more sun like our hands, chest and face. Bleaching creams, peels and lightening treatments may lessen their appearance but to rule out more serious problems, check with your dermatologist first.

Sunscreen is key to prevent further damage but also to stop the spots from getting darker.

My favorite!

Vitamin C is an ingredient that will help the current spots by brightening and evening the skin tone.

Retinol is similar to vitamin c but much stronger. This gets deeper into the skin creating even more results.

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Foundation and SPF

We all want our morning routine to be quick and easy but sometimes taking shortcuts isn’t the best for our skin. So many foundations have sunscreen in them today and it seems that it would be one less step to do. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The number on the bottle (ex: SPF 15) is not quite accurate. You would have to apply about 7x the amount of foundation to actually get that number. And hopefully, no one is wearing that much makeup! Below are some tips to protecting your skin and looking your best.

  1. Skin Care Products before Makeup. Always. Sunscreen is considered skin care.
  2. SPF in your foundation is not necessary and will not provide the protection you need.
  3. If you wear Tinted Moisturizer, you should still wear a regular moisturizer. I know this can be confusing. Why should you wear both? It goes to skin tip #1…skin care products before makeup. Tinted Moisturizer is makeup. Apply your regular moisturizer first so the color doesn’t seep into dry patches and/or blemishes. It will give you a more even finish.
  4. Sunscreen should never be skipped. Rain or shine your skin is still exposed to UV rays.
My favorite!

 

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Breakouts in the Same Spot? Find Out Why

Does it seem like you always get a blemish in the same spot? There is a reason for this…

The pore may be damaged so it keeps getting re-infected. This is especially common for those who pick. (hint, hint) Picking blemishes loosens the lining of the cell and that causes the clogged oil to go deeper into the skin and that creates an inflammatory reaction.

If you use a drying spot treatment (toothpaste and most over-the-counter spot treatments) this will only dry out the surface infection of the skin. The bacteria is still lurking underneath and will eventually come to the surface again.

Glycolic Acid is a great prevention (Glycolic Cleanser and Glycolic/Retinol Pads). For a blemish you have now and to properly get rid of it and kill the bacteria, try this

Untitled

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