teen female influencers applying face cream while making tutorial at home

Teens and tweens are showcasing their makeup and skincare routines in "Get Ready With Me" videos on social media. These clips highlight their cherished products like serums and bronzing drops, many of which come with hefty price tags exceeding $80. But are these products safe and necessary for younger skin?

Linda Golkar, MD, a pediatric dermatologist at Loma Linda University Health, takes a simple approach to skincare. She recommends cleansing twice daily, exfoliating a few times a week, moisturizing after washing, and sun protection.

Skincare routine

Teenage years are marked by many physical and emotional changes, including the onset of hormonal fluctuations that can significantly influence skin health.

One of the primary effects of hormonal changes during puberty is increased sebum production. Sebum, an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands, helps to lubricate and waterproof the skin. However, excess sebum can lead to oily skin and contribute to the development of acne, blackheads, whiteheads, and in more severe cases, cysts and nodules.

She suggests using benzoyl peroxide for teens with oily skin, while individuals with more sensitive skin can opt for salicylic acid or a lower percentage of benzoyl peroxide.

"Benzoyl peroxide is known to kill bacteria and remove excess oil, while salicylic acid acts as an effective exfoliator," says Golkar. "Both have solid data supporting their efficacy for initial or mild acne."

For teens and tweens with mild cases of acne, she recommends starting with a gentle cleanser containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. In the morning, she advises using a moisturizer with sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30, followed by a similar routine at night, adding a topical retinoid if necessary.

"Retinoids such as adapalene are effective for targeting acne, even in younger patients. I usually recommend starting with adapalene three times a week for beginners."

Ingredients to avoid

Golkar cautions against using toners, astringents, scrubs, or facial brushes, citing their potential to irritate the skin.

"Anything with alcohol, a primary ingredient in toners and astringents, strips the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness, irritation, and redness. It's best to stick to gentle, non-irritating cleansers and avoid products with alcohol, fragrances, and heavy oils."

Prevent clogging pores

Golkar recommends showering afterward for teens participating in sports or physical activities to remove sweat and prevent pore-clogging. She also stresses the importance of removing makeup before bed to avoid breakouts.

One crucial consideration for teens is opting for non-comedogenic products. These formulations are designed to prevent clogging pores, making them essential for maintaining healthy, blemish-free skin.

Impact of acne on self-esteem

Acne can affect one's confidence, social interactions, and mental health, shaping how teens and tweens perceive themselves and navigate the world around them. It can also evoke feelings of self-consciousness and insecurity.

"I'll see a transformation over months of treatment where my patients dealing with acne initially won't look at me and are hunched over. As their skin improves and clears up, they have a whole different appearance when they come in. They're happier and more confident."

Dermatologists at Loma Linda University Health can offer personalized treatment plans tailored to address specific concerns through topical medications, oral medications, or in-office procedures. For more information on pediatric dermatology, visit online.