12 Proven Skincare Tips for Teens

by Shatha Rawashdeh, M.D
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Taking care of your skin is essential at any age, but during your teenage years, it becomes particularly crucial. The teenage years are a period of significant change, both in terms of your body and your skin. Hormonal changes, increased oil production, and exposure to environmental factors can all contribute to various skin issues.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best skin care tips for teens that are dermatologist-recommended to positively influence your skin’s health and overall well-being.

teen popping pimple photo credit: Africa images via Canva.com
Photo credit: Africa images via Canva.com

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Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

What Causes Acne in Teenagers

Despite the natural resilience of youthful skin, teenagers are often more susceptible to various skin conditions, ranging from teenage acne and excessively oily skin to conditions like warts and herpes, which can sometimes be mistaken for acne due to their similar appearance.

Teenagers experience hormonal changes that can have a significant impact on their skin. These hormonal fluctuations stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce excess oil, leading to oily skin. Additionally, hormone levels can trigger acne breakouts, particularly on the face, chest, and back.

If you’re a teenager, you might think you’re alone in these skin struggles, but the reality is that skin issues are incredibly common during this phase of life. As a dermatologist, I wholeheartedly understand the frustrations and self-consciousness that can accompany these challenges.

But here’s the good news: you’re not alone, and there’s always a path to better skin – you just need to discover the right treatment journey.

I am sharing in this post 12 skincare tips for teens that will guide you toward better skin and greater confidence. Your teenage years can be transformative; your skin should be no exception. By implementing these practical and effective skincare tips, you can nurture your skin, address common concerns, and pave the way for a healthy, radiant complexion that reflects your inner beauty.

Here are 12 practical and easy-to-follow skincare tips for teens.

12 Skincare Tips for Teens

1. Know Your Skin Type

Before adopting any skincare routine, it’s important to identify your skin type, whether it’s oily, dry, combination, or sensitive, so you can choose skin care products that suit your skin’s needs.

Many teenagers often complain about pimples and oily skin resulting from excess oil production, leading to a shiny complexion and a predisposition to acne breakouts.

However, it’s essential to recognize that other skin types may require different skincare products and an altogether different approach to providing the proper care.

2. Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse

As teen skin tends to produce more oil. Therefore, it is crucial to stress the importance of cleansing to keep your skin free from trapped dirt, sebum, and sweat.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, it is recommended to wash your face two times a day and after a sweaty workout with an oil-free cleanser or a gel cleanser containing salicylic acid or other medicated ingredients to prevent acne breakouts is recommended.

For sensitive skin, it’s advisable to use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser during your nighttime skincare routine and opt for water cleansing in the morning. Over-cleansing sensitive and delicate skin can cause skin irritation and compromise the natural skin barrier.

3. Maintain a simple skincare routine

Keeping a simple skincare routine that is easy to follow, especially for teenagers, is of utmost importance. Introducing too many products or steps can be overwhelming and discourage good habits.

Developing a proper skincare routine at a young age can make a significant difference in the long-term health of your skin.

Here’s a simple skincare routine tailored for teenagers:

Morning Routine:

  1. Cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser or a salicylic acid cleanser.
  2. Apply the medicated or spot treatment.
  3. Use a moisturizer with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30.

Evening Routine:

  1. Cleanse your face again to remove makeup, dirt, and excess oil.
  2. Apply any acne-fighting or treatment products as needed (e.g., benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid).
  3. Seal the treatment with an oil-free moisturizer for oily skin or a hyaluronic acid moisturizer for dry skin.

When it comes to skincare products for teens, it’s crucial to avoid heavy oils, harsh scrubs, alcohol-based products, and fragranced options that can irritate the skin. Stick to fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and noncomedogenic products.

You should also keep high-quality acne patches on hand.

4. Sun Protection

Studies show that a single blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence can more than double the risk of developing melanoma or skin cancer later in life.

Therefore, it is essential to protect your skin from the sun, especially when it peaks between 10 AM and 4 PM, whether by using sunscreen or wearing long-sleeved and wide-brimmed hats.

When selecting sunscreen products, always use a broad spectrum with at least SPF 30, formulated with mineral active ingredients in physical sunscreens such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for enhanced defense against the sun’s harmful rays.

5. Hands Off Your Face

As a dermatologist, if I could offer a single skin care tip that is extremely valuable to teenagers experiencing acne breakouts, it would be this: resist the temptation to squeeze, squish, press, or constantly touch your face.

This practice not only transfers bacteria and dirt to your skin, increasing the likelihood of more breakouts but also results in stubborn acne scars that can be hard to treat later on.

6. Never Sleep with Makeup On

Even if there are times when you feel too tired or lazy to remove your makeup before sleeping, remember that it’s a common mistake that many people, including teens, often make.

Makeup and the dirt your skin collects during the day can block your pores and result in issues like blackheads, whiteheads, and acne breakouts. For teenagers who might already deal with acne due to hormonal changes, this can make the situation worse.

So, always make an effort to remove your makeup before bedtime. It helps prevent clogged pores and breakouts. Your skin will thank you for it!

7. Regular Exfoliation

Use a gentle exfoliant with glycolic acid once or twice weekly to exfoliate your skin. Incorporating gentle exfoliation methods into your skincare regimen can help teenagers achieve clearer, more vibrant skin by renewing the skin and removing the dead cell layer on the skin’s surface.

Remember to avoid over-exfoliating to prevent potential skin issues and irritation, and always follow up with sunscreen during the day to protect your skin from sun damage.

8. Use Acne-Fighting Products

Acne is one of the most common skin concerns among teenagers, and using the right acne-fighting products can manage acne breakouts effectively.

Here are some essential acne-fighting products:

  1. Benzoyl Peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide is an over-the-counter medication that treats acne. It kills the bacteria that contribute to breakouts and helps unclog pores. Teens can find benzoyl peroxide in various forms, such as cleansers, creams, and spot treatments.
  2. Salicylic Acid Cleanser: Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin, helping to clear clogged pores and prevent new acne blemishes. A salicylic acid cleanser can be used daily to clean pores and minimize breakouts.
  3. Topical Retinoids: Topical retinoids, like adapalene or prescription-strength tretinoin, effectively promote skin cell turnover and prevent clogged pores. They are particularly helpful for treating comedonal acne (whiteheads and blackheads).
  4. Sulfur-based Products: Sulfur has antimicrobial properties and can help reduce inflammation. Sulfur-based masks or spot treatments can be used to target specific blemishes.
  5. Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil has natural antibacterial properties and can be applied topically to acne lesions as a spot treatment. However, it should be diluted before use to prevent skin irritation.
  6. Oil-Free Moisturizer: While managing acne, it’s crucial not to skip moisturization. Opt for an oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer to hydrate the skin without clogging pores.
  7. Spot Treatments: Over-the-counter or prescription spot treatments containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur can be used on individual pimples to expedite healing and reduce inflammation.

Also, as mentioned earlier, pimple patches are also really useful to have on hand.

9. Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water maintains skin hydration, preventing issues like dryness and tightness while reducing the risk of acne breakouts by balancing oil production.

Proper hydration supports the body’s natural healing processes, contributes to skin elasticity during growth, aids in detoxification, and promotes healthy skin.

10. Follow a healthy diet and limit Sugar and Junk Food

Consuming a balanced, healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides essential nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants that support overall skin health.

These nutrients help repair damaged skin cells, reduce inflammation, and promote a radiant and youthful complexion. For teenagers whose bodies are undergoing significant growth and development, a nutritious diet not only benefits their skin but also contributes to their overall well-being.

11. Manage stress

Stress can trigger acne breakouts. When you’re under stress, your body releases hormones like cortisol, which can lead to increased oil production in the skin. This excess oil can clog pores and result in more frequent and severe acne flare-ups.

Many teenagers come to my clinic with acne breakouts before major exams because stress is a common trigger.

Moreover, stress can worsen existing skin conditions. Stress can lead to more frequent and severe flare-ups for those with eczema or psoriasis. Stress can also exacerbate conditions like hives and rosacea, making the skin more prone to redness and irritation.

In addition to these skin-related issues, stress can impact your overall health. It can disrupt sleep patterns, lead to poor dietary choices, and reduce the body’s ability to repair and regenerate skin cells.

That’s why teens must learn effective stress management techniques. Whether it’s through relaxation exercises, physical activity, mindfulness, or seeking support from a therapist or counselor, finding healthy ways to cope and deal with stress can improve your mental and physical health.

12 . Consult a Dermatologist

If you have severe acne or your skin condition is not responding to over-the-counter treatment or other persistent skin issues, it’s a good idea to consult a board-certified dermatologist. They can examine your skin and provide a personalized treatment plan for your specific skin concerns and needs.

Final Thoughts

The first step towards maintaining healthy skin for a lifetime starts by caring for your skin during your teenage years. It starts by understanding your skin type, using the right products, and establishing a consistent skincare routine to address common teenage skin concerns like acne, excess oil, and sensitivity.

These simple yet effective tips will help teens establish a skincare routine that promotes clear and healthy skin. Incorporating these skin care habits into your daily life can significantly affect your skin’s appearance and overall well-being.

If you have specific skin concerns, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a dermatologist to ensure you’re on the right path to achieving and maintaining healthy skin.


  • Shatha Rawashdeh, M.D

    I am a dermatologist specializing in aesthetic medicine with over a decade of experience. I offer a wide range of medical procedures encompassing everything from effective acne treatments to cosmetic injectables and laser therapy. However, my real passion lies in providing patients with accurate and evidence-based information, which empowers them to make informed decisions on their beauty and wellness journey.

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