Quick and easy skincare tips for teenage boys with acne
Usually noticeable by its absence, skincare advice for teenage boys is often thin on the ground, especially for mums. It’s hard to know how what to recommend if you’ve never been a teenage boy yourself!
When you think of skincare concerns for teenage boys, probably the most common complaint is acne, oily skin or blackheads. It is thought that up to 85% of boys will suffer from acne at some point during their teenage years making it an easy target for skincare brands. Having skin issues can be uncomfortable at the best of times, and your son might feel embarrassed to discuss it with you. If he does mention it however, it’s good to be able to provide help and recommendations of quick and easy ways to improve his skin.
The other two issues that teenage boys often have are sensitive skin, and reactions caused by shaving so I’ll also be discussing these in part two of this blog post.
How to treat acne in teenage boys
Why does acne occur?
Acne occurs when pores become clogged and blocked. Inside each pore is a sebaceous gland which makes a substance called sebum This is used to moisturise our hair and skin and is vital for health. However, when too much sebum is made, it can mix with dead skin cells to create a sticky plug which blocks the pore. Sometimes bacteria can become trapped in the plug as well and this is what causes swelling. When the plug begins to break down, this is when a spot forms.
What this means is that skincare for teenage boys needs to serve two purposes:
- It needs to manage excess sebum (without drying out the skin)
- It needs to ensure dead skin is removed frequently
The single biggest difference can be made with an effective and gentle face wash. I often find that teenagers are more likely use a product that can just be used in the shower and washed off with water.
The problem with many face washes that are targeted towards teenagers (and boys in particular) is that they are often very aggressive. Sometimes they use up to four or five different types of alcohol to give the ‘feeling’ of clean skin, but actually cause the skin to dry out. When too much sebum is removed, the body over-compensates by producing even more, thereby exacerbating the problem. Instead, it’s important to find a face wash that thoroughly cleans the skin but does not disrupt its pH balance.
Here are some great choices:
Cleanance Cleansing Gel
This is a great cleanser as it can also be used on back or chest acne.
However, it is quite strong so I wouldn’t recommend it for skin that is sensitive.
Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel
Specially designed for sensitive skin, great if you’re looking for an effective but gentle treatment
Oxygen Teen Foaming Cleanser with Bentonite beads and Spearmint for All Skin Types 200ml
Contains bentonite which helps to draw out bacteria from pores. A deep cleanse, this product is very beneficial for teenagers, even if they only manage to use it a couple of times a week!
Removing dead skin and exfoliating correctly
In terms removing dead skin, the Oxygen Cleanser above contains beads that will exoliate so this is a great option if you think your son can’t be persuaded to use more than one product! Otherwise, using an exfolatior containing Salicylic Acid once a week is extremely helpful. My two favourites are:
Derma E Very Clear Acne Scrub
A great entry level exfoliator for teenage skin. Contains 2% Salicylic Acid which is enough to be effective but not so much skin will be left red raw and irritated.
Germaine de Capuccini Glycocure Intense Renewal Exfoliating Mask
More of an investment. but the exfoliator I recommend to almost all my clients as it contains Glycolic Acid as well as Salicylic Acid which evens out skin tone and reduces redness. Feel free to request a sample if you’d like to try it.
Some other helpful tips
Using a medicated concealer will hopefully help boys to stop picking or squeezing spots! It will also help to reduce inflammation and redness. Try E.L.F or The Body Shop.
Also, it might be trying to explain why it’s important to maintain a good skincare regime, not just when the acne is flaring up, but all year round. This will hopefully help teenagers understand prevention is better than cure!
If shaving aggravates the breakouts, experiment with different razors and shaving foams to find one that doesn’t make the acne worse (see part two of this blog post for more information)
One word of warning, if your son is using a product with acid in, be sure he applies sun protection regularly and thoroughly. Acids can cause the skin to become more sensitive, so finding an effective but non-clogging sunscreen is very important
If you’re looking for a more advanced, in-salon treatment for acne, I recommend LED therapy. It is a new and non-invasive treatment which has a lot of scientific research behind it. Blue lights are emitted, killing bacteria under the skin, while red lights soothe the skin and calm inflammation. It’s gentle, effective and one treatment can take as little as 20 mins (although it can take a series of treatments to see an effective difference)
Finally, if the acne becomes quite severe or is having a particularly negative affect on your son, it might be worth having a chat with your GP. There are many treatments available including anti-biotics,benzoyl peroxide and topical ointments. Roaccutane is a last line of attack as it comes with many side effects,but can be prescribed by a dermatologist if necessary.