What I Wish I Knew on My Teenage Acne Journey

My Acne Journey by Jasmyn James

Hi DA™! Jasmyn here, a teen ambassador for Destination Aesthetics Medical Spa! For many people, teenage years are ROUGH. There are so many changes, new experiences, and new responsibilities in such a short period. On top of these external things, our bodies begin to change internally as well. For many, the teen years mark the first time people struggle with acne. I began my acne journey toward the middle of sixth grade, trying what I thought were the right products for my skin.

Now, I’m seventeen and after years of trial and error, I am finally approaching a good place with my skin. My skin no longer is inflamed, I rarely experience breakouts, and I’ve never been more confident. It has been a long journey, but after many lessons, I would love to share the five most important things I wish I knew on my teenage acne journey.

Do not fall for gimmicks. (I’m talking to you, Tik Tok products!!)

So many products go viral every week, with new products being promoted by influencers and common creators constantly. Every week it seems like there is something new to buy that promises a rapid transformation of the skin. However, every product can’t have these effects on everyone, and constantly buying and trying new products can do more harm than good for the skin.

When you see a new product, do your research before you buy! Watch or read product reviews from people with your skin type. Research active ingredients, and make sure you know which products should not be used together before adding to your routine. Find out which ingredients are best for YOUR skin, not someone else, as genetics play a huge role in skin care and you cannot compare with someone else expecting what works for them to work for you, especially from a social media ad.

It is always best to supplement your research with consultation from a professional, such as an esthetician or a dermatologist. Destination Aesthetics offers complimentary skin consultations with the use of the Reveal® Imager, an advanced camera system that takes images of the skin on or below the surface. This helps identify problem areas, as well as predict future skin concerns so the best recommendations possible can be made. Book a consultation with one of our skin care experts to make sure your routine has you on the right track.

Harsh is not always better for oily acne-prone skin.

When I first started to experience more oily skin, I immediately went to buy the most concentrated, drying acne treatments to keep my oil at bay. It worked for a while, but when I stopped using the products, my skin would get worse, and eventually, it got out of control. One day, I read an article in which the author claimed that simplifying her routine completely transformed her oily skin. I was hesitant and gave it a try and since then my skin has not experienced any severe oil production.

Upon further research, I found that a lot of the time dehydrated skin is mistaken for oily skin because of the excess sebum it produces to compensate for lack of moisture. Using drying products meant for oily skin can make this worse. If you are making little to no progress with oily skin, try a shortened routine with a gentle cleanser and a light, ultra-hydrating moisturizer. This will help determine if what you are experiencing is dehydrated skin and repair your skin’s damaged barrier. My recommendations are the DA™ Gentle Cleanser or Exfoliating 5-2 Acne Cleanser with 2% salicylic acid and glycolic acid for gentle treatment. Follow with the DA™ Sheer Hydration Moisturizer for soft, calm skin.

Make sure you are using a gentle chemical exfoliant.

One of the best things you can do for acne-prone teen skin is to incorporate some type of chemical exfoliant into your skincare routine, either morning or night. Chemical exfoliants gently exfoliate the surface of the skin to dissolve dead skin cells and oil that clog pores and cause most acne. Many people don’t know enough about chemical exfoliants to try them out and end up sticking to the more readily available physical exfoliant options like microbeads or walnut scrubs.

I get it, chemical exfoliants sound scary at first, but they are much more gentle than their physical counterparts. Physical exfoliants can cause microtears and irritate the skin’s barrier worsening redness, hyperpigmentation, and scarring, and overly stripping the skin’s barrier. There are so many more safe and gentle chemical options for every skin type in a variety of mild concentrations. My personal favorite is salicylic acid, as it not only dissolves surface skin cells but the molecules are small enough to penetrate the pores and help clear them before they clog. The DA™ Exfoliating 5-2 Pads are a great, gentle option for beginners.

Have patience, always.

In the teenage years and beyond, when dealing with acne, have patience and don’t expect a quick fix. When starting a new routine or adding in a new product, it usually takes at least a month for the skin to fully adjust and for products to take full effect. Any person or product that advertises results in a week or two is highly unrealistic and you will likely be disappointed without the fast results promised.

Stick with a routine for at least 1-3 months and then decide if changes need to be made. Watch for any allergic reactions or serious irritation, because in that case, changes may need to be made sooner. However, make sure that any breakouts you may be experiencing are not just purging as the skin begins to clear. An allergic reaction is more defined by redness, hypersensitivity, and skin that is hot to the touch. These are all signals that a product may not be right for you, and that it may be time to circle back to a simplified routine while the skin heals. As always, consult an esthetician or dermatologist for guidance if you are unsure of any conditions you are experiencing.

And of course, wear sunscreen!

Wear sunscreen every single day, period. This tip applies to everyone, no matter their age. Not only can sun exposure cause cancer and premature aging, but it is also one of the worst things you can do while trying to cure acne and heal your skin. Without sun protection, acne and acne scarring can become so much worse. No matter how much time you’ve spent perfecting your skincare routine, if you are not wearing sunscreen daily, all of your progress is wasted.

The bare minimum is to apply it every day as a part of your morning routine, but it is even better if you can reapply throughout the day. Most people skip reapplication because the thought of putting lotion sunscreen on top of skin throughout the day is, well, weird. But, there are so many options that make it easy to reapply during the day without the discomfort, even over makeup. My personal favorite is the Colorescience® Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush-on Shield.   This amazing product comes in multiple shades and is a perfect reapplication option that supplies SPF 50 and also helps with any excess oil throughout the day.

Well, there you have it, my five biggest skin care tips I wish I knew at the beginning of my acne journey. Hopefully, these tips will help you at any stage in yours, wherever you might be, and can prevent you from making the same mistakes I made on mine.  If you’re ready to tackle our acne, reach out to DA™ for a complimentary skin consultation!

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