The start of a new school year is always stressful, but that stress is amplified when we’re dealing with image-conscious teens. Heading back to class after a break is a big deal. Your teen’s head is filled with concerns about new classes, acceptably trendy outfits and whether anyone will care if they don’t have the latest iPhone.
As a mom, it’s tempting to give the “no one is judging you as much as you’re judging yourself” speech and leave it at that. However, it’s important to acknowledge the validity of these concerns, even when we think our teen is being completely OTT.
A major source of panic for teens at back to school time is breakouts. With hormones running amok, it’s not uncommon for even previously clear-faced kids to suffer bouts of acne. It’s just one more source of stress they really don’t need. So, once you’ve reminded your kiddo that they’re gorgeous (and no one is really looking at that tiny spot), here are some tips to help them achieve clear skin.
Change Linen Frequently
We don’t immediately think of bedding when we’re talking skincare. However, changing linen frequently plays a big role in preventing acne. When we sleep, our faces leave sebum, excess makeup, hair oils and even saliva onto the pillowcase night after night. These oils and impurities are then transferred right back onto our faces, causing blocked pores and inflammation. If that doesn’t convince your teen to wash their bedding, nothing will!
Use Non-Comedogenic Makeup and Smart Treatments
Most girls are wearing at least a bit of foundation by high school. Although it’s great for covering up blemishes, foundation can actually increase the frequency of blackheads and whiteheads. Encourage your teen to do some research and select non-comedogenic foundation or BB creams. These products are specifically formulated (generally without oil) to not block the pores.
As far as OTC acne treatments go, the good news is that the most expensive isn’t necessarily the best. Encourage your teen to find a regimen that fits her skincare issues, not one that she sees on TV or that her best friend uses. For example, Proactiv brands are well known, but you’ll discover reviews that don’t live up to the hype.
Get Enough Sleep
Trying to encourage your kid to ditch the late nights? Make sure they’re aware that poor sleeping habits are associated with breakouts and other skin conditions! Studies have shown that the potential for psychological stress increases by 14% for every hour of sleep you miss. Reduced sleep leads to extra stress, which in turn causes breakouts. Sleep is also when the skin rests, renews and restores itself. So, make sure your teen is getting enough sleep. Not only will it help their grades and their mood, but it will also give them clearer skin.
Wipe Down the Cell Phone
Just like dirty linen, cell phones can also be a sneaky culprit when it comes to breakouts. Studies have shown that our phones can house more than 150 types of bacteria concurrently, including coliforms, which hint at fecal contamination. It’s no surprise that transferring this bacteria, along with other impurities, onto our skin can cause inflammation, redness and blackheads. Remind your teen to wipe down their phone with an antibacterial wipe at least once a week (you might want to pick up this habit, too!).
Pack a Healthy Lunch
There is some truth to the old adage “you are what you eat.” Individuals who snack on greasy and high-glycemic foods (like cookies, chips and soda) may be more prone to acne, as these foods cause our bodies to produce more insulin, which amps up the body’s production of skin oils. You can help your teen prevent acne by adding foods containing Vitamin A (carrots, sweet potato, dark leafy greens, fish, etc.) to their lunchbox and encouraging them to drink more water to hydrate the skin.
Breakouts are a big deal for teenagers. It’s important to be supportive and understanding as your child navigates the challenges of growing up, which means offering love and encouragement even when they’re being moody or overdramatic. It also means being there to offer helpful solutions and advice, such as these five back-to-school skincare tips, when asked. Acne isn’t everything, but knowing how to treat it can definitely take some pressure off during these difficult times.