Preteens & Teens: What’s happening to their Skin!
Dealing with skin changes can be challenging and also a big step for parents as their child's’ soft baby skin is finally growing up and preparing for the next stage of life!
For most children, puberty will start sometime between the ages of seven to thirteen for girls and nine to fifteen for boys. This is the time when physical changes are most likely to appear - and accelerate - for your son or daughter.
Acne and spots are caused by a combination of three factors - sebum, dead skin cells and the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes. When sebum, a natural moisturiser excreted by their skin, is over-produced not only will their skin be visibly oily, but pores are also likely to become blocked. This leads to spots and blackheads. Similarly, their skin shedding too many dead cells may also result in a spot outbreak. Their skin sheds billions of cells each day to keep itself healthy, but a slight imbalance will cause too many cells to be shed, leaving some trapped in pores and follicles where they form the breeding ground for spots.
Lastly, the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes ( P. acnes) are found all over even the cleanest skin, but during an acne outbreak their population vastly increases. P. acnes feed on sebum, and when sebum accumulates in a pore they have an all-you-can-eat buffet. After they feed they produce fatty acids, which irritate pores and cause them to become red and inflamed. The redness, soreness, and swelling that comes with blemishes is largely a result of P. acnes gorging themselves.
Despite the fact that these three things are responsible for acne, sebum, skin cell renewal, and even P. acnes are all part of healthy skin. The key is a balance - too much or too little of any will lead to consequences for their skin.
If you’re at a loss for how to tackle skin changes with their preteen or teen, don’t fret. Here is our guide for what to expect with your child’s skin. It certainly doesn't mean you have to start using anything too harsh or expensive, but it’s definitely time for them to move past using whatever soap or body wash they happen to grab in the shower. (If they even do that!) It’s easy to pop to the shops and buy some skincare but at mini EARTHLINGS we want their preteens and teens to learn to formulate and create their own skincare. We could just sell you the ready-made formula in a jar but that’s not our purpose.
Our purpose is to help families to:
Know and learn about the ingredients they use in their skincare.
Adjust recipes to suit their unique skin type.
Feel safe in knowing that all the ingredients are naturally derived and vegan-friendly. There are no parabens, no artificial fragrances, no toxic chemicals, no alcohol.
Avoid being exposed to harmful synthetic ingredients (like aluminum salts in a deodorant) found in some skincare products that cause hormonal imbalance and other health risks.
Have an opportunity to work together as a family and bond away from screen-time
Get into a good habit of a skincare routine and understand that their skin matters!
Preteen is the age defined for children between the ages of nine to twelve. It’s during this crucial stage that we start to see changes in the skin and also the body. Hormones are just about starting their journey to influence the look and feel of their skin. By the age of 7, the oil (sebum) production starts and they start experiencing slight oiliness and their first pimples. It is at this age where we need to start looking after the skin in the right way to control the blackheads, pimples, acne and other skin conditions that show up in the teenage years!
Once they hit puberty there is a surge of testosterone and other androgenic hormones. As a result of this surge, the sebum production might dramatically increase. Sebum is an important component of healthy skin, helping to moisturize and protect it from the environment. Which is fantastic but sebum is the favourite food of the bacteria p.acnes. If this bacteria is not managed well and there is an overgrowth of this bacteria on the skin, it leads to larger breakouts which we most commonly know as acne!
Another fantastic change in teen skin is the growth in keratin, a protective protein that strengthens the skin, hair, and nails. The result of an increase in keratin means thicker skin. A thicker skin contributes to blocked pores and congestion, which only amplifies the likelihood of breakouts.
The good news is that most teenagers can manage these changes with appropriate hygiene and skincare.
Beyond a regular skincare routine, there are several things tweens and teens can do to maintain and improve their skin’s health. Here are a few simple habits to keep in mind and start early:
Wash pillowcases regularly
Keep phones clean
Avoid touching the face
Remove make-up before bed
Drink plenty of water
Don’t pick or pop pimples
And because we are so keen on giving your preteens a head start on looking after their skin, some of our boxes are focussed on make-up and cleaning products that don’t disrupt the skin or hormones further!
When To Start A Skin Care Routine
Most experts recommend starting a very basic skincare routine during the preteen years. This builds good skincare habits and ensures that by the time more major issues come along, there is a good, healthy base to work from.
How do you get a skincare routine going? At mini EARTHLINGS we believe it's super easy! Keep the ingredients and recipes simple but fun, educational and safe. Giving them the opportunity to make their own skincare adds the fun factor and turns the task of hygiene and self-care into a daily habit.
A Basic Skincare Routine:
We follow one principle when designing our recipes: KISS - Keep It Star Simple. Star is for using nourishing ingredients that work for your skin and simple is for the formulation. If its quick and easy there are chances they will follow it through. This basic skincare routine has two simple steps: cleanse and moisturise, day and night. But it's important to add the extra step of exfoliation and cleansing based on your child’s interest. I can see my daughter is leaning towards make-up already!
The routine in our home is when they brush their teeth, they can wash their faces. When they’re finished flossing, they can put on their moisturiser. When they shampoo, they use a mask and when they apply conditioner, they scrub their body!
Step 1: Cleanse
Cleanse is on two levels, gentle formulas that will clear impurities on the surface and then the masks that will pull the excess oil and toxins from the skin pores. For the body, it's the lather wash, and then scrub to get rid of dead skin cells.
Step 2: Moisturise
To moisturise the skin, use a lightweight moisturiser that not only controls oil but also contains ingredients that will help the balance skin deep and reduce the visible signs in the event of breakouts.
The Extras: Makeup, Exfoliation & Fun
As your teen or preteen becomes more comfortable with their two-step routine, they may want to branch out to include some additional products. But it’s our responsibility to steer them away from toxic and synthetic products and lean more towards natural, nourishing and skin kind products. At the end of the day, this is meant to be fun so we include bath bombs, tub teas, make up remover, lip gloss and more!
How To Remove Makeup
Makeup removal may come into play as your preteen or teen starts experimenting with cosmetics. This is an essential step in maintaining a healthy complexion and preventing clogged pores and breakouts. To thoroughly remove makeup, we recommend adding an oil cleanser and an eye makeup remover to their routine. Double-cleansing is the best way to clean makeup from the complexion. Like attracts like, and washing with an oil cleanser first ensures that stubborn, oil-based makeup is drawn from the skin’s surface and properly swept away. Follow with their daily cleanser to clear any remaining oil and impurities.
Skin cell turnover is at its most efficient during the ages of 9 to 19 years and can be enhanced with regular exfoliation. The key here is to be gentle - young skin is often more sensitive. Adding an exfoliation step around age twelve and sticking to once a week to start. For oily and/or problem skin, a gentle exfoliant can be used more regularly.
Looking after skin doesn't have to be a long task, understanding and making your own skincare adds fun and purpose behind using it and eventually it forming a good habit. We make our monthly boxes fun for them to get started.