The start of a new school year is a stressful time for a lot of children with new classes, new teachers and, for some teens, completely new schools. Combine these pressures with surging hormones and the result is often spotty skin.
So, what can be done to keep their skin happy and their self-esteem intact? Charlotte-Anne Fidler, Founder of award-winning teen skincare brand, Spots & Stripes, has some essential tips.
Give them their own skincare
Getting a reluctant tween or teen to start a skincare regime isn’t always easy, but giving them their own dedicated products is a start. And not just because it’s a treat. ‘These children are Generation Z – they have a strong sense of self and are highly individualistic,’ explains Charlotte-Anne. ‘They don’t want baby or adult products. They want their OWN products! And those products need to look fun and cool enough for TikTok’.
Even more importantly, their skin has its own unique needs that adult and traditional anti-acne products rarely meet. ‘Tween and young teen skin is a delicate hybrid,’ says Charlotte-Anne. ‘Products aimed at this age-group have to be both super-gentle, because their skin is so easy to irritate and super-effective to deal with all the spottiness, greasiness and congestion that puberty hormones can cause.’
Cut out the nasties
You’ve been careful about what you put on their skin as babies and young children. But using products that are free of parabens, mineral oils, phthalates and other ‘nasties’ is just as important for tweens and teens. ‘Until the age of 12, children secrete less sebum than adults which makes their skin six times more susceptible to synthetic chemical penetration from haircare, skincare and bathing products,’ explains Charlotte-Anne.
‘Even more worrying for this age group, is that some of the chemicals – found in a lot of traditional skin and personal care products – act as endochrine disruptors, which means they can affect hormone development in girls entering puberty. It’s the reason that we’re so strict about Spots & Stripes products containing zero Phthalates, parabens, PEGs and any other ingredient we think is at all iffy.’
Get them to do their prep
Use the last few weeks of the holidays to make sure that a cleansing routine is established and that your tween/teen is using the products correctly. ‘Tweens and teens need to be taught how to cleanse, particularly if they are total newbies to skincare,’ says Charlotte-Anne. For example, whether you apply a cleanser to wet or dry skin makes a big difference, depending on the type of cleanser. ‘Our Gentle Cleansing Lotion needs to be massaged into dry skin to give the essential oils a chance to do their work,’ advises Charlotte-Anne. ‘And wiping it off with a clean damp flannel or muslin is another important part of the technique, as it doesn’t just ensure the skin is clean, it adds a bit of exfoliation, which is great for getting rid of congestion and blackheads.’ When to cleanse and how often will vary, too, according to their age and what their skin is like. To answer these questions, Spots & Stripes have a how-to video on their site with all the cleansing low-down https://www.spots-and-stripes.com/tween-cleansing-guide/
Keep it simple
Our children’s lives are full enough as it is. So, a multi-step, multiple product skincare regime is absolutely the last thing they need. ‘We’ve understood this from the start,’ says Charlotte-Anne. ‘It’s the reason that we have one brilliant, easy-to-use Gentle Cleansing Lotion that does it all. One pump, massaged onto dry skin for a minute, then wiped off with a clean damp flannel and you’re ready to go.’ No need for a moisturiser because the Cleansing Lotion is full of moisturising – as well as spot-zapping – ingredients and leaves the skin completely balanced. ‘If you get the odd spot, use our Super Balm – it’s also a genius multi-tasker that can be used on chapped lips or any sort of dry and unhappy skin.’
‘When people contact us with questions about their teens/tweens’ skin, we talk about skincare – but we also always talk about food,’ says Charlotte-Anne. Why? Because there’s increasing evidence that a healthy gut leads to healthy skin. In fact, many experts agree that eating sugary foods can intensify or even trigger breakouts. So, if your teen or tween has persistent spots, combine a good, gentle cleansing routine with a serious look at their diet. Reduce or cut out the high-glycemic foods and up the probiotic foods, like kafir and live yoghurt, to rebalance their gut microbiome. ‘Taking supplements like Zinc and Vitamins A and D will also make a difference,’ Charlotte-Anne advises.