Step 1: Know Your Skin Type
Who doesn’t want great-looking skin? Start by knowing your skin type. Then you’ll know how to take care of it.
- Dry skin is flaky, scaly, or rough.
- Oily skin is shiny, greasy, and may have big pores.
- Combination skin is dry in some spots (cheeks) and oily in others (forehead, nose, and chin).
- Sensitive skin may sting, burn, or itch after you use some makeup or other products.
Normal skin is balanced, clear, and not sensitive.
Step 2: Cleaning Normal/Combo Skin
Don’t just grab whatever soap is in the shower or at the sink to wash your face. You don’t have to buy fancy, expensive products. You just need to find skincare that works for you. Use a gentle cleanser or soap and wash — don’t scrub your face. Rinse with plenty of warm water, then pat dry. If you find your skin dries out or gets oily, try a different cleanser.
If you have dry skin, use a gentle cleanser that doesn’t have alcohol or fragrance. Those ingredients can dry your skin out even more. Gently wash your skin, then rinse with plenty of warm water. Don’t use hot water because it removes the natural oils from your face faster. Try exfoliating once a week to get rid of flaky skin cells. It will make your skin look clearer and more even.
Step 2: Cleaning Oily Skin
If your skin is oily, use an oil-free foaming cleanser to wash your face. Rinse with plenty of warm water. You may want to use a toner or astringent after you’ve washed your face, but be careful because it might irritate your skin. They can remove extra oil, making your face less shiny, and help keep skin clean.
Step 2: Cleaning Sensitive Skin
If your skin is sensitive, wash it with a very gentle cleanser and rinse with warm water. Be sure to pat — don’t rub — dry. Exfoliating may irritate sensitive skin. Try not to use products that have alcohol, soap, acid, or fragrance. Instead, look on the label for calming ingredients like aloe, chamomile, green tea polyphenols, and oats. The fewer ingredients in a skincare product, the happier your face may be.
You may think you’re too young to need moisturizer — or your skin is too oily — but all skin needs moisture. Moisturizers help keep your skin from drying out. Use it every day, no matter what skin type you have. Apply it while your skin is still damp from washing or rinsing to help seal in moisture. If you have acne or your skin is oily, find a moisturizer that is lightweight and oil-free, so it doesn’t block your pores.
Step 4: Put on Sunscreen
Your moisturizer may already have sunscreen in it. But it’s a good idea to use a separate sunscreen, too. The sun can damage your skin in only 15 minutes. Even though you’re young, you can get skin cancer. Look for sunscreen that works against both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of at least 30. Wear it every day, even if it’s not sunny and even if it’s cold. The sun’s rays can reflect off water, sand, and snow. Reapply every two hours.
When Should You Wash?
You can dry your skin by washing it too much, so once a day is fine for most people. In the morning, rinse your face with lukewarm water. Use a soft towel to pat it — not rub it — dry. At night, washing with a cleanser or gentle soap helps get rid of the day’s dirt and makeup. If you exercise, play sports, or have PE, you may want to wash your face afterward with a gentle cleanser. Sweat can clog your pores and make acne worse.
When you’re tired, it can be tempting to go to bed without washing your face. But leaving makeup on your skin can clog your pores and cause acne. So use a gentle cleanser or makeup remover to wash it off. Use a soft wash cloth or cotton pads. If you use acne medicine, now’s a good time to put it on — when your face is clean and when you’re not going to be putting on makeup.
All About Acne
Why does acne happen primarily when you’re a teen? Puberty causes your body to make more hormones, which lead your body to make more sebum — an oil that comes from your pores. Too much sebum and dead skin cells can clog pores, trapping bacteria. The bacteria thrive in this environment and acne starts. Acne can take a few forms including whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples.
How to Treat Acne
Don’t pop those pimples! Squeezing can lead to infection and permanent scars. Instead, go to a store where you can find many acne-fighting products. They come as lotions, creams, gels, and cleansing pads. Be patient — they can take eight weeks to work. And follow the directions carefully. Using too much or using them too often can irritate your skin and cause more blemishes. If your acne is really bad, get help from a dermatologist.
To make blemishes less noticeable, you can cover them with oil-free makeup. Foundation may help cover large patches of acne. Concealer covers smaller areas. Green-tinted color-correcting concealer may cancel out redness. You also can hide acne and treat it at the same time. Some tinted creams and concealers contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Stop using any product if it bothers your skin or causes more acne.
The Dangers of Tanning
You may like to be tan, but a tan means damaged skin. You hurt your skin when it changes color from the sun or indoor tanning. UV exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer — now or later. It can also lead to wrinkly, leathery-looking skin and spots. You can get a sunburn in a tanning bed just like you can in the real sun. Regularly using tanning beds increases your risk of melanoma (the deadliest skin cancer) by eight times.
For a safer tan, try sunless self-tanner. It stains your skin and comes in many forms including lotions, sprays, and towelettes. Or try airbrush tanning, where a salon expert sprays the tan right on your skin. With a fake tan, you still need to protect your skin from the sun. For a quick fake tan, try some bronzer. It’s a brush-on powder or tinted cream that gives the look of a fresh tan.
If you wear makeup, choose products that have “nonacnegenic” or “noncomedogenic” on the label. They should be less likely to cause acne or clog pores. Look for makeup that is water-based and not oil-based. Some makeup has expiration dates, even though they’re not required. In general, eye products should be replaced first. Mascara, for example, should usually be used no longer than four months.
Makeup Safety Tips
Don’t share makeup or makeup tools, and use fresh applicators when trying on makeup in stores. Germs from other users can make you sick. Don’t apply eyeliner inside your lid because it may irritate your eye. And if you’ve had an eye infection, buy new makeup to avoid re-infecting yourself. Never put on makeup in a bus or car. A bump or swerve could cause you to scratch your eye or get makeup and germs in it.
Seeing a model’s perfect skin in an ad may make you want to buy the product. Don’t be fooled. It takes a team of stylists and professionals to get her looking that great. Graphic artists can digitally remove pimples and freckles. Lighting experts use light and shadow to show the model’s best features. England has even banned some cosmetic ads that change the models’ looks too much.
Other Things That Bug Your Skin
To keep skin healthy, try to avoid habits that can cause acne, redness, and scars. Don’t pick at your skin — especially your pimples — or you can have permanent scars. Keep hairspray and gel away from your face. They can clog pores. Don’t wear tight headbands or wool hats that can irritate your skin. Don’t smoke. It can age your skin and make it yellow and dry.
Food and Sleep for Healthy Skin
Keep your skin healthy by eating smart. Eat lots of veggies, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Choose lean proteins like chicken, fish, lean meat, beans, and eggs. Watch foods that are high in cholesterol, trans fats, saturated fats, salt, and sugar. And get plenty of sleep for good health and to avoid dark circles, fine lines, dull skin, and other side effects of bad rest. Relax! Even stress can make you break out.