Oily Adolescent Skin

Oily Adolescent Skin

Telling an impatient teenager that his spots are all due to hormonal changes in his body that will right themselves with time isn’t going to console him much, even if it is the truth! Spots are closely allied with greasy skin so treatment for the one is often the same as treatment for the other. These hormonal changes affect the whole body and obviously something as complex and as profound as these may often have undesirable side-effects. The most common is that the sebaceous, or oil, glands in the dermis start over-producing. Excess oil with dirt may then combine to plug up the skin’s pores and the result — blackheads and, of course, spots.

Very bad cases should be taken to your GP who may refer the sufferer to a skin specialist, but less severe conditions can be controlled by oneself. The word ‘control’ is important; at the moment, only certain antibiotics available from the doctor will actually clear up the problem for any great length of time. Such extreme measures aren’t always necessary or desirable, and the skin-care routine teenagers learn now will stand them in good stead all their lives.

A good teenage skin-care routine should have three main objectives: it should control the excess oil; it should keep the skin scrupulously clean; and it should be mildly antiseptic to discourage bacterial activity that works with the oil and dirt to cause spots. So the emphasis in the classic ‘cleanse, tone, moisturize’ routine is on cleanse and tone.

Many people think that washing their face with soap and water is sufficient. It isn’t! Ordinary toilet soap is not formulated to wash away efficiently all the detritus on the face including, often, make-up. So always ensure that your teenage son or daughter uses a properly-formulated soap or liquid soap to do the job. Granulated skin-care products used once or twice a week will help the circulation and get rid of dead skin cells that may clog the pores. Cleaning should take place every night and morning to ensure maximum effect, and should be followed by toning. Face cloths and towels should be used only by one individual, and they should be washed (by boiling) every day to get rid of all germs. For a teenager, an astringent or toner especially formulated for greasy skin is the one to use. Pour a little on a dampened piece of cotton wool and rub lightly over the face.

The biggest temptation for all spot sufferers is to have a good pick at the offending areas. This is the best way of spreading the infection! Each spot should be covered with an antiseptic cream and then, when it is ready and only then, lightly squeezed with clean hands and a clean tissue and dabbed with a medicated lotion.

The third part of the skin-care routine — moisturizing — probably won’t apply for this skin type, although it’s worth remembering that loss of moisture can occur even with greasy skin. If this happens, and the skin takes on a dry, flaky appearance, apply a light, non-greasy moisturizing lotion as and when necessary. There are several on the market that are formulated for this skin type.