What Skincare Routine Should Your Teen Follow

What Skincare Routine Should Your Teen Follow

You can probably remember at least a few things about your teenage skincare routine, be it gloopy benzoyl peroxide that bleached your pillowcases, or astringent toners that stung as your swiped them across your face. While your current skincare routine is likely a far cry from whatever you were doing at fifteen, it’s also probably not suitable for your own teen. If you’re hoping to help your teenager build a skincare routine that works but aren’t sure where to start, this guide is for you.


Skin Changes


f you’re reading this article you’ve likely noticed your teen’s skin is changing (or you you anticipate that it will change) as they grow through puberty. The hormones responsible for all manner of other teen changes and challenges also affect the skin, increasing oil production. Most of the skincare recommended for teens targets this concern, though some teen experience what’s referred to as “combination skin.” Combination skin refers to an oily T-zone and drier skin on other areas of the face. Of course, most teens get serious about skincare when they start experiencing acne. A solid routine will address both preventative skin maintenance and active acne treatment.



Of course, getting your teen to stick to a skincare routine at all might be one of your concerns. Teenagers experience a unique set of lifestyle factors that influence their ability to achieve results with skincare systems that might work well otherwise. To build an appropriate routine for your teen, you’ll need to identify which factors could be contributing to their skin issues. Here are a few of the most common concerns and ways you can minimize their impact on your teen’s skin:

  • Inconsistent schedule

Between longer school days, extracurricular activities and sports practices, and an evolving social life, your teen is likely adjusting to a totally new (and ever-changing!) schedule. Teens also naturally start to become night owls (and late sleepers) but early school schedules might mean they’re short on sleep. It’s much harder to stick to a skincare routine when you can’t keep a consistent schedule, which is one reason your teen might be struggling.

  • Stress

Along with a new schedule comes new stress, and your teen might be feeling the pressure of all the new responsibilities that come with growing up. The stress of managing their academic obligations, conflict within social groups, and more demanding extracurricular activities can affect your teen’s already-raging hormones, raising cortisol and increasing oil production in the skin.

  • Hygiene 

If your teen is struggling with maintaining proper skin hygiene, it’s normal. Sweat production (and the B.O. and you might have noticed) increases during puberty, and learning new hygiene practices to control it doesn’t necessarily come naturally to teens. Struggling to maintain sufficient personal hygiene is an issue exacerbated by inconsistent schedules, sleep deprivation, and feelings of overwhelm from new stressors.

  • Touching the face

Alongside hygiene, teens often forget that habits involving touching their face can become a problem. Touching the face spreads bacteria that can cause acne. These habits can range from compulsive skin-picking (an issue caused by stress and/or certain psychological disorders) to habitually resting their face on their hands during class. Anything else that touches the face regularly, like masks or a bike helmet strap, can also harbor bacteria and should be clean or disinfected before use.

  • Sports and activities

If your teen participates in sports or other active extracurriculars, there are even more hygiene challenges involved in maintaining clear skin. Your teen might be sweating it out a practice for hours and then heading directly to a social event with friends— all without a shower or in some cases, a clean change of clothes. 

  • Makeup

Teen years are typically when experimentation with makeup begins, which can lead to or worsen skin issues. Teen often purchase inexpensive, poor quality products and don’t properly remove them at the end of the day. Acne, allergic reactions, and increased skin sensitivity can result from ingredients in makeup products (no matter the price point.)


Product Pitfalls: What to Avoid

Even if your teen is proactive about skincare (that’s great!) and takes an interest in building a routine to care for their skin, they might still struggle to find products that suit their needs. A teenager who’s interested in skincare products might have issues caused by the following:  

  • Too many products

Discovering the world of skincare can become something of a hobby, and some teens are to try anything and everything marketed at them (or that they see their friends use.) Without understanding how to combine the right ingredients, apply products at the right time, and protect against skin sensitivity and sun damage can destroy healthy skin in even the most devoted skin care junkie.

  • Poor quality products

It’s unfortunately a common belief that teens don’t need the same quality of skincare products that adults do. Teens have uniquely challenging skin concerns, and buying the cheapest drugstore version of everything doesn’t always get results. Teens themselves may also buy poor quality products that are accessible to them on a limited budget. Quality skincare can be affordable, but it’s not universal.

  • Trendy products

Teens are especially susceptible to marketing and peer pressure that pressure that influences them to buy trendy products. Celebrity skincare brands, attractive packaging, and other gimmicks can be fun, but these products aren’t always effective.


What to look for instead

It might feel like helping your teen find an appropriate skincare routine is bound for failure. While there are certainly challenges, you can address many of them through selecting products that fit the following criteria:

  • Simple

Look for products free from dyes and fragrances, and make sure you can clearly understand the product’s intended use. Avoid 2-in-1 products or complicated skincare systems that require you to buy a full range of products.

  • Gentle 

Teen skincare can wind up causing sensitivity, dryness, and damage if aggressive anti-acne ingredients are overused. Be mindful of the concentration and frequency of use recommended for common topicals like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and retinoids. Teens with acne may think more of a good thing is better— that’s usually not the case. Teens also need to be mindful of sun protection if they are using acne topicals.

  • Convenient application

When it comes to teens, convenience matters. Packaging that doesn’t seal easily or can’t be thrown in a bag to take to sports practice or a sleepover isn’t realistic for many teens, who are more likely to use skincare they can apply easily and take on the go.


Skincare Success with PurClarity



So what exactly should you include in this routine? Just the basics:  

  • Face wash: Use twice daily, choose something that effectively removes sweat and makeup, but is non-drying. For eye makeup, a separate cleanser might be required. Try this one
  • Moisturizer: Use twice daily after cleansing, A gentle, non-greasy moisturizer is essential for maintaining a healthy skin barrier. This one is great for all skin types, including acne.
  • SPF: Sun protection should be applied in the morning after moisturizer, and re-applied after sweating. This sunscreen is made for oily skin and won’t worsen acne.
  • Hypochlorous acid: A hypochlorous acid spray is a convenient way for teens to kill acne-causing bacteria after gym class or sports practice. It should also be applied after cleansing to treat and prevent active breakouts. Unlike most other acne topicals, it’s non-irritating and anti-inflammatory. This one from Purclarity Skincare is effective at clearing and preventing teen breakouts.