What causes breakouts in teenage skin? | Teen Skin Experts Haywards Heath
Teenage skin can be a minefield, whether it’s dealing with congestion, oiliness, sensitivity, or whiteheads – the number of products on the market and quick fix solutions can be overwhelming. Added to the fact that you don’t know who or what to believe, you can quickly find yourself buying the entire range of products, all with no results.
Here at Winslow, we offer a Teen Prescription Facial and Skin Lesson which is designed to remove some of the confusion and hype around key ingredients and products.
In this blog we will be going through the three main factors that lead to breakouts and how to treat them, just like we would in our Teen Skin Lessons!
First factor…oil | Teen Skin Experts Haywards Heath
The first factor in breakouts is a well-known one, oil! Specially sebum.
Sebum is responsible for keeping your skin hydrated and soft. However, in teens (with all the hormones raging around!) this sebaceous oil becomes thicker and more likely to clog the pores and give an oily shine to the skin.
The best way to describe it is to imagine, pre hormones, a thin, light clear olive oil that is sitting on the surface on the skin. Post hormones, this olive oil transforms into a thick butter that gives an oily shine to the surface and clogs the pores.
The best way to change our sebaceous oil from butter back into olive oil is using a very important ingredients called Salicylic Acid. Salicylic Acid is fantastic for thinning sebum and mopping up excess oil. You can get Salicylic Acid in various concentrations but always try and look for one at 1-3% maximum. Any higher than that could be damaging on young, sensitive skins.
Second factor…too many skin cells | Teen Skin Experts Haywards Heath
The second factor in breakouts is excess skin cells.
For the average adult, we produce around 1-2 million skin cells a day, teens produce 5 million plus! This increased turnover of new skin cells means that the metabolism of the skin is much higher, meaning that the skin is always fresh, glowing and youthful (something we try and emulate in more mature skins later on!) but the downside is that the build of these excess skin cells can lead to congestion. When combined with the thick butter like sebum oil that we mentioned above. These two factors quickly lead to congestion and breakouts on the skin.
The best way to control these excess skin cells? You may have already guessed it, exfoliation! Exfoliation is the quickest and easiest way to target excess skin cells, you can exfoliate the skin with either a physical or chemical exfoliant. Ideally in teenage skin, which is more prone to sensitivity, I would always opt for a lighter, physical exfoliant rather than a stronger chemical one which could be over sensitizing the skin. Something like a gentle, rice based exfoliant is ideal. The Daily Microfoliant or Daily Milkfoliant from Dermalogica is perfect, used 2-3 times a week and building to daily use over the course of a few weeks.
Third factor…bacteria | Teen Skin Experts Haywards Heath
The third and final factor is the one we have the least control of…bacteria. Although this is the factor that most teens often jump to when they see their first white head, “It must mean I have lots of bacteria or dirt on my skin!”. Bacteria (specifically p-acnes, the bacteria that causes breakouts on the skin) is largely down to genetics. If your mother and father had acne and breakouts, then they most likely had a larger number of p-acnes in the skin and therefore it’s more likely that the teen will also suffer from them.
So, when you have all these excess skin cells on the surface, the 5 million a day being produced, and you combine that with this thick, butter like oily on the surface, you end up with the two combining and forming congestion on the surface on the skin. This blocks the pores which means no oxygen is getting in and out. This is when the p-acnes come out to play!
When there is no oxygen, these p-acnes multiply and it just so happens that happen to love the enzymes within the sebaceous oil – it’s their favourite food! So suddenly they are locked in the pore, with an endless supply of food and no oxygen – they are in heaven!
This is when a breakout will start to enlarge and get bigger and sometimes sore to touch as the pore beneath is under so much pressure from all the multiplying bacteria. This is only worsened when you pick at the skin, spreading the bacteria around the face.
The best way to treat these bacteria and stop the cycle of excess skin cells, combined with excess oil, leading to block pores which lead to these p-acnes having a party in your skin is an ingredient called Niacinamide. Niacinamide is an anti-bacterial that helps to sterilize the surface of the skin, killing the bacteria. Other ingredients such as tea tree, Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid also work well.
The best product I’ve come across to kill the bacteria is Dermalogica’s Breakout Clearing Booster from the ClearStart range. Apply as needed to the areas and watch the breakouts shrink over night!
So, there you have it, the three factors that lead to breakouts. Excess skin cells, excess oil, and bacteria. If you therefore use a good (but gentle) exfoliator 2-3 times a week to target the excess skin cells, a cleanser or moisturiser that contains a high level of Salicylic Acid to thin out the excess oil and mop it up and then finally a on the spot treatment with either Niacinamide or Benzoyl Peroxide to kill the bacteria on the surface of the skin then you have the makings of a dream team to kill breakouts and stop acne!
For more information on teenage skin then book in for a Teen Prescription Facial with Teen Skin Lesson at Winslow Skincare! We are only clinic in Sussex that offers Teenage Facials combined with Skin Lessons and it’s a great and interesting way for your skin to learn more about their skin, whilst having a lovely treatment as well!