Your early teen years is the moment to establish your own skin-care ritual. It’s time to find a cleanser that works for you. I recommend using a gel cleanser if you have oily skin or occasional breakouts. Bath soaps or detergent bar soaps are too harsh and drying for your face. Glycerin soaps are fine, especially if formulated for oily or sensitive skin. If your skin is dry, use a creamy cleanser. Cleanse your face both in the morning and at night, paying extra attention at the end of the day, when your face is grimier.

Moisturizing your face is also essential. Use an oil-free moisturizer if you are prone to breakouts. The tendency among teens who struggle with pimples is to overdry the skin. Drying out zits isn’t the solution really dry surface skin can end up trapping impurities beneath the skin, making matters worse. It is better to help your pores breathe via proper moisturizing. Pat on moisturizer when your skin is still slightly damp from cleansing, both in the morning and at night.

If blemishes are constantly present, consider going to a dermatologist. There are so many remedies available to you from a skin doctor that there is no reason to suffer with pimples, blackheads, or Whiteheads. If you do not know a dermatologist, ask your school nurse or a friend. And as you’ve been told before, keep your hands off picking at your face almost never makes things better. (See post 29 to learn how to cover a glaring pimple.) Question: What can I do about blackheads? I wash and tone my skin and use masks, but I cannot get rid of them. Even after a professional facial, my blackheads are back in three weeks. Help!

Answer: Examine how you wash your face. Are you doing it in good light? Are you washing carefully along your hairline? If blackheads appear around the edges of your face, use a headband to pull back your hair and concentrate on cleaning these areas well. If blackheads appear on your nose and chin, try keeping a gentle grainy scrub in the shower (look for soothing ingredients like honey) and work scrub into affected areas two or three times a week.

Moisturizer containing alpha hydroxy acids sometimes help combat blackheads. Once a week, you may try steaming your face prior to cleansing it it is helpful in keeping pores clean.


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