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Spots, acne, large pores, blackheads, greasy, dry and/or oily skin are common teen skin problems.

Their skin (and hormones/emotions) are all over the place and they need a teenage skin care routine especially suited to their needs.

We’ve rounded up our favourite teenage skin care brands which, when coupled with a healthy diet, not eating too much sugar and not smoking can prevent or reduce the anxiety that comes with acne.

Before you start buying teenage skin care products, it’s important to understand your skin type.

Combination Skin

Blemishes, large-pores and oily skin in the T-zone (the forehead, eyebrows, nose and chin). Your cheeks are dry and sometimes tight.

Oily Skin

Your skin is shiny and has large pores. This skin type is most likely to have teenage acne and blackheads on the forehead, nose, chin, upper chest area or back.

This happens because your sebum (oil) production is working harder than necessary, usually due to hormonal changes during puberty (and a reason why a teenage skin care routine is important).

Sensitive Skin

Tender and delicate skin with small pores which is especially sensitive to environmental influences and stress.

Using the wrong products can result in anything from redness to feelings of tightness right through to allergic reactions. Spots are less common and rough flakes often appear on the skin.

Normal Skin

Unusual in teens and characterised by naturally matte, smooth and clear skin. You might get a spot every now and then, but that’s absolutely natural when you’re a teenager, as they are caused by hormones.

Pores are small and the skin has a good balance between dry and oily as your sebum production is optimal.

When it comes to teenage skincare products, Dr Amy Bibby, hospital Doctor and Head of Operations at Qured advises:

“Quick fixes are hard to find when it comes to dealing with acne prone skin. A common myth in regards to skincare is that toothpaste helps to dry up facial spots. However, this could actually have the reverse effect.

Toothpaste contains fluoride and whitening ingredients which can seriously irritate the skin and lead to allergic reactions.

Some well-known advice for mild acne involves keeping your face and hands clean, avoiding touching your face, drinking lots of water and maintaining a healthy diet.

But if nothing seems to be working then topical treatments are a good next step, you should go to see your GP who can give you advice on what to do, or, provide you with a prescription.

The aim is to kill bacteria on the surface of the skin and reduce the appearance of comedones, also known as whiteheads or blackheads.

Things that produce this type of acne are called ‘comedogenic’.

So, teens that are looking to buy make up or skin care products should try to find ones that are labelled ‘non-comedogenic’. 

I would always advocate washing your makeup off before going to the gym and sweating so that your pores do not block up.” 

Be proactive and try to stop spots before they arrive:

  • Clean your makeup brushes regularly

  • Change your pillowcases every week – clean cases, cleaner cheeks

  • Always take your makeup off before going to bed. Use cleanser not cleaning wipes.

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Our favourite teen/tween skincare products include:

1. NIP+FAB Teen Skin Fix salicylic acid

An addition to the already popular Teen Skin Fix range, the new Nip + Fab Salicylic Acid range helps exfoliate and soothe. It’s anti-inflammatory, unclogs congested pores with Salicylic Acid and, in our opinion, is one of the best acne treatments for teens.

Dermatologists and industry experts all agree that Salicylic Acid is the must-have ingredient you need to tackle spot-prone oily, combination and blemish-prone teenage skin.

2. La Roche Posay Effaclar

The La Roche Posay Effaclar range is enriched with thermal spring water and each product maintains skin's moisture whilst targeting breakouts and reducing the appearance of shiny, oily skin and enlarged pores.

The three step system is a good intro to the range and is suitable for sensitive and prone to allergic reactions skin.

3. dermalogica clear start

Blackhead-prone skin will love the Dermalogica Clear Start Breakout Clearing Booster, especially designed to tackle areas like a problematic T zone.

It’s formulated with powerful Salicylic Acid to clear impacted follicles, niacinamide to reinforce skin’s barrier, and Seaweed- derived Chondrus Crispus Extract to soothe and lock in moisture.

It wipes out breakout-causing bacteria in only 15 minutes, working with the skin’s natural microbiome to balance and help prevent over-drying.

Follow up with their Blackhead Clearing Fizz Mask and its unique fizzing technology to target and eliminate stubborn blackheads before they become a breakout.

The product activates upon application to open pores, dissolve and clear any congestion and blackheads, whilst botanicals work to combat dryness.

Sulfur has anti-microbial benefits, Kaolin Clay will absorb excess oil and Apple Fruit Extract helps balance and hydrate so skin is left feeling clean, smooth and refreshed.

4. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

The award winning and best-selling Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is famed for its ability to help dry up surface blemishes overnight.

It’s a fast-acting, effective spot treatment specially formulated with Salicylic Acid, Sulphur, and Zinc Oxide to help draw impurities from the skin and target pesky problems while you sleep.

5. Sebiaclear from Laboratoire SVR

French pharmacy brands are beloved by beauty experts due to their simple yet highly effective products and the Sebiaclear range from Laboratoire SVR is an anti-blemish skin care range with concentrated active ingredients for pimples and blackheads.

The formulas contain a powerful duo of anti-blemish active ingredients: gluconolactone, a potent anti-inflammatory agent, and niacinamide which has incredible antibacterial and sebum-regulating properties. 

There are eight multi benefit products in the range: keratolytic; anti-inflammatory; antibacterial, sebum-regulating, anti-marks, moisturising and mattifying.

6. The Body Shop tea Tree Range

An oldie but a goodie, the Tea Tree range from The Body Shop contains some of the best teen skincare products for a reason – they work!

Tackle blemishes, blackheads and oily skin with the cleansing power of natural tea tree, clinically proven to give clearer skin from one week.

Our favourite product is the Clay mask – it cleanses, cools and refreshes blemished skin without leaving the skin dry and taut.

Top Tip

How clean is your phone? Every time you go out (think school, college and work) you’re touching dirty things and using those hands to navigate your phone. All the bacteria from your hands love the warm surface of your phone’s screen so use an antibacterial wipe once a week to clean your screen.

7. ELEMIS Superfood Skincare

ELEMIS’ Superfood Skincare Range is a nutrient-dense, vegan-friendly collection, including Superfood Facial Wash, Day Cream, and Night Cream and a bestselling, award-winning Superfood Facial Oil. 

The Pre-Biotic gel cleanser gently cleanses and its natural Pre-Biotic helps balance the skin’s precious microflora.

It gently purges pollution, dirt, and excess sebum while Broccoli Seed, Avocado and Pumpkin Seed offer a balanced diet of active ingredients that help transform skin lacking vitality into a radiant complexion with an outdoor-fresh glow. 

Superfood Day Cream is rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants and combined with a protective Pre-Biotic, which helps defend skin against environmental aggressors, for skin that looks and feels healthy.

Lactobionic Acid, which is known for its ability to smooth skin, instantly brightens the complexion.

8. OY (Organic Young) by Green People

Great skin starts with a great routine and the Organic Young range by Green People contains organic ingredients (Organic Green Tea, Willow Bark, Witch Hazel, Sage and Tea Tree), designed to encourage a blemish-free complexion.

Willow Bark helps to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria, Tea Tree extract helps control bacteria, Rosehip oil encourages a clear complexion and Yucca deeply cleanses and gently removes dead skin cells.

The experts at Victoria Health recommend this skincare routine for acne-prone skin:

  • Cleanse with (9) Derma E’s Very Clear Acne Cleanser which removes built-up oil and debris to help unclog pores, promote clear skin and prevent acne breakouts.

  • Spritz with (10) Thyme Out (a moderate spritz) to moisten the skin area well. Allow to air dry.

    Thyme Out is so mild and actually soothes the skin meaning you can apply it many times a day to get your symptoms under control.

    Then, use Thyme Out as a preventative on an occasional basis 2-3 times weekly to prevent future breakouts

  • End with Garden of Wisdom’s (11) Niacinamide Serum on a cleansed face; leaving for 30 seconds before applying moisturiser.

  • Follow through with a moisturiser if desired, or in more chronic cases apply (12) Silver Serum to affected areas only.

What's a good natural skin care routine for teens?

Sarah Brown, Founder of (13) Pai Skincare has these tips for acne prone teen and/or hormonal adult skin:

  • Keep it simple.

    While a teenager's skin changes (thanks to plenty of fluctuating hormones!) it can become more sensitive and inflamed than usual, so look out for products that help to keep their skin calm without upsetting the delicate pH and oil balance.

    Just one, or maybe two, steps will do.

  • This is the perfect time to get your child into the habit of proper cleansing.

    Encourage them to cleanse once a day with a gentle alcohol and detergent-free Cleanser like the Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser.

  • Steer them away from harsh astringent toners and cleansing wipes which, although heavily marketing to teens, can strip away the skin's protective oils, triggering more oil and inflammation.

  • As they get older, they may find their skin starts to become oilier or dryer depending on their lifestyle and genetics.

    To help keep skin comfortable and balanced, introduce a lightweight moisturiser targeted to their skin type once a day.

  • For oilier skin types, avoid ingredients like beeswax, shea butter and silicones, which can create congestion.

    The Pai Geranium & Thistle Rebalancing Day Cream contains Thistle Oil, which helps to redistribute shine, to leave skin looking and feeling more balanced.

  • For drier skin types, try a gentle formula to keep skin supple without overloading young complexions.

  • Breakouts are pretty much part and parcel of teenage life.

    In older teens, a more active product like Copaiba & Zinc Perfect Balance Blemish Serum will help to calm and clear blemishes without irritating or over-drying.

  • For younger teens, a serum may be too active so encourage good habits like thorough daily cleansing and resisting the temptation to pick.

  • Make sure pillowcases are changed regularly and flipped over in between. This helps to minimise bacteria and reduce breakouts.

  • Most of all, reassure them that for most of us, breakouts are a temporary phase and that they have plenty of other reasons to feel confident.

Top Tip

Is your hair care or makeup routine making your skin worse? If you style your fringe with product, that gel/wax is transferring on it, onto the skin underneath, clogging your pores and making breakouts worse.

If you wear foundation or powder under your fringe, this can make your skin oilier and more prone to spots. If your fringe is hiding your forehead anyway, can you skip putting makeup on that area?

If you can’t, switch to a light hairspray or spritz and always cover your forehead with your hand when applying product.

14. Avene Cleanance

The award winning Cleanance range has been specially formulated for blemish prone and oily skin types.

We’re particularly fond of the scrub which contains kaolin clay to absorb excess oil and sweat and Salicylic Acid to gently exfoliate and remove dead skin cells.

15. Proactiv

Proactiv is huge in the States and is start to make waves in the skincare market over here too.

Despite their somewhat over enthusiastic celebrity endorsements, their kits (choose from 30, 60 or 90 day supply) have three products that work together to help prevent breakouts and gently minimise redness and hyper pigmentation.

16. Cetaphil

Mild face washes such as Cetaphil can be effective or you can choose one with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide in to help unclog pores.

The side effects of these can include dry, burning skin with some redness, but acne should visibly appear to improve after a month.  

You should always wash your face in the morning and at night.

17. BeautyPro Black Diamond Peel-Off Mask with Activated Charcoal

Winner of an OK! Beauty Award and shortlisted for the Editors Choice at the 2017 Mama + Baby Awards, the dual function treatment purifies and brightens skin by cleansing deep into pores, eliminating traces of daily dirt, oil and impurities.

Activated Charcoal draws impurities from the skin and loosens and eliminates blackheads.

After 20 minutes, peel the mask simply away for clearer and balanced skin. The mask is free from parabens, mineral oils, lanolin and petroleum.

18. Origins Super Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Gel

Awarded Best Blemish Treatment in the Glamour Beauty Power List 2018, the targeted gel helps to banish blemishes via Salicylic Acid.

Skin-calming Red Algae helps calm the skin. Free from Parabens, Phthalates, Propylene Glycol, Mineral Oil, PABA, Petrolatum, Paraffin and DEA.

19. Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit Oil-Free Moisturiser

An oil-free formula that quickly absorbs oil and hydrates without clogging pores.

Its MicroClear® technology delivers essential moisture and works to prevent spots, blemishes and breakouts.

With a delicate pink grapefruit fragrance, the moisturiser treats thirsty skin, leaving it smooth and soft.

20. Simple Daily Skin Detox Oil Be Gone Micellar Cleansing Water

This Micellar Cleansing Water uses thyme, zinc and witch hazel to deeply clean pores and remove excess oil.

Works particularly well on oily skin as it leaves face matte, fresh and balanced, and with no greasy residue that can lead to clogged pores.

What’s your must-have product or advice for problematic, acne-prone skin?