Teen Acne + Sun
Teenagers and the sun…at times it feels like a lost cause trying to get through to them about the risks! I get it. No teenager is happy with themselves - few are confident enough to embrace their natural skin tone or self-possessed enough to wear a sun-shirt when their friends are baking in a string bikini. It's a tricky business, talking to "invincible" kids. But thinking back to my teenage years and now chatting with my friends' teenagers, I've come to believe that one of the roots of the teen-tanning obsession is not about being "tan", but rather about having good, clear skin. Most young people mistakenly believe that tanning gets rid of and/or heals acne. Ironically, this couldn't be further from the truth. Over-exposure to UV radiation (either at the beach or at a tanning salon) dries out skin, which causes sebaceous glands to produce more oil, and more oil means more breakouts. So, as your teen lounges in the backyard, face ski-high hoping to "dry-up" those little buggers, they are actually making matters worse. Wrinkles and skin cancer might not scare teenagers, but the threat of a big ol' zit in the middle of their forehead usually will. If you've talked till you're blue in the face, pleaded and begged for them to wear sunscreen, try the "pimple talk". It is our responsibility to educate our kids, to figure out ways into their twisted thought processes and beat them at their own game.
Change will not happen over-night, but if we are to succeed, we must be consistent in our message and set an example. We have to be experts, at least in their eyes, unwavering towers of safety, practicality and wisdom. They will pretend to hate us for it, but deep, deep down they will feel secure knowing we care enough to ride their backsides and make a stink. I'm not claiming that the "pimple talk" will suddenly and miraculously change your teenagers point-of-view about tanning, but at the very least it will set them straight about the facts and present them with yet another reason to be sun safe. Here are a few other tips...
While sun exposure, or a sunburn, doesn’t heal pimples, it does temporary hide them: Buy your teen a gel based self-tanner/sunscreen combo or a bronzer. Check-out Environmental Working Group's list and ratings of sunless tanning products for ideas.
Many products made for teen acne contain benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide is not only incredibly drying, it makes skin extra sensitive to the sun. For my own combination skin, I've started using clay-based cleansers and I'm in love. They are pricey, but they've really worked for me. Suki Transformative Purifying Mask and Fresh Umbrian Clay Mattifying Mask are face cleanser/mask combos. They have literally changed my skin!