Q. I’m 14 years old and I don’t know what skincare products are good for my skin or how I should take care of it. My forehead is very wrinkly, I grow a bunch of acne and I have blackheads, also huge pores and really dark circles.
A. We are impressed with a range called Good Things specifically formulated for touchy teenage skin. Good Things was launched by leading beauty journalist Alice Hart-Davis for her own teenage daughters Molly and Beth. This is what Alice recommends for you.
‘Firstly, get started with a simple skincare routine. There are some new products in Good Things that could help. They are made with activated charcoal, an ingredient that acts like a magnet to absorb dirt and oil from the skin, so they are good for gently cleaning dirt from pores and keeping down bacteria levels without stripping all the natural moisture out of your skin.
‘Whatever your age, skin really appreciates having a regular simple routine. It’s really tricky to keep your skin stable when you are a teenager as your hormone levels are soaring as you go through puberty and make your skin more oily and this is what provokes spots. You need to cleanse your face morning and evening, use some kind of treatment product to calm down any angry spots, and moisturise any dry patches.
‘Cleansing is really important to get rid of the dirt, sweat, bacteria and oil that builds up on our skin during the day. Wet your face, then take a little cleanser (try Good Things Pore-fectly Clear Face Wash, £4.99 from Boots.com) and gently massage it all around your face in small circles, concentrating on any oily areas like your nose and chin, then rinse it off with warm water. Massaging your skin is a great habit to get into, as it helps improve the blood circulation in the skin and so makes skin look brighter and healthier.
‘In the morning, dab any spots with Good Things Clearly Spotless Clearing Gel /£4.99, which is antibacterial to help control spots. It comes in a small tube so you can tuck this in your school bag to reapply during the day.
‘Next, moisturise any dry patches. You might think that, if your skin is spotty, you don’t need to moisturise it. But if your forehead is wrinkly, the skin is probably a bit dry. Use an oil-free moisturiser like Good Things Miracle Mattifier/£7.99, which is hydrating but won’t clog your skin and contains blackcurrant extract to help absorb excess oil.
‘At night, instead of moisturiser, try Good Things Overnight Clearing Serum/£5.99, which contains extracts of licorice to help calm angry spots and purifying willow bark which helps keep pores clean. Using a clay-based face-mask twice a week should help with the blackheads: try Good Things Pore-fectly Clear Face Mask/£5.99.
Follow this routine for a month and see if it improves your skin. If it is not helping your spots, try adding in a product containing salicylic acid, which is really effective at cleaning out the pores. Try Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid, £7.50 at paulaschoice.co.uk. You put this on cotton wool and wipe it over your skin after cleansing and
before treatment products and moisturiser. Start using it once a day, and if your skin feels ok with it, step up to twice. Again, try it for a month before judging whether it is working or not. I know we all want something that gives instant results but skin takes a while to adjust and respond to new products. And if all this doesn’t help, make an appointment with your GP to ask for prescription-strength anti-acne products, or ask for a referral to a dermatologist.
Unfortunately skincare isn’t going to help with dark circles. Sometimes, dark circles may be down to not getting enough sleep, not drinking enough water during the day, or not eating healthily. But they are often something you inherit from your parents so if you already eat well, drink plenty and get enough sleep, your best bet is to find a concealer that matches your skin tone (try Maybelline’s Fit Me concealer/£5.99 at superdrug.com, which comes in six shades).