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Spot of trouble? Taming teenage skin and how to treat acne

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26741067 - a picture of four friends enjoying their time in spa with facial masks over white background
26741067 - a picture of four friends enjoying their time in spa with facial masks over white background

For some, the teenage years can be a tricky time – particularly when it comes to appearance. If your teenager is struggling with their skin, there’s no doubt they’re feeling self-conscious about it. Skincare expert, Sia Hendry from You By Sia, busts some beauty myths in her guide to solving teen skin problems and how to treat acne. 


Are you wondering how to treat acne? Teenage acne can have a lasting impact on a teenager’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Those affected by acne can feel shy, self-conscious, and some even stop socialising out of embarrassment. But the good news, it can be an easy problem to fix if you know the source of the trouble and the right treatments your teen needs. 

1. Manage bacteria on the skin with the right product

Acne is caused by bacteria surrounding the hair follicle, which causes inflammation in the skin. This can lead to pimples, pustules and even cysts developing. The first line of defence against acne is to get the bacteria under control, using the correct grade of product (over-the-counter, cosmeceutical, or entirely natural). 

2. Understand where and how acne is formed

Bacteria forms in the hair follicle in the deeper layer of the skin (known as the dermis) and multiplies rapidly, mixing with excess oil (sebum). The pimple then shows on the top layer of the skin due to the build-up of sebum and infection beneath. This mixture blocks the pore, causing the inflammation. To combat cystic and serious acne, the treatment you use needs to be able to reach the deeper layer of the skin to get bacteria under control and calm the inflammation.

3. Over-the-counter products vs. cosmeceuticals

For serious cases, some over-the-counter products may not be able to reach the deeper layer of the skin, where the bacteria is created, so you may consider a stringer cosmeceutical-grade products that have the ability to reach the deeper layers where bacteria are formed. However, it’s important to consider cases individually as topical treatments may be effective for less serious breakouts or just one or two spots. 

4. Treating excess oil on the skin

Some products work to remove excess oil on surface of the skin, giving the user a ‘dry’ feeling that people often believe will help to stop the acne and breakouts. But keep in mind that stripping the skins oily layer of sebum (acid mantle) will cause the skin to make more to replace it, possibly making the condition worse. Our skin produces a natural layer of oil and removing too much and ‘drying out’ your skin consistently may trigger over-production of more natural oil. 

5. The importance of calming inflammation 

When the skin is inflamed, it cannot balance properly. Making sure that the bacteria is removed and assisting to calm the inflammation will help to repair the skin quicker and avoid a cascade of inflammation which can be painful and lad to pigmentation. 

6. Have a good home skincare routine

Repair, feed and calm the skin twice daily with suitable products to assist the the skin’s dermal layers to help fight infections.

7. Look for anti-bacterial and anti-microbial agents in your products

Antimicrobials kills microorganisms or inhibit their growth, while anti-bacterial agents interfere with the growth and reproduction of bacteria.

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