Expert Advice

Ebony Ilsley shares her top 5 tips for tackling teen acne

Simple things teens and parents can do to navigate positively through this phase.

By Ebony Ilsley
As a mum of a teen, I know you are only ever as happy as your saddest child.
Having a teen struggle with the physical and emotional effects of acne can be hard for everyone in the family.
In a world obsessed with social media and consumed by the selfie, acne can be your teen's worst nightmare.
But if you take the right steps and work with the skin instead of against it - the acne phase can be relatively painless and short lived.
The following are the top five teen skincare tips I share with parents to help you navigate positively through this phase.
Ebony Ilsley is one of the founders of Real U, a breakthrough Australian skincare technology for oily and acne prone skin. Image: Supplied.
1: Education
Knowing about skin is the key for both you and your teen. It's important to make sure that you are both on the same page when it comes to acne, so that you're able to develop treatment options together - don't make it a "me against you" struggle.
2: Be gentle
At the first sign of breakouts, be careful not to overreact and reach for harsh stripping products that contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.
A lot of acne products are designed to strip the oils from the surface of the skin, which destroys the skin's natural protective barrier.
The skin then responds by sending the sebaceous (oil) glands into overdrive to compensate. This also gives acne causing bacteria a chance to takeover, leading to further breakouts and sensitivity.
Instead, reach for a skincare routine that works with your skin - not against it, to clear and control breakouts.
3: Begin simply
Start with a simple routine.
In the early teen years it can be hard to stick to a skincare routine, (especially for boys) so l like to keep it as simple as possible. By catching breakouts early, it can sometimes clear them up for good, while also setting up effective, lifelong skincare habits.
4: Know the triggers
Acne triggers can be internal.
On average, 80 percent of people report having experienced varying degrees of acne during their teen years.
As we know, this is largely driven by fluctuating hormones, but it's important to be aware of certain foods that can create a spike in these hormones that in turn trigger breakouts.
The most common culprits are excessive sugar, dairy and fatty foods.
Although dairy can be easily switched out for rice or almond milk, it's hard to limit these kind of food for young teens.
To make it easier, work together to discover what could be triggering their breakouts.
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5: Know your products
Pay close attention to what you are putting on your teen's skin – many treatments for acne, whether a topical or oral medication, can come with a long list of nasty side effects, including skin sensitivity, skin peeling, dryness, sensitivity to the sun, and even depression, just to name a few.
It is only now, with Real-u's scientific development, that it's possible to clear acne without enduring the nasty side effects.
Research the known side effects of certain products and don't be afraid to discuss these with your doctor or pharmacist.
For more information head to the Real Talk blog on www.real-u.com.au for loads of easy to understand info.