How to Develop an Effective Skin Care Regimen for Teens

Updated on November 15, 2019
MarleneB profile image

Marlene spends numerous hours researching solutions to common and sometimes obscure health and beauty issues. She shares her results here.

A good skin care regimen helps keep skin looking great.
A good skin care regimen helps keep skin looking great. | Source

Developing an Effective Skin Care Regimen

There are a large number of skin care systems on the market, making it difficult to determine which product or program will achieve results.

Knowing what causes skin irritations, such as acne, will help teens understand that skin irritations are not uncommon in teens. Plus, knowing what causes acne helps teens understand the significance of committing to a regular routine of hygiene in order to combat their acne. So, before delving straight into the skin care regimen, let's take a look at what causes acne and other skin irritations.

UC Davis Acne Statistics

The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) Health System reports that 85% of teens between the ages of 11 to 13 suffer from acne.

What Is Acne?

Most people do not need an introduction to acne. Anyone who has been a teenager has either suffered with acne or knows someone who has suffered with acne. Acne comes in many forms, which includes pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, and pustules.

We generally see acne start in the teen years because these are the years when teens are going through hormonal changes. As these changes occur, the hair follicles on the face, chest, and back secretes an oily substance called sebum. Sebum can block the follicle, causing the sebum to get trapped in the follicle. This blockage can cause a whitehead. The whitehead can develop into a blackhead when the whitehead is exposed to the air. When a bacterium enters the area, more serious conditions such as pimples, cysts, and pustules occur.

Start With Clean Skin

The first step in an effective skin care regimen is clean skin.
The first step in an effective skin care regimen is clean skin. | Source

Wash, Exfoliate, Tone, and Moisturize: An Effective Skin Care Regimen

The most important step in the skin care regimen is to keep the skin clean. Clean skin is very effective in taming acne. Washing, exfoliating, toning, and moisturizing are four basic components of a good skin care regimen. Teens do not like to be bogged down with a multitude of processes, so a simple and easy regimen without using a lot of products works best for teens.

Step 1: Wash

Washing rids the skin of excess oil and dirt. Wash the skin at least twice a day. Wash in the morning upon waking and again at night before going to bed. Use warm water to help open up the pores, then gently apply a skin cleansing soap, lotion, or gel. Rinse off with warm water and pat the skin with a dry cloth to remove dripping water from the skin.

Do not use hot water because the heat of hot water may increase oil secretion, thus, increasing the tendency to develop acne. If the skin becomes excessively oily during the day, wash the skin again, if possible.

Step 2: Exfoliate

Exfoliation helps to shed old, dead skin, exposing newer, clearer skin. After washing the skin, apply a product that contains benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, or beta hydroxy acid. Products made with these ingredients promote skin shedding. Since these products shed away dead skin cells, they tend to include anti-bacterial ingredients to protect the skin from infection.

While exfoliating, do not rub the skin vigorously. Rough treatment of the skin can irritate acne and make it worse. Be gentle with your skin, especially if you have skin eruptions or irritation.

Removing dry, dead skin is a necessary process in the skin care routine, but, too much exfoliating can cause irritation. Depending on the skin condition, exfoliation may be done daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. If skin becomes irritated after exfoliating daily, try going to a weekly routine, and if weekly treatments cause irritation, try going to a monthly routine.

Most exfoliation products are removed by gently rinsing the face with warm water.

Follow product directions carefully. And, as with any product, stop using the product if it causes too much irritation or undesired side effects.

When I was a teen, I remember putting honey on my face after washing it every morning. I would let the honey stay on my face as I dressed for school and then just before going to school I would rinse off the honey. I would apply a mild moisturizing sunscreen and then go to school. I didn't know it at the time, but I know now that honey contains salicylic acid and is a gentle exfoliant.

Step 3: Tone

Washing the skin opens up the pores. After washing, exfoliating, and rinsing the skin with warm water, turn the faucet to cool and splash this cool water on the skin to help close up the pores and tone the skin. Pat the skin with a dry cloth to remove dripping water from the skin.

In addition to splashing water on the skin, a skin toning product can be used. Generally, a cool splash of water is enough to close up the pores and tone the skin. However, if the skin shows signs of irritation after washing and exfoliating, try using a skin toning product to calm down the irritation. Toning products tend to contain eucalyptus extract or witch-hazel to calm and soothe the skin.

If you use a toning product, first remove excess water by patting the skin with a dry cloth, then apply the toning product. Toning products are generally applied with a cotton ball and left to dry on the face. Follow instructions on the product label for best results.

Step 4: Moisturize

Washing and exfoliating removes excess oils and can leave the skin feeling dry. A moisturizer adds needed moisture back to the skin. Be sure to use an oil-free moisturizer.

For additional skin care protection, use a product with sunscreen protection ingredients during the day. A sunscreen product with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 is the minimum recommended level for minimum protection from UVA/UVB sun rays.

Choose Skin Care Products Wisely

I have used many skin care products with various price ranges. I have purchased products sold at the local pharmacy, high end department stores, and products sold through door-to-door independent representatives. I selected products carefully and was satisfied with all of them, but ultimately I chose to stick with a product brand that was the least expensive and has served me and my skin care budget well.

Use the Brand that is Right for You

All products are not alike. A higher priced product does not automatically mean a product is better. The most important criteria are the ingredients placed in the product.

Be aware that some ingredients may not provide any benefit at all toward treating skin. These ingredients are known as fillers and may not add much value to a skin care regimen, but may add to the price of the product.

Other ingredients to be aware of are ingredients known as preservatives. Preservatives help keep the product from developing dangerous bacteria. Preservatives are good to have in a skin care product, but some companies charge more for preservative ingredients.

Active Ingredients in Skin Care Products

Pay attention to ingredients listed as active ingredients. Active ingredients are ingredients noted to be effective in addressing problem areas of the skin. The chart below shows some common active ingredients placed in skin care products specifically manufactured for the care and prevention of acne.

Certainly, this is not an exhaustive list of active ingredients. Consider this chart to be a starting list of active ingredients normally found in skin care products. As you read the ingredients label on the back of products, be familiar with active ingredients. Knowing the benefits will give you a better chance of receiving the solution you seek.

Active Ingredients Skin Care List

Active Ingredient
Alpha Hydroxy Acid
To exfoliate the skin, remove impurities, and keep the skin clear.
Ammonium Hydroxide
To stop skin irritation.
Benzoyl Peroxide
To dry up pimples.
Beta Hydroxy Acid
To exfoliate the skin, remove impurities, and keep the skin clear.
Cetyl Alcohol
To suppress skin irritation.
Skin moisturizer. Used to prevent or treat dry skin.
Eucalyptus Extract
To soothe, refresh, tone, and invigorate skin.
Glyceryl Stearate
To make the skin soft.
Glycolic Acid
To exfoliate the skin, remove impurities, and keep the skin clear.
Hydroxy Acid
To exfoliate and smooth skin.
Lactic Acid
To exfoliate and smooth skin.
Salicylic Acid
To wash away dirt, unclog pores, and remove dirt; to remove blemishes, and to help keep them from coming back.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
To provide UVA/UVB Sun Protection (Note: Minimum recommended SPF is 15)
To wash away dirt, unclog pores, and remove dirt; to remove blemishes, and to help keep them from coming back.
To soothe, refresh, tone, and invigorate skin.
To regulate hormones which normalize the skin’s production of oil.
Read labels to find out what ingredients are in your skin care products.

The Skin Doctor: Lemon Trick

Use Lemon to Treat Acne

Lemons contain alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids. They are a great way to treat acne, acne scars, uneven skin, blackheads, age spots, and freckles.

In this video, Kandee Johnson shows you how she uses lemons and sugar to give herself a mini face peel for soft, unblemished skin.

The video is 5:07 in length. See the excellent results Kandee receives from using lemon and sugar in step two—the exfoliation part of her skin care regimen.

Special Skin Care Treatment

Sometimes, no matter how well you treat your skin, you may still break out in pimples. There are special skin care products you can use to help combat eruptions as they occur. These products are often labeled as treatments. They can be harsher processes with a higher level of active ingredients. Treatment products are not meant to be used every day. In fact, they are to be used occasionally, when you need to remove a pimple fast.

When using a treatment product, apply the treatment product as directed on the instruction label. Most treatment products are designed to be used as spot treatments. Treatment products tend to dry up the skin very quickly, therefore they are not to be applied to the entire face. Use treatment products only if needed to clear up a blemish fast.

Additional Tips to Boost Your Skin Care Regimen

  • During sleep, the body goes through a regeneration process, so getting the proper amount of sleep is helpful in maintaining a good skin care regimen.
  • Stress produces a chemical action in the body that can cause skin eruptions. Reducing stress is very helpful in keeping skin clear.
  • It is alright to wear make-up, but be careful to select make-up products that are labeled as non-comedogenic. Non-comedogenic products are specifically created to keep pores from clogging.
  • As much as possible, avoid using oily products on the hair and skin. Keep hair off the face if hair is styled with products containing oils, pomades, and chemicals, such as mouse, gel, and hair spray.

Skin Care Resources:

The following official web sites are extremely valuable for providing in-depth information about skin, skin problems, and skin care solutions.

National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI

National Institutes of Health -A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine (Medicine Plus)

UC Davis Health System


About the Author

MarleneB is a certified Skin Care Consultant and Make-up Stylist with an internationally-based corporation. Upon discovering the company's excellent products at budget-friendly prices in 1994, MarleneB became a professional representative, helping family and friends enjoy blemish-free skin.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers


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    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      14 months ago from USA

      Thank you Angelo. Taking care of our skin is very important and as you said, very difficult. I am glad this article helped you.

    • Angelo Samonte profile image

      Angelo Samonte 

      14 months ago from Mandaluyong City

      This is such a good read! Thank you for this! Navigating through the world of skincare is very difficult, this is a great help

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      3 years ago from USA

      Thank you, StellaSmith098, for your compliment. My mother taught me a simple skin care routine as outlined here and today, I still use it with much success.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      4 years ago from USA

      Hi justmesuzanne. You have identified the true routine for excellent skin care - consistency. You don't need fancy creams or solutions, you just need to maintain a good routine every day. It works!

    • justmesuzanne profile image


      4 years ago from Texas

      Nice, thorough treatment of the topic. I think the main thing to remember about skin care is consistency. For me, anyway, a simple routine is best. I think the fact that I have performed pretty much the same routine every single night for more than 40 years has helped me avoid wrinkles (pretty much) and keep my skin in good condition. Voted up, useful and interesting. :)

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      5 years ago from USA

      Hello georgescifo. I am amazed at how well lemons work for helping tame acne.

    • georgescifo profile image


      5 years ago from India

      Hi Marlene, really loved reading your post on skin care tips for teens. In my experience acne is something that most of the teens scare as it can take out the beauty and charm of the teenage times. Thanks again for sharing the tips.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      6 years ago from USA

      Thank you, DDE. Proper skin care is something we must do every day. It is good to know the information provided here is helpful.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      How to Develop an Effective Skin Care Regimen for Teens acne is a problem and you explained so well here on this issue for teens. A useful and most helpful hub.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      6 years ago from USA

      Hello alocsin! You are so kind. I wish I could show people a picture of my mother. She has the clearest skin I have ever seen. She taught me a lot about skincare. The steps mentioned here are things I learned from her. The medical resources were read and cited to verify that my mom knows what she's talking about. Thanks mom! And, thank you, alocsin, for sharing.

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I will give this hub to some nieces of mine who are troubled my acne. I remember having a terrible time with acne in my teens. It's unfortunate this hub wasn't there to help. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      6 years ago from USA

      Hi Brett, you are so right. The hands get so dirty throughout the day, so I try hard not to touch my face. Thank you for reading and for sharing.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett C 

      6 years ago from Asia

      Another aspect of reducing spots is to avoid touching, scratching and picking during the day. Your hands pick up a lot of dirt and germs, which then get on your face if you keep touching it.

      Shared, pinned, tweeted, up and useful.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      6 years ago from USA

      Thank you, Rajan. As an adult, I still use this regimen for myself. It's simple and it works really well.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Very comprehensive hub, Marlene.. Will aid those who need extra care for their skin.

      Voted up, useful.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hello pimpmyberry. Thank you very much for your very positive feedback.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hello MsDora. Thank you for your feedback. You are right. Once I was familiar with the purpose of the active ingredients, selecting the right product became easier.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hello Faith. Thank you for your feedback. I enjoy using lemons as part of my regular routine. In fact, this morning I used lemon and sugar to exfoliate and my skin feels very smooth right now.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hello ARUN KANTI. Thank you for sharing this hub with your daughter. I am glad she read it. I am confident that if she follows the simple skin care regimen outlined here, she will find success.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hello Deergha. As I was writing this hub, my daughter called to say my 10 year old grandson just got his first pimple. Now is the perfect time to start him on a skin care regimen so that by the time his hormones are in full force, he will already be following a program to battle acne attacks.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hello Mhatter99! While nothing can be 100% guaranteed, I can say that following a regular skin care regime helps a lot.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hi ChitrangadaSharan! You are right to mention the mental trauma associated with acne. There is a lot of that, especially when the acne is on the face. I have seen endless teasing and "nicknames" for teens who struggle with acne. It hurts. .. a lot. I am so glad your daughter is doing better now. No doubt it is for following a determined and consistent skin care regime.

    • pimpmyberry profile image

      Gloria Philips 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Very interesting and useful hub. Thanks for sharing, thumb up and useful :)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      7 years ago from The Caribbean

      Marlene, thanks for a very comprehensive guide on skin care. I especially appreciate the ingredients benefit list so we can read the label with a fair amount of understanding. Voted Up and Useful!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      7 years ago from southern USA

      It is always best to start young with a good skin care regimen. I have heard of using lemon on your skin.

      Thanks so much for the great tips here for teens.

      Vote up ++ and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • ARUN KANTI profile image


      7 years ago from KOLKATA

      I advised my teenage daughter to go through the hub which she has found quite interesting and useful. Thank you very much and wish you all the best.

    • dghbrh profile image


      7 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Very interesting and useful hub. My son is going to be 13 this year and he is showing the signs of oily skin and i think its better to take care now on. This is really helpful for me. Thank you very much.

      Shared and votes way up.


    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      This may really help my wife (if she follows your advise). thank you

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Hi MarleneB!

      This is a great hub, providing so many useful informations. My daughter has faced the problem of acne and the mental trauma associated with it, which the teenagers usually experience. It continued for a very long time, inspite of taking all possible precautions. By God's grace she is fine now.

      Your article will benefit many, I am sure about it.

      Thanks for this useful article. Voted up and shared!

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Bill, you are the most supportive person I know. Thank you so much. I just hit the "publish" button and here you are with your support. Thank you for the feedback.

      It's my first hub after... you know... my dad. My spirit is elevated and I'm ready to get back into the writing world. My head is spinning with so many topics. This, I guess, was one of them. Who knows why, but I am sure someone in the world could use the information.

      Thanks, again, Bill. By the way, I'm having a great weekend - getting ready to go pick some veggies. I hope your weekend is treating you well.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I never got a notification for this one.....well, obviously this is not up my alley, but supporting you is, so here I am.

      Good job my friend. I hope you had a great weekend and all is well in your world.



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