Skip to main content

How to Develop an Effective Skin Care Regimen for Teens

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.

Skin Care Routine for Teens

There are a large number of skincare 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 irritation 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 skincare regimen, let's take a look at what causes acne and other skin irritations.

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 secrete 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.

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.

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.

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 skincare 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.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Bellatory

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.

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 the best results.

4. Moisturize

Washing and exfoliating remove 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 skincare products in various price ranges. I have purchased products sold at the local pharmacy, and 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 skincare 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 in treating skin. These ingredients are known as fillers and may not add much value to a skincare 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 skincare product, but some companies charge more for preservative ingredients.

Active Ingredients in Skincare 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 skincare 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 skincare 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 Skincare List

Read labels to find out what ingredients are in your skin care products.

Active IngredientBenefit

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.

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 Skincare 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


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

Question: I am 13 years old. Can I use a face wash, a face scrub, and makeup as a 13-year-old?

Answer: Yes. You can use a face wash, a face scrub, and makeup. But, be sure to always remove your makeup at the end of the day.

Question: I am fifteen-years-old, and have been suffering from typical acne conditions for two years. Is it common?

Answer: People of all ages can suffer from acne. Some people suffer for a short while and then the acne goes away. Some people suffer with acne all of their lives. Some treatments work and some do not. Every body is different. I recommend seeing a dermatologist to determine whether your acne condition can be treated or if more attention is needed to control it.

Question: Hi, I am 13 years old. Can I use a pimple clearing face wash and also use a face scrub ?

Answer: Yes. You can use a pimple clearing face wash and a face scrub at the same time. But, be sure that your face wash does not contain any scrubbing particles. Make sure that only the face scrub has the scrubbing components.

© 2013 Marlene Bertrand


Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on April 05, 2019:

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 on April 04, 2019:

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

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on September 19, 2016:

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.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 26, 2015:

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 from Texas on June 25, 2015:

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. :)

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on April 01, 2015:

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

georgescifo from India on March 31, 2015:

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.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 28, 2013:

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

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 28, 2013:

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.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 13, 2013:

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.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on June 13, 2013:

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.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 13, 2013:

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 C from Asia on June 12, 2013:

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.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 05, 2013:

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

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 05, 2013:

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

Voted up, useful.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 03, 2013:

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

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 03, 2013:

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.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 03, 2013:

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.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 03, 2013:

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.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 03, 2013:

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.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 03, 2013:

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

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 03, 2013:

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.

Gloria Philips from Canada on June 03, 2013:

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

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 03, 2013:

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 from southern USA on June 03, 2013:

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


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.

deergha from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!! on June 02, 2013:

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.


Martin Kloess from San Francisco on June 02, 2013:

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

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 02, 2013:

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!

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 02, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 02, 2013:

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.


Related Articles