Emotional factors — and seasons — can conspire against teens when it comes to breakouts, says Dr. Doris Day (yes, that’s her real name), who is an expert on teens and acne, both professionally and maternally. The New York dermatologist and mother of two teens understands first-hand the stresses that affect teen skin.
But Dr. Day, who claims her chief role with teens is as an educator, says acne doesn’t have to be an expected scourge.
Dr. Day acknowledges that compliance is an issue with teens, particularly when they are tired, and don’t have the time to spend on their skin. But there are new prescription products which only have to be used once a day, and are a “good way to get started,” she points out, adding that once a teen gets motivated, she can make professional suggestions, like adding an exfoliating cleanser.
The dermatologist has an absolute rule: “Don’t pick.” adding, “the more people touch their pimples, the longer they last, and the greater the risk of scarring.” She says it’s important to see a dermatologist when there is any scarring, adding that “even if you have just one pimple a month, and it leaves a scar — that’s 12 a year.”
Contrary to popular belief, a teen’s diet has “nothing to do with” her skin condition, Dr. Day says. Greasy foods should be avoided for other reasons, she notes, but they do not harm the skin. In rare cases, a teen will be sensitive to dairy. “It’s not the fat content, but most of the cows we get milk from are pregnant, and the hormones can affect the skin,” she says.
Teens should develop a relationship with a dermatologist by bringing in the products they use, and discussing their current routine. While there are a lot of choices in products, many teens operate under the erroneous assumption that “if a little is good, a lot is better.”
Dr. Day is the author of 100 Questions and Answers About Acne and Forget the Facelift.
Skincare for girls
The new skincare line TESS (Teen Everyday Skincare System) was developed by a mom, Susan Shand, in consultation with her teenage daughter. The products, sold only at Sephora stores (and at www.sephora.com), include two “Day to Night” kits. One is for blemish-prone skin (“Skin with Attitude”), and one for combination (“Almost Normal”); they have 6-step regimens that are easy for teens to follow. What is particularly nice is that the products have girl-appeal, with strawberry facial cleanser, and vanilla night cream, but they are also all natural and made with high quality botanical extracts and essential oils. The day moisturizer, made with lavender, contains an SPF 15, and the “Zip It” blemish stick has peppermint oil along with salicylic acid. The complete kits are $48; individual products start at $14.