From about 11 years old and up, I have experienced a variety of skin problems, some temporary, some chronic. Over time, I learned how to take care of these issues and feel confident. In this article, I will share my skincare advice on the 5 biggest skin problems I’ve faced. I’m keeping it real in the hopes that another girl experiencing some of the same things will learn something helpful.
1. Facial acne
The first step in treating acne is to wash your face. This is a basic practice that you should ideally do twice a day- in the morning and before bed. Try to master this routine so you get in the habit of doing something good for your skin.
From there, it’s easier to add on other practices, like using moisturizer. If your skin is naturally oily, like mine, it may feel counter-intuitive to use moisture, but trust me when I say it helps. After you wash your face, applying a moisturizing facial lotion keeps your skin moisturized so that your skin won’t overproduce oil for the moisture. I recommend using one with SPF, even during the winter. Even when the sun is behind the clouds on a gray day, it can still damage your skin. I’ve never experienced that a lotion with sunscreen broke out my skin more, but if you have that problem, try switching to one without sunscreen, or talk to a dermatologist about getting an SPF product specifically for acne-prone skin.
Speaking of dermatologists, you might want to see one if your acne persists despite routine washing. A dermatologist can assess your specific type of acne and recommend practices or a prescription to treat it. Keep in mind your prescription might be totally different from your friend’s- just because Accutane worked for someone else, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s best for you. My dermatologist prescribed me a birth control and a retinoid (retinoids are used daily to draw out dirt and irritants from the pores.) A mild retinoid called Differin can be bought at the drugstore without a prescription, but keep in mind, retinoids can be drying.
2. Body acne
As a young teen, I used to get body acne all the time and it was so frustrating! I would get sweaty and hot after track practice, and I didn’t realize that lounging around in the air conditioning, doing my homework, or eating dinner before showering wasn’t the way to go. After sports practice or any sort of exercise, be sure so shower as soon as you can before your skin gets the chance to break out.
As with your face, it’s important to wash your body everyday. Try to use a plain, unscented soap to avoid irritating your skin. My dermatologist recommends Dove or Dial.
A light body lotion right after toweling off can protect your skin from impurities and keep it hydrated enough that it doesn’t overproduce oil.
Try not to use acne products meant for your face on your body. If you are showering properly and still experiencing body acne, try to talk to your doctor or dermatologist before experimenting with products yourself.
3. Dry skin
Dry skin can be the worst! I tended to get dry skin in the winter and it was itchy and unpleasant! You can tell you have dry skin if it’s rough, ashy, or if your eczema or keratotis pilaris is flaring up. (I haven’t had eczema, but see #4 for my experience with keratosis pilaris, or KP.)
Cold weather, swimming in chlorine, and genetics can all be the culprit when it comes to dry skin. When I had dry skin, lotion was my best friend. I use body lotion right after I shower, and facial moisturizer right after I wash my face. This way, it will sink into the skin more easily. Bath and Body Works lotions smell really good, but if you have dry skin, try to stick to unscented products.
Be sure to keep your skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
4. Keratosis pilaris
Unlike acne, which started when I was a pre-teen, I’ve had KP. since I was a toddler. I’ve been told some people grow out of it, but I’m 18 and still have it. I have a more severe condition than most, so keep that in mind when I share my tips. KP. is a skin condition in which skin is rough, bumpy, and red in certain places. It’s the most pronounced on my arms, but it also shows up mildly on my belly, back, and legs. It was stronger on my legs before I started shaving- now I have visible scars from where it was. It doesn’t bother me, though, and my friends say they don’t notice it since they’re not looking closely at my legs like I am.
This condition gets worse for me in the winter, when my skin is dry. Just like with dry skin, a moisturizing lotion is key. I opt for a moisture-rich, heavy body lotion on the KP. areas, whereas I use a lighter lotion on the rest of my body. Cerave makes a “rough and bumpy skin” and a “moisturizing cream”, both of which I’ve found to be effective. The only difference is that the “rough and bumpy” lotion has salicylic acid treatment in it. Typically, I just use the moisturizing cream because it makes my skin feel softer. The bumps don’t go away, but they are less visible and less noticeable to the touch when my skin is moisturized well. KP. isn’t curable, but it can be managed with proper care. The incurable part used to be really frustrating to me, but I’ve grown to not mind so much since I care for it daily and people don’t usually point it out to me.
Keep in mind your case may be different from mine, so I recommend speaking to your doctor or dermatologist.
If you don’t know, styes are a painful, red bump on the eyelid. They can be mild- invisible, but painful, to severe- the eye is closed up. They are caused by dead skin or dirt clogging the oil glands in the eyelids. Since I had oily skin, I was more prone to styes. I don’t get them so much any more, most likely because of hormone-altering medications like birth control that have made my skin less oily, and simply growing up.
My biggest advice is not to touch the stye all the time! I used to use baby shampoo to wash my eyelid when I had a stye, because eyes are sensitive and baby shampoo is extremely mild and doesn’t sting. Stay away from eye makeup like mascara, eyeliner, and eye shadow for the time being. Ibuprofen like Advil or Motrin is an medicine that can temporarily bring down the inflammation and lower the pain. Use as directed on the box! Give it time. The stye will heal on its own if you keep your hands off it.
If you know you’re prone to styes, you might want to take preventative measures. Wash your hands frequently, clean your phone and phonecase, and try not to touch or rub your eyes. Again, you may want to stay away from eye makeup. But don’t worry, you can still use foundation and lip products if you want.
Thanks for reading! I really hope this article helped someone. Feel free to comment down below with questions, etc.