Why do teenagers breakout so much?
Teenage acne can be different to adult acne for a number of reasons. Teenage skin will often flair up and calm down depending on what products you use. "Trying a new product, or even a new favourite hair gel can cause sudden breakouts all over the forehead. Sometimes the trigger can even be as simple as a change in laundry detergent, or the stress of studying for exams. For young girls, hormonal spikes around periods will normally result in a breakout or two." According to Noreen, the biggest mistake you can make as a teenager is to try and treat your breakouts with the sun. "You can think you're fixing the problem because the pimple is drying up, but it's actually drying out the top layers of skin, compacting the oil underneath." This can result in a temporary pimple kill, but an even bigger breakout next time, so it's a really ineffective (and potentially damaging) method.
I've been picking my spots . . . Is it really that bad?
This is one of the biggest things people struggle with, but you really can do more harm than good, and the worst-case scenario could result in permanent scarring. "The most important thing is to keep your fingers away. If it's not ready to come up, no matter how hard you try it's not going to. So just leave it alone," Noreen says. If you've got a pimple that you really need sorted (for example, right before your wedding), your best bet is to go and get a cortisone injection from a dermatologist. However, if you need a simple at-home solution, a sulphur treatment is your best bet. "Sulphur is oil-absorbing and deep-pore cleansing. Put it on overnight and it'll dry right up."
I get regular breakouts, should I be treating these differently?
According to Noreen, if you have ongoing, regular acne you should be using an acne clearing gel, specifically an AHA/BHA. "This will help to isolate and minimise the look of acne, and any residual discolorations," she says. "If you're dealing with ongoing acne, you should probably be using a product like this every day." An easy way to do this is using exfoliating pads containing glycolic, or salicylic acid. "These are great any time of day, if you're coming from a workout and not getting right to the shower, you can use these on your face, or for breakouts on the back or chest." Again, if it's an ongoing problem, we recommend you see a dermatologist as there are medications or treatments, such as laser, that can help.