• Jan Baker

Can a teenager have a facial?

If you think about it, your parents start you on your skin care from the minute you're born. Nappy rash protection creams (or in our household, essential oils). Gentle shampoos and soaps designed not to irritate baby's gentle skin. So, why should being a teenager be any different?

Your teenage years can be really hard on your skin. All those hormones floating about. Girls have the added stress of female hormones and changes kicking in around this time too, causing breakouts and acne patches. Boys start learning to shave, which can irritate acne and create breakout days. Oily skin, causing pimples to form.

For some it's worse, others seems to have an easier ride. That's all down to genetics but the fact is that skin renewal tends to slow down as you hit your teens. That's not to say you'll suddenly start to get wrinkles, but the older you get, the less collagen you produce. Collagen is the stuff that gives your skin its elasticity or stretchiness.

Pimples form therefore when the pores in your skin get clogged with a type of oil called sebum. Officially, these are called milia or comedones. If you're wondering why the blocked pimple goes black if left, well, this is just the sebum oxidizing, when it comes into contact with the air and the sun.

Some sebum though is important because you need it to keep your hair and skin from drying out completely and so you should never strip your skin of it. Hormone changes can cause your body to make too much of it and this is where the problems begin. (And yes I have tried to pick a picture that isn't too gross!)

There are lots of creams and lotions etc. on the market for tackling acne. Let's face it (see what I did there!), it's a million-dollar industry. A cleansing routine is therefore always highly recommended. Sometimes, though it does need a professional's touch.

What you don't want to do, is go mad popping every pimple, especially if they are infected. This is a sure, fire way to leave a scar if you're not careful. Wearing your hair away from the greasy area is also a good idea, as oil and dirt from your hair, can also block pores.

Touching your face, especially if you've not recently washed your hands is a bad idea as well. And, if you're like me and wear glasses, you may find you get a problem line or area, where the glasses touch your face. Remember, you can get acne anywhere on your face, neck, chest, back and shoulders, as these are the areas with the maximum number of functional oil glands.

What a professional facial does is deep clean your skin. So, as a teenager, it makes sense to look at having a facial every now and again to give your skin a bit of a boost. If you've picked your spots and made a scar, this will eventual settle down but it may take a year or more to do.

If you start shaving, you may get issues with the hairs going back into the pores, blocking them. Sometimes, they then fill with pus.

Some ways to avoid this are:

  • Wet your face really well

  • Keep your skin relaxed

  • Shave in the direction of hair growth (usually downwards)

  • Don't shave the area twice.

Of course, as an aromatherapist, I have a distinct advantage. I have a toolkit full of essential oils that I can use to help even out your skin issues. Oils such as Hazelnut, Macadamia, and Jojoba. When these are combined with essential oils such as Juniper (great for boys), the foundations are laid to sort out those bothersome symptoms, especially in the form of a professional facial.

The basic facial will be the same for a teenager as an adult. Double cleanse, steam, exfoliate, extract, mask, massage and moisturise. Of course, you do need to adapt it slightly. I would never use a full steam, for example, as this would be too fierce. And the oils used would need to be specially blended for your skin type and age, to ensure that they did the job without irritating such a delicate area.

It's also a good idea to use sunscreen. You may like to use a foundation with built-in SPF, but believe me, using a proper sunscreen will be much better as ultraviolet light is the leading cause of aging and skin cancer. Remember, prevention is what you're aiming for, so think carefully about protecting your skin during your teen years. Your older self will really thank you for it!

And if you're wondering whether you can put oil on oily skin, the answer is yes, of course you can!

Did you spot the pelargonium leaves* from the Geranium plant in this picture? Yup, you've guessed it, Geranium essential oil is another great oil for skin care!

In any event, once you've had your facial, there are a few things that will help keep it looking good.

  1. Don't be lazy - wash any make-up off before bed

  2. Keep good hygiene habits with your make-up brushes and applicators

  3. Use luke warm water to wash with - it'll preserve the oils needed to keep your skin hydrated

  4. Bit of an obvious one, watch your diet. Green vegetables and fruits are best.

  5. Your skin directly reflects your lifestyle, so adopt a healthy one!

  6. Consult an aromatherapist if you develop eczema or any other specialist complaint- this needs different treatment!

Either way, the key to healthy, happy skin is to be consistent, stick to your routine, and practise healthy habits early on.

It really does work, I promise! I got stopped three times queuing for my covid vaccine at the local gym/swimming pool because the organisers didn't think I was old enough to be in the queue and thought I was just chancing my arm!

It's a true story, ask the family!

Stay safe, as always

Jan xx

* All essential oils are made from plants. The essential oil is what gives a plant its smell!

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