When it comes to skin, we often think that the older we get, the more care our skin needs. However, is it the same process for your skin as it is for your teenager’s skin? Many people think that taking care of their skin is a one-size-fits-all process, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! In this blog post, we’ll explore how skin ages and what you can do to take care of your teenager’s skin vs your mature skin. Keep reading to learn more!
What is young skin?
As we get older, our skin ages. With the skin aging process, comes a decrease in collagen production, resulting in thinner and more delicate skin. When we talk about young skin, we’re referring to skin that is in the prime of its life – it’s full of collagen, has a healthy complexion, and is free from wrinkles and blemishes.
Parameters to measure young skin’s healthiness
As skin ages, visible signs start appearing, but these don’t come up suddenly. That is why some parameters are used to measure skin healthiness and therefore, its youth.
To identify those parameters, we usually focus on the visible signs, however, wrinkles and fine lines would be too obvious. What about the signs that can appear as early as the teenage years? Let’s check the most important:
Younger skin is characterized by having very small pores, as these are not yet clogged with dirt and sebum. When kids are around 10 to 11 years old, huge hormonal changes take place, causing the enlargement of skin pores. This happens because the sebaceous glands produce more sebum than usual, and skin synthesizes less collagen decreasing the pore’s elasticity.
Believe it or not, this is the first sign of skin aging and if we don’t pay attention to this parameter in our children’s pre-adolescence, can be the seed of future acne problems.
Blemishes and Dark Spots
When young skin is exposed to extrinsic skin aging factors such as sun exposure or ultraviolet rays; or exposed to small skin infections caused by comedones or acne, melanin in skin protects it by creating darker skin in some areas. (You can read more about blemishes and dark spots in our last blog).
This uneven pigmentation becomes more noticeable with age but starts very early in our lives.
Roughness vs Even Skin Tone
Exposure to oxidative stress caused by skin aggressors exacerbates skin pigmentation and aging, which further lead to skin tone unevenness and skin roughness.
Wrinkles and fine lines
These appear when the skin starts losing its collagen and elastin. Because these two are in charge of maintaining the skin structure and elasticity, when their production decreases, the skin starts showing coarse and deep wrinkling.
Although we think roughness, fine lines, and wrinkles appear as we age, they usually start to develop in our teenage years but only start being visible in our late 20s or early 30s.
So, what can you do to take care of your teenager’s skin vs your mature skin? Keep reading to find out!
Avoid Skin Aggressors
The skin aging process can be classified into two types: intrinsic and extrinsic. While intrinsic aging is determined by our genes and happens slowly over time, extrinsic aging is accelerated by external factors that we call skin aggressors.
Because we believe that our skin aging process starts later, we don’t use to take care of youthful skin, and we should.
Sun exposure is one of the biggest accelerators of the skin aging process. Ultraviolet light radiation damages the DNA in our skin cells by causing oxidative stress and exacerbating age signs.
Despite sun exposure being needed to synthesize vitamin D, it’s important to take proper precautions to reduce premature skin aging.
Environmental pollution including ozone and particulate matter can cause the same damage to human skin as sun exposure, creating free radicals that contribute to skin aging.
Imbalance of essential nutrients
Essential nutrients are those that our body needs to maintain its health but do not synthesize, which is why we need to intake those nutrients through our nutrition habits.
Proteins, vitamins, minerals, Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids, water, oxygen, and light are those essential nutrients, and when these are not present enough in our diet, it affects our overall health and therefore, the health of our skin.
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This could be one of the most important factors that contribute to accelerating skin aging in teenagers and young adults. Stress in our kids is generated by many factors such as school, family dynamics, social media, among others.
The constant exposure to stressful triggers induces our body to produce cortisol and adrenaline, which are hormones that damage the collagen and elastin fibers, making skin loses elasticity and accelerating the skin aging process.
Differentiated skincare routine
So, to avoid premature aging, should my young kids have the same skincare routine as me? Of course not. A skincare routine should be built according to specific skin needs. In this blog post, we are going to focus on one of the most important steps that need to be differentiated: cleansing.
Cleansing Tween and Teen skin vs Mature skin
Cleansing the face is a necessary step in any skincare routine, regardless of age. During the cleansing process, the dirt, oil, and makeup (in case we use it) that our skin has accumulated during the day are removed.
How does a cleanser work?
Common cleansers are usually water-based. In these, an ingredient called “surfactant” creates tension in the skin surface causing a magnet-like effect that attracts dirt.
How cleansing face is different according to age?
To define that, let’s understand first the needs of the skin face in different ages:
- From 9 to 12 years old. At 7 years old starts the development of apocrine sweat glands, which are responsible for bad odors. Also, sebum production increases gradually. This will be noticeable approximately at 9yo. Therefore, at this age, cleaning products targeted for babies are not going to clean them enough, and adult products will have too much surfactant matter and can dry them too much
- From 12 years old to 16 years old. At this age, the type of skin is probably not defined yet, so we have two options. We could use a cleansing product for sensitive skin, however, sensitive-skin-targeting products, contain less amount of surfactant matter since these prioritize avoiding irritation than cleansing. We also could try a cleanser for oily or combination skin (remember that during this age we present the highest amount of sebum production ever), however, this could lead to irritation
- Adult Skin. At this point, we should differentiate our skin type and use a cleansing product according to this.
Because of this, is very important to establish a two-step cleansing process for the youngest of the house (Indeed, it is the best cleansing way for all of us no matter the age).
What is the 2-steps-cleansing process?
Because water and oil don’t mix, the tension generated by a water-based cleanser is not always enough to remove all the oil-soluble dirt, like sebum or make up for example. This creates a dilemma in skincare. To create more tension, the surfactant amount in the product must be increased, but if this happens, the lipidic mantle of the skin can be affected, creating a dehydrating effect. On the other hand, if a gentle water-based cleanser is used, it will probably leave some dirt in the face which will cause the clogging of the pores.
The “two-steps-cleansing process” includes a pre-cleaning step with an oil-based cleanser and a cleansing step with a water-based cleanser. This way, the oil-based cleanser will emulsify with sebum and oil-soluble dirt, removing it gently without affecting the balance of skin’s natural lipids, including sebum. The second step with a water-based cleanser will remove the remaining water-soluble impurities, leaving the skin clean without compromising it.
How to choose the best cleanser for my tweens and teens’ children?
As said before, my recommendation is to establish a proper skincare cleansing routine according to age:
- Below 12 years old, only the first step is needed using an oil-based cleanser
- Above 12 years old, you should incorporate the second cleansing step with a water-based cleanser
- Once you can differentiate their skin type (which happens between 15 and 16 years old) you should choose a cleanser according to this type
As you know, you can find tons of beauty products on Amazon. However, not all of them are natural. So, if you are interested in choosing a natural skincare routine for your children, I analyzed the top cleansers in Amazon and chose some natural cleansing products that despite are not targeted for tweens and teens, according to their labels, could work as we release our brand Tweengreens, which will be formulated specifically for this age. So if you are interested, make sure you read my blog on these products:
As a bottom line, I would like to leave you the message that we should avoid exposing our tweens and teens to skin aggressors, establish a proper skincare routine early enough, and chose skincare products targeted for their age. By doing so, we can help them maintain their natural beauty for years to come. Have you tried any of the analyzed products? Let us know in the comments below!