May 20th 2016
Teen Queen: Teenage acne treatments
September 25th 2013
Our teenage columnist Casey Gerard reveals her top tips for treating teenage acne and shares which ones work, and which ones really don't hit the spot...
Zits, spots, pimples, blemishes and imperfections. You can call them what you please but there’s no ignoring the fact that they are an inconvenience. I’ve had more than my fair share of these monstrous pests and I’m here to tell the tale...
Before sitting down to write this article, I went onto the world wide web to track down where the word ‘acne’ originates. I found out that it comes from the Greek word (surprise surprise) ‘akme’ meaning ‘skin eruption’ - which sounds spot on to me (if you’ll excuse the pun).
Anyway, back to the story. It was a wet and bleak autumnal morning when I woke up to something horrific: spots. My first thought was ‘awesome, I have a bumpy forehead!’ But all too soon, that thought changed. When I got home from school my mum presented me with an array of different skincare products she’d bought from the local pharmacy to try and tackle this, as she called it, ‘short phase’. If I remember correctly these products were from the Vichy Normaderm range. They worked an absolute treat, but all you acne sufferers out there know not to get too attached to products because they always stop working in the end.
Fast forward about a year, still struggling with acne having tried about five different products per month (clearly none of which worked), I stumbled across a website (not naming names) founded by a man named Dan who sold products that supposedly banished your acne forever within a few short weeks. ‘The Regimen’ consisted of three steps; a (not so) gentle cleanser, a treatment and a moisturiser. The active ingredient in each step being ‘benzoyl peroxide’, which I now realise with the beauty of hindsight I must be allergic to.
Reading all the success stories and seeing how it had changed people’s lives had me sold! The products were added to my basket and with me by the end of the week. A few days into the Regimen I started to notice the products stinging my face when I put them on, especially the moisturiser; I brushed it off as I thought this was normal. The stinging became increasingly worse until I couldn’t take it any longer, I washed my face and dried it with my new blue towel. The next morning, my face was bright red, bumpy and swollen, a gruesome sight - and furthermore, my blue towel was now white. My mum was furious, as I had effectively bleached my skin. With a vital science exam that day, I was forced to go into school, but come midday I was on my way to the doctor who prescribed me Diprobase and Hydrocortisone. My skin gradually got better and I learnt my lesson not to order products or buy products without checking the ingredients first.
About one year on from that incident, I am using another prescribed treatment which is nothing short of a miracle to me; my face has never been so clear! The treatment is called Zineryt, an antibiotic liquid. This was my last resort as I had given up trying new products because I couldn’t face the disappointment.
However, if a trip to the doctor isn’t for you, then here are a few of my tips, tricks and recommendations for clearer, healthier and happier skin:
Try your absolute hardest not to squeeze your spots. This will spread the bacteria and cause you to continually break out. I must say, I am guilty of squeezing almost every zit I ever had, I like to think of myself as something of a spot-popping expert. Don’t let my bad habit influence you though, it didn’t help!
The idea that make-up causes spots is a myth. However, it is always a good idea to make sure you have removed every last trace of it before you go to bed so your skin doesn’t become clogged with the remnants of the day.
I recommend using a cleanser in the morning and an exfoliator in the evening, so the skincare products you use afterwards can penetrate the skin more easily overnight.
My favourite zit-zapper is the Origins ‘Super Spot Remover’; not a cheapie, but certainly a goody!
My favourite moisturiser is the Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturiser, £4.99. No big claims, no special ingredients, just a plain old moisturiser that gets the job done.
Last but by no means least, drink plenty of water. If you nourish your skin from the inside, it’ll make a hell of a lot of difference on the outside.
Of course these are just my own experiences and favourite products - what has worked for me may not work for everyone, but if it helps just one person fight off the spots then that’s a step closer to banishing acne for good.