You may think that skin-care habits should begin during the teen years, but you’d be wise to introduce your pre-teen to a healthy skin-care regimen now. Healthy skin comes from healthy habits, so it’s wise to start forming those habits early, explains Jill S. Reed, pediatrician at the Pacific Street Pediatric Clinic in Boys Town, Nebraska. Helping your pre-teen find the right products for her skin care is part of the process.
Products for Everyday Skin Care
Your pre-teen may be attracted to the bright colors and cool product names in the skin-care aisle at the drug store, but most pre-teens just need a gentle soap to care for their skin, according to KidsHealth.org. If your pre-teen wants a special cleanser, look for one described as mild or non-comedogenic -- meaning not tending to clog pores -- on the label. Ideally, your pre-teen should get into the habit of washing her face twice a day with warm water and whatever soap she’s decided to use. Pre-teens with dry, flaky skin can benefit from a gentle moisturizer. Look for one that’s non-comedogenic and fragrance- and color-free, KidsHealth.org advises.
Products for Sun Protection
It’s easy to remember to slather on sunscreen when you’re at the beach or bathing by the pool. However, your pre-teen should get into the habit of applying sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher whenever she’s planning to spend time outdoors. Even on cloudy days, the sun gives off UVB and UVA rays that have the potential to cause skin damage and even skin cancer, according to the American Skin Association. Look for a sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA rays -- check the label -- and consider getting a non-comedogenic or oil-free sunscreen, since they are less likely to cause breakouts.
Products for Acne
About eight out of every 10 pre-teens will experience acne at some point, according to KidsHealth.org, so your pre-teen shouldn’t be surprised if she gets the occasional breakout. If she does, look for a mild cleanser with less than 2 percent of bacteria-killing benzoyl peroxide or oil-absorbing salicylic acid. Use the cleanser on a small area of skin, like the inside of your pre-teen's wrist, to test for allergic reactions before she uses it on her face or body. Remind your teen that picking at acne or over-scrubbing her face can make acne worse. If your pre-teen has persistent or bothersome acne, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.
Keep in Mind
If your pre-teen uses soap, moisturizer, sunscreen or other skin-care products that cause redness, itchiness, dryness or other discomfort, she may have an allergic reaction. Look for the active ingredients in the reaction-causing product, and be sure to avoid other products that contain those specific ingredients. Remind your pre-teen that you can have an allergic reaction at any time, even after you’ve been using a product for some time. She should tell you right away if she is experiencing symptoms of an allergic reaction.