Skincare is confusing! There are SO many products, it’s almost impossible to know which ones are right for your skin (which is why you should be consulting a Puravida Beauty Skin Care Specialist). Everyone’s skin is different, but teen skin has a tough time – your body is going crazy with hormones, and that’s the one thing we all know has a huge impact on our skin. So, to keep things extra simple, we’re breaking it down into five simple rules to follow. Get to know these, and you’ll be set for better skin for your teens, 20s, and beyond!

But before we get into how to keep your skin on lock-down, we spoke to the experts to find out what was happening. The unanimous answer? Your hormonal surges! With rising levels of testosterone causing breakouts by increasing sebum levels (aka oil production), there’s a lot more oil to block your pores and encourage breakouts. An increase in keratin (a protein that protects the cells of your skin’s upper layer), makes your skin thicker and can also cause pore blockages. So now you know why your skin is acting up, here’re five things you can do to ensure it’s on its best behavior:

1. Get to Know Your Skin

If there’s one thing everyone should do, it’s examine your skin so that you can identify what skin type you have. Knowing your skin type means you’ll be able to tailor your skincare regime to the unique needs of your skin, ensuring you use products, formulas, and ingredients that’ll help, rather than hinder. Your skin is partially hereditary (your environment, diet, and lifestyle also play a big role), so although you can’t change it, you can help to rebalance it with the right regime.

 We only have 3 skin types but loads of skin conditions – although in your teens, aging definitely isn’t something you need to worry about! It sounds easy to diagnose but bear in mind your skin may be a combination of these skin conditions and it may change during the year, (you may be oilier during the summer yet dry during the winter). The three most important products that you should tailor to your skin type are your cleanser, toner, and moisturizer.

2. Cleanse Every Morning and Night

As a teenager, the most important skincare step is cleansing. Cleansing properly will help remove excess oil and other impurities,

In the morning, a cleanse with a face wash targeted for your skin type is ideal (like a gel or foam formula). At the end of the day, double cleansing is important: By washing twice, you’ll thoroughly remove any SPF, makeup, oil, dirt, and debris that would otherwise block your pores – once just isn’t enough. Start with a cleansing oil, and then use a gel, foam or water-based cleanser. We know it may seem counter-intuitive to use oil on potentially oily skin, but oil attracts oil, so a cleansing oil will be able to remove oil more effectively from your skin.

Cleansing tips: Always use warm water to wash your face, if it’s too hot, it can dry out your skin and increase the likeliness of irritation, and even cause damage to your facial capillaries and the barrier function of the skin’s surface. Once your face is clean, use a splash of cold water to close your pores. Always moisturize after your skin is cleansed, this is particularly important at night, even if you have oily or acne-prone skin, as your face loses more moisture overnight than at any other point.

Ingredients to look for: Clay to extract oil , salicylic acid and AHAs, which clean deep into pores, and tea tree oil and witch hazel, which are naturally antibacterial.

Things to avoid: Food-wise, avoid cow’s milk, and rich and heavy creams (dairy) to help with hormonal breakouts. Sugar is a Major NO NO!

3. DON’T Squeeze

As sebum production increases, the cells that line your pores become quite sticky. This sticky oil blocks your pores, trapping oil, and causing a raised bump to appear. By squeezing your spot, your skin will ‘crack’, and the sebum and bacteria will spread, worsening the inflammation and widening the breakout. By breaking the skin, you’re also more likely to be left with discoloration or scarring, which will end up being more difficult to get rid of than the initial pimple. So, no matter how tempted you are to squeeze that spot, don’t – you’ll only make it worse. Plus, you’re likely to have bacteria or dirt on your hands, which again, will aggravate your skin.

4. Feed Your Skin from Within

As your skin is more sensitive during your teens, you want to try and make sure you don’t aggravate your skin by eating acne or oil-causing foods. Celeb dermatologist Dr. Doris Day, author of Beyond Beautiful, explained that you should try and stay away from dairy, as it’s been shown to make acne worse due to the milk proteins (not the milk fats, so switching to low fat doesn’t help). Instead, try almond milk or oat milk. You should also try and stay clear of sugary, starchy foods (we know, it’s harder than it sounds), as these can also exacerbate skin woes, while sugar increases inflammation in the body. Instead, you should look for foods that are full of good fats – found in foods like salmon, avocados, and nuts.