22 answers

Skin Care for Pre-teens

Any suggestions on skin care for my two pre-teen daughters (ages 11 and 9)? I noticed that they are both starting to get a pimple here and there, and I would like them to get used to taking good care of their skin now.

I had purchased some gentle cleaning wipes (generic brand of an Oil of Olay skin cleaning wipe) to make it easy for them, but they both said the wipes "weren't working."

I looked at Pro-Active, but it seems to be too many steps and a bit premature.

Thank you in advance for any recommendations!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I received so many helpful responses! Thank you all!

I am looking at all comments, and I plan to incorporate the routine that I think will be easy for them to follow, and will fit our budget and their needs. I want to make sure they don't feel discouraged by a routine that they find difficult to follow.

They both drink a lot of water, and eat a pretty healthy diet, so I think that helps (no soda, fruits, veggies, very little processed foods, hey, we aren't perfect!)

I am so pleased with the different points of view and different price points offered here. Thank you again!

Featured Answers

I would recommend Mary Kay. No, I don't sell it, and yes it is pricy to start, but their regimine is a great life skill that I learned to use daily and has helped me with the pimples here and there to not even come around when used correctly. They have a teen line. I hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

How about the Clearskin product line trough Avon? They are lower in price and work just as well as some of the high cost name brands.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

You are a great momma for asking.
From my teenage acne years I learned the following, after many mistakes (I burned my skin with various drying substances etc.):
1. Gentle cleanser with no drying alchohol or menthol or lemony stuff. No fragrance either. one does not want to irritate acne. (good cleansers -- cetaphil or purpose...)

2. Gentle toner if needed, but probably not necessary especially as a pre teen. only if they wear make up. Again, no alchohol, lemon, menthol, camphor, peppermint or other irritiating substances..

3. Acne fighting medicine -- either with benzoyl peroxide (2.5% to start) or salicyic acid or dr. prescribed....(some acne medicines cause reactions to the sun, so don't use in the day and use sunscreen!!!!! and do patch test first on wrist to ensure no alleric reaction.)

4. Exfoliator based on BHA -- saliycic acid -- again, no alchohol. Clinique Sensitive Skin toner is good. (probably not necessary on a daily basis as a pre-teen).

5. non oily sunscreen (to prevent scarring after pimple heals. sometimes pimples leave pink marks which disappear in a few months. not to worry. cover up with SPF 15+ foundation or cover stick



a great website to learn how to gently take care of your skin at any age is www.cosmeticscop.com or www.beautypedia.com
Paula begoun shares how to take of your skin, and rates products from the drugstore or dept. store.

Good Luck.

2 moms found this helpful

Part of this is simply hormonal and a normal part of growing up, but it can also be genetic; there are environmental factors too.

I suffered from breakouts at that age,went through years of antibiotics in my teens, eventually a low dose of accutane treatment in my twenties, and occasionally had breakouts in my 30's. Over time and with much research, there are some things that can help control breakouts that I wish I had known when I was younger. I still have super sensitive skin that breaks out with almost anything but it's clear with no wrinkles.

First, a gentle cleaner is very important because the wrong type can actually cause breakouts or allergic reactions.

Regular soap is one of the worst products because the fatty film clogs pores, especially anything that is antibacterial which can make skin red and dry. With dry skin, bar soap will make the situation worse. If she wants to stick with facial soap, regular Dove is a good option (look at the ingredient list if there is a nut allergy - there is almond oil in the sensive skin one) there are better alternatives.

The bar soaps are also bad for cleaning the face because of the dirt and bacteria that often acumulates on them. These usually wash away if you lather up during two minutes or so and rinse well, but basically kids rarely do this. Try to start off with a clean product, meaning anything liquid that cannot be easily contaminated is better.

Stay away from Noxema or anything with mint or alcohol which would be very drying, especially in younger children's faces.

Have them try Johnson & Johnson's Baby Wash for cleaning their face and in the shower as a body wash, which is hypoallergenic and won't clog pores. It is an excellent (and very affordable) facial cleanser for grown ups too.

Another good facial cleanser is Method Hand Wash (found at Target and Whole Foods). It's naturally-derived, triclosan free, biodegradable, has had no animal testing, and is as mild as water. There are different ones but I think the clear one is the best if you use it on the face (I've had no problem with the "Pink Grapefruit" scented one though, it smells yummy).

The towels you have in the bathroom are also very important. You could consider having paper towels which she can tear use to gently pat (not rub or scrub) their face dry. Or have white towels washed in Tide Free or any other gentle soap.

Have them wash their hands frequently and not touch their face, or pick at any pimples. I wish I had listened to my mom on this - the scars eventually fade but doing this simply makes a breakout worse.

They might want to dable in makeup later too. Have them stay away from foundation and powder that often make breakouts worse. Blotting papers are good though for controling oil.

Shampoos are also important. Stay away from anything that can cause buildup. Suave Daily clarifying shampoo is a good option. Down the road, as she starts getting into styling products, the residues too can cause breakouts. You could try other shampoos for kids, just not anything heavy.

They probably do not need a moisturizer at this age but a good one is Clinique Moisture Surge (use sparingly, it's $$). Dove used to have a light face lotion with SPF 15 as well but it's hard to find. Sometimes I use Olay Complete All day lotion SPF 15. Good sunblocks are very important though - good ones include Coppertone Faces (oil free) and Neutrogena Ultra Sheer, both of which I use on my young son.

Lastly, much ado has been made about there being no link between diet and skin but drinking soda can be a huge trigger. Start your children early on the habit of drinking lots of water.

I'm on the fence about going to see a dermatologist this young - I found they are very quick to prescribe pills and topical lotions that your child will use for years; they often do very little.

In any case, make the changes in their routine gently without making a big deal out of it. Mild soap, clean towels, drinking water, using sun block, call it being eco-friendly or whatever, just start laying the groundwork for good skin care for life. Focusing too much on looks or on a few pimples that are a normal part of growing up can add unecessary angst during these tweenage years.

2 moms found this helpful

Go to Clinique. I have worked for them for 13 years. It is allergy tested and fragrance free. There is an Acne Solutions line that is very gentle and mild and has anti-bacterial agents to keep skin clear as well as oil-absorbing agents. It also uses salicylic acid which helps speed up exfoliation and keep the pores clear. Cleanser is 18.00, clarifying lotion is 13.50. If there breakout is not that frequent, they can use the basic soap(12.00 for a bar) and clarifying lotion(11.50 for a small one) for their skintype. A Clinique expert can tell them which is best by asking some simple questions about their skin. They probably don't need moisturizer at this time, but can use the Spot Healing Gel with either system to dab on when they feel one coming up. It takes the redness away and will help it heal faster.
Also, have them pull their hair off their face while they sleep (put in a ponytail) as the oils from the hair can get into the facial pores and clog.
I notice you are in Lake Mary. Go to Dillards/Altamonte and see Jenni or Alex. They both have many years of experiience and will get you what you need.

1 mom found this helpful

Hey B. - I am in the same position times 3. I have a 10. 11 & 13 year old. My middle daughter has has more pimples than my oldest daughter, my son hasn't had any yet. My middle d has already started poping & squeezing! aarrgghh. I have alaready bought them the Neutogena Wave and that works well but it really is "too" much for daily use on young skin. So I bought them a foaming face wash for sensitive skin (Pure & Clear I think). All your other responses had great ideas but my wallet does not run to Mary Kay, Clinique, or Proactive price ranges. It really is a case of try it and see as all skin is different. Just teaching them good hygeine habits is a big start. I tell my girls taking make-up OFF is more important than putting it on. I loved make up as a High School thing, but now who has time, 3 kids, single parent, a full time job, 4 dogs & 2 cats later.......wow I am tired thinking about it LOL

Good luck
M. F

1 mom found this helpful

How about the Clearskin product line trough Avon? They are lower in price and work just as well as some of the high cost name brands.

1 mom found this helpful

I feel that Velocity a product you can get from any Mary Kay Consultant is the best for pre-teens.

Hope this helps.

A. ###-###-####

1 mom found this helpful

I suggest the teen skin care "Velocity" by Mary Kay - if you dont already know a rep - I can hook you up. It is amazing stuff. especially combined with their Acne Treatment Gel. I have a before & after pic of a teen's acne that will blow your mind!

1 mom found this helpful

I would recommend Mary Kay. No, I don't sell it, and yes it is pricy to start, but their regimine is a great life skill that I learned to use daily and has helped me with the pimples here and there to not even come around when used correctly. They have a teen line. I hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

When you (they) are ready, ProActive is an amazing product! I had horrible skin through middle and high school, college and beyond. I finally tried proactiv because I was tired of being put on medicine by the doctors, and it was such a turn-around! I wish I had known about it sooner! I am still shocked when I see old pictures of myself. Between that and BareMinerals make-up, my skin is clear and glowing.

1 mom found this helpful

I would consider having them try the Velocity Skin care from Mary Kay. It's formulated just for tween and teens. It's very affordable, $10 cleanser and $12 moisturizer. There is also an acne treatment gel that zaps zits overnight and that is only $7. All the products come with a 100% guarantee. If you don't like them you can choose to get your $ back or trade for something else.

1 mom found this helpful

Velocity by Mary Kay works well also the clearskin line by Avon works great too. They're both good, Avon is cheaper, pricewise. If you need an avon lady I sell it!

1 mom found this helpful

Teens start breaking out at a very young age and thats when you have to get them on a good home regimen but some need help by getting a good deep cleansing facial not a ordinary basic facial. I have been in the skin care business for 17 years and my daughter is the reason why Iam doing corrective facials since she started with very bad acne at a very young age and nothing was helping her including doctors, so after so many years she has beautiful skin without scars. So if your looking for a good Esthetician, I can do a good deep cleansing facial and they will leave with clean skin and I will send them home with a sample pack to try at home and if they like it and see a difference and I know that they will then I have them available to help them. Iam located at Mondi Salon on Kirkman Rd in Orlando. Are you in this area? If not call me any way and I will be happy to talk with you and suggest some place for them to go or even send you some samples if they are to far from me. I use a very good medicated line that will help them. So call me at anytime: ###-###-#### M.
good luck and if you dont call me then please do get help for them, its very hard for a teen to have acne and if its just starting, then catch it on time, dont let it get worst, the longer you wait the longer it will take to clear them.

Also be careful on what you have them use, dont use any products with Alcohol like so many companies have but they need to be on a skin care medicated line not a basic line like so many will tell you about. So please dont hesitate to call me, I have helped so many teens with there skin and I dont mind talking to any one that needs help.

1 mom found this helpful

I would get them something that is hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. My dermatolgist recommended Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser and Neutrogena Healthy Defense Moisturizer with spf30. I've been using this for years. Cetephil is also really good and Phisoderm products. Just make sure they wash their faces morning and night.

1 mom found this helpful

My nephew used Neutrogena skin cleanser when he started brakinig out and it helped to minimize. I have not introduced that yet to my girls because I cannot use it, dries out my skin. I use Noxcema or Walmarts equivalent and my girls have not had an issue with it. I do have Zap It at home but we can only use it a few times a week. Lately my girls have been washing with Up and Up (Target brand) face wash or my Oil of Olay sensitive skin wash and there has been a little improvement. At this point (11 yrs old) I am trying to get them to understand that you really need to take good care of your skin (and hair, etc) and to understand that what you eat can have an effect. A few times a week they also use an astringent for sensitive skin, currently using SeaBreeze.

1 mom found this helpful

I have suffered for years with acne. I tried proactive and it worked okay, But I recently found this great website, Acne.org
What I loved about it is that he has products that he sells, but he mostly supports the regimen that he came up with and has a list of products that works well with it that you can purchase at just about any store. I was supper impressed that he wasn't trying to "sell" his products and that his information and research is free. He honestly just wants to help those suffering form acne. I have a clear face for the first time (besides pregnancy) in 10 years!
For your girls I would look at the products that he has reviewed and pick one of the cleaners and the moisturizer, have them use it for two months if they are great with that then good. If not then I would incorporate the BP (benzole peroxide) in their routine. It will definitely help. Keep in mind that it does bleach fabrics, So don't let them use it unless they can be very responsible. If there acne is just small then I would hold off, but if you can tell it is affecting their self esteem and it is escalating in number, then I would try the bp. It works really well. He explains how everything works with skin and what exactly it does to help on his web site.
Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful

I am 50 and have very sensitive skin, my skin has never been clear, until now. I have tried every just about product on the market. I came upon Acne.org one day and decided to try the travel size. It has kept my skin clear for the past year and a half. I will not use anything else. The product is very affordable and last a really long time since you only use a very small amount. This web site has videos that show you how to best use the products. Always use the moisturizer even on oily skin, it helps not to bleach your fabrics and if you dry your skin too much it will cause the skin to over produce oil which will cause breakouts.

1 mom found this helpful

I use Velocity by Mary Kay and I know several people who switched off ProActive to Velocity because it is cheaper and works the same, if not better. If you need a Mary Kay rep, I can direct you to one.

1 mom found this helpful

Diet- it is diet- as hormones change they put a magnifying glass over an outness. The skin is the largest organ of excretion and if the liver kidneys and colon cannot get rid of the waste products, for survival of the body it comes out of the skin.
So no junk, no sugar, no white flour, and plenty of water to help the kidneys keep the blood stream clean, then no bad teenage skin.
By th by- water amount is figure body wt in lbs, and divide that number in half- whatever that number is, make it ozs- that is a good rule of thumb for a minimum daily- and for heaven sake no soda pop,
best, k

1 mom found this helpful

HI B.,

With diets not as good as they used to be and the chemicals that we absorb through our skin (that didn't exist when we were little), I don't think it's premature. My fourteen uses Zap-it and has for about 3 years. Her skin is beautiful and rarely has anything break out. She is compulsive about cleaning her face because she watched her older sister somewhat ignore hers and she has more problems.

The Zap-it is as natural as the ProActive and she loves it.


1 mom found this helpful

Hi B.

It may be that as they approach puberty nothing will prevent the pimples or spots but once they start their periods things may become easier to keep under control.

You could try them on a herbal drink for hair, skin and nails which helps from within whilst their hormones are all mixed up at this ever important time in their lives before becoming a WOMEN.

This could be in addition to a good mineral based cleanser to be used in the morning and before bed at night with a light mineral based mosturiser which won't clog their delicate pores and will help their young skin breath whilst it works to keep the bacteria that cause bumps at bay .

Drinking a lot of water and eating lots of fresh fruit also helps.

Hope this helps.


1 mom found this helpful

Kudos to you for starting now. My daughter is 15 and she started using Clinique products when she was around 9-10. I am a firm believer in the Clinique products.

I am 48, my mom started me on Clinique when I was around 11. I easily pass for early to mid 30's. I am very diligent with my skin care routine and my daughter has picked up those habits.

In the beginning, she used mild soap but as the acne stage came around she started using the acne wash and gel moisturizer.

On another note, when she was about 11 I took her to the dermatologist for a check and proactive approach to what might come as far as acne, etc. She has been very fortunate because she has very litlte breakouts and she uses a creme from the Dr. which is Rx called Duac. We keep that on hand for breakouts.

Other than that she uses all Clinique. Also, the Dr. recommends Purpose soap or Cetaphil as very mild good cleansers.

Talk to a Clinique rep at the counter (preferably a Neimans, Nordstrom or high end store) and get advice from them. ALL products are guaranteed and you are not stuck with them if you find one you do not like.

Just start getting into the ritual of being diligent with face cleansing and then the routine will be be normal for your teens and into adulthood.

I hear ProActive is pretty strong, especially if you are using it as a proactive approach to avoid skin issues.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I am not a preteen obviously, but I do only get occasional pimples. Here's what I do. Cleanse, toner, spot treatment, light moisturizer. I cleanse with a facial mask/scrub, but there are alot of choices out there. The toner removes any dirt, oil, or makeup that is left, and you'd be surprised. It also refreshes. I use persa gel for spot treatment. It's applied only to each pimple so it doesn't dry out your whole face. Then a light moisturizer. It keeps your skin from producing excess oil that it thinks it needs. I've been doing this same routine pretty much since highschool. Everything I use besides the persa gel is Mary Kay. (I don't sell it either) As stated, it is pricey at first. But the moisturizers, toners, and cleansers only take a pea sized drop on a cotton ball to do your whole face, so they last a long time. I stock up 2 or 3 times throughout the year on stuff from my rep, as apposed to when I used to have to restock stuff that had gotten nasty or run out from the store every couple months.

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