A simple and effective skincare routine for teen skin | HRI Teen Skin

What is a simple and effective skincare routine for teen skin?

In this article we teach you the fundamentals of a good skincare routine for teen skin. This unisex, no-fuss skincare guide focuses on day-to-day care for teen boys and teen girls that’s quick and easy. 

Eighty per cent of teenagers are affected by acne. And while it almost always clears up naturally by our early twenties, for now, skin is fiery and almost impossible to control. But there are things we can do – and avoid doing – to help.

Before we get onto these, it’s important to remember that acne does not mean our skin is dirty or that we’re not washing our faces properly. It isn’t actually our skin that’s causing the acne, it’s our bodies. The skin is a mirror of what’s going on on the inside. And with all of the change that’s taking place, our skin is reflecting the temporary chaos of that change.

As Teen Vogue reminds us, ‘Dermatologically speaking, constantly clear, even, balanced, flawless skin — is a myth. Normal skin reacts to the world around and underneath it.’* Despite what brands and influencers might claim, you don’t need lots of different products or complicated routines for clean, healthy skin. Here, we tell you what you need to do, along with some handy Dos and Don’ts!

What’s the best way to cleanse teen skin?

Step 1. Wash your face. Twice a day 

No surprises there! But there are a few things to keep in mind so we’re not making matters worse.

Always use cool or cold water on your face. Hot water will worsen any redness and swelling and dry out your skin. This leads to skin over-producing oil, which in turn, leads to spots 🙃

Find an SLS-free face wash. SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) is what makes face washes, shampoos, shower gels and toothpaste foam up. While foaming products make us feel nice and clean, SLS actually upsets the pH levels of the skin and can worsen breakouts. SLS’s increasingly bad rep means there’s a growing range of sulphate-free products out there that work just as well, including face washes. We love Dr Organic’s refreshing Tea Tree Face Wash available from Holland & Barrett.

Try an oil-based cleanser. Yep, you heard us right! It might sound counterintuitive to suggest an oil cleanser for oily, acne-prone skin but oil cleansers don’t strip the skin and exacerbate the problem the way a foaming cleanser might. Instead, they leave skin clean, refreshed and hydrated. Try Simple’s Kind to Skin Hydrating Cleansing Oil.

What about scrubs? Should I exfoliate teen skin?

Exfoliating removes dead skin cells and oil that clog pores and cause nasty breakouts. But scrubbing your face or using a rough product can make things worse. Think redness, dryness, more spots…! Avoid apricot scrubs at all costs, and never use salt-based exfoliators on your face. Look for something gentle, and exfoliate no more than twice a week. Focus on the T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) using light pressure.

The alternative is to opt for a chemical, ‘no bits’ exfoliator. Look for one for sensitive skin that contains salicylic acid.

Backed up by Acne Support**, salicylic acid helps promote the skin’s natural exfoliation process by dissolving the acne-causing blockages of dead skin cells, oil and other debris. It also makes it less likely that new acne-causing blockages will form or grow. CeraVe’s Smoothing Cleanser with Salicylic Acid comes highly recommended for acne-prone skin, for a glowing, hydrated complexion. Acne Support recommends trialling any product containing salicylic acid in case of irritation.

How do you choose a moisturiser for teen skin?

Step 2. Moisturise 

Moisturising properly helps our skin stay hydrated and prevents it from overproducing sebum, which can cause spots. Each of our skin is unique so try different creams or lotions of different consistencies to see what’s best for you – what feels comfortable and keeps your skin hydrated throughout the day without feeling greasy.

Make sure the cream is intended for your face, and that it’s non-perfumed. Despite the hype, don’t use pure coconut oil on your face, or shea butter, as these are super heavy products that will clog your pores and wreak complexion havoc.

How do I choose sunscreen for teen skin?

Step 3. Apply sunscreen 

SPF stops your skin drying out and producing more oil in compensation. It’s vital for those of us with acne. So wear it everyday, even when the sun isn’t shining. Opt for a sunscreen that has titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, as these are gentle on more sensitive skin and have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, too.

Salicylic acid can make skin more sensitive to the sun so it’s even more important to make sure to apply sunscreen if you’re using these products.

And that is all you need!

Wait, should toning not be part of a teen skincare routine?

Toning is balancing, refreshing and beneficial for teen skin, as long as you use an alcohol-free one. Spray or apply with cotton wool after washing your face. We love Thayers toner with Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel & Rose Petals, reasonably priced from Boots. Witch hazel contains several compounds with potent anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, perfect for teen skin. Try spraying a witch hazel fine spray on skin to keep it fresh during the day.

And lastly, here are our Dos and Don’ts of teen skincare


  • Do wash your face twice a day with cool water and a gentle cleanser
  • Do find a simple moisturiser that works for you
  • Do use a facial sunscreen every day containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide
  • Do use tea tree oil (sparingly!) on spots
  • Do drink two litres of water a day to purify the body and help skin stay hydrated
  • Do take an antioxidant-rich supplement to keep skin healthy and spot-free. HRI’s Teen Skin is a vegan multivitamin, plus specialist skin blend designed for teens that works to target spots and acne with a unique formulation of nutrients, including live cultures, and B vitamins that regulate hormone activity


  • Don’t touch your skin with your hands throughout the day as this transfers
  • bacteria to your face and could cause new spots. Instead of wiping your face with your hands, try blotting sheets to lift sweat and oil from your T-zone
  • Don’t give in to the overwhelming temptation to squeeze spots. Ignore the little voice telling you you can get rid of them by picking them! You know you can’t!
  • Don’t use hot water on your face
  • Don’t use pure coconut oil, shea butter or salt directly on the skin and avoid perfumed products
  • Don’t forget that you are beautiful exactly as you are, and that however you feel about your skin, it’s healthy, it’s normal, and it’s okay.

*TeenVogue, “Why Normal Skin is a Myth.”

** Acne Support “Salicylic Acid”

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