Q: What can I do for my 9-year old who already has large blemishes on her cheeks?

A: Apply a mild spot treatment to the blemish twice daily. For a child of that age, look for a gel or lotion formula that’s clear and unscented; won’t be noticeable; or cause side effects to the surrounding skin. If the problem persists, see your dermatologist.

Q: Is a facial moisturizer absolutely necessary for my 11-year old?

A: At that age, probably not. However, what is necessary is getting your child in the habit of applying sunblock daily to protect his or her skin from sun damage and skin cancer.

Q: How do I get my child to use a facial cleanser without making them feel self-conscious?

A: Taking a casual approach is a good way to start. Buy an appropriate cleanser for him and place it in his bathroom or shower. Or you can involve him in the process by going to the store together, so he can choose a cleanser he likes.

by team
Though it might seem too early during the tween years (between 8 and 12 years old) to begin a full-fledged skincare routine, it’s important to foster healthy habits. In addition, it’s not uncommon for tweens to develop acne, which can begin between 10 and 13 years old, reports ABC News. So, don’t wait — learn how to help your tween maintain healthy skin and tackle any tough skincare issues today.

Age-appropriate skincare

When starting a skincare regimen for your tween it’s important to understand what’s appropriate for his or her young skin. As you create a routine, keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep it simple. Tweens aren’t ready for an all-out routine and it’s unnecessary for their sensitive skin. So, keep it easy enough for a pre-teen to handle by only including steps that are absolutely necessary for maintaining healthy skin.
  • Avoid too many ingredients. The more ingredients a product has, the likelier it is to irritate the skin. Also, remember that treatments with high concentrations of active ingredients may not be suitable for a child’s skin. Always, choose mild, gentle products.
  • Seek professional help. If your child is experiencing moderate acne or any other skin concern — such as severe dryness, flaking, redness or peeling — plan a visit to your family doctor or dermatologist. He or she will evaluate your tween’s skin and provide the appropriate advice.

The routine

Here’s how to create a simple and effective routine for your young teen.

  • Start in the shower. If your pre-teen is experiencing dry, peeling or itchy skin all-over, give him or her a hydrating body wash in place of ordinary bar soap, which can irritate and dry out the skin. Look for products with mild, hydrating ingredients, such as shea butter, to keep skin soft and comfortable.
  • Wash the face. Daily facial cleansing is important for maintaining healthy skin and preventing clogged pores. Have your tween use a cleanser in the morning and at night. But make sure your teen doesn’t scrub while washing, because this can irritate the skin and aggravate any acne.
  • Attack blemishes. If mild to moderate acne is a concern, avoid harsh products, such as acids and scrubs. Instead, try over-the-counter acne treatments, which commonly contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid — both effective acne-fighting ingredients. Keep in mind that acne products can take up to two months to work and they might irritate the skin and cause redness. So, watch out for any adverse side effects. If you don’t see any improvement in your tween’s skin, consult a dermatologist. Finally, discourage your tween from picking or popping blemishes, which can lead to additional breakouts or scars.
  • Prevent damage. Just like adult skin, your tween’s skin is vulnerable to sun damage. So, it’s especially important to get your child into the healthy habit of applying sunscreen every morning. Choose an oil-free sunscreen, with SPF 15 or higher and broad-spectrum protection — which shields against both UVA and UVB rays. Also, teach your kids about sun safety, including applying sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before leaving the house and reapplying every two hours. And talk to them about the dangers of tanning.
  • Maintain moisture. A body cream or moisturizer is the key to combating dry, flaky skin. Find a lightweight, fragrance-free lotion to help keep your child’s skin healthy and hydrated.

Additional tips

  • Learn about acne. There are tons of myths about acne that your child might pick up from others. As a parent, it’s important to get educated on the facts, so you can debunk any inaccurate information. Also, educate yourself on the various ingredients and treatments.
  • Share with your kids. Then, share these facts with your children, so they, too, become knowledgeable about their own skin. Plus, they learn how to become savvy, smart consumers of both information and products.
  • Ask and listen. Research shows that teens tend to feel insecure and distressed about their acne, so talk to your tween about his or her feelings.

See also:

Fact or Fiction: Lip Product Addictions

Teaching Kids about Sun Safety

Triclosan: Is it Harmful?

Choosing an Acne Treatment System

Skincare for Teens: Beyond Blemishes


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"The information provided on is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. If you have a medical question or concern regarding any news item or article on this news magazine, please consult your physician..."