How to look after teenage skin | Q&A with Spots & Stripes

How to look after teenage skin | Q&A with Spots & Stripes
Spots & Stripes is a skincare brand formulated for the unique needs of tween/teen skin. Their products are perfect for the transition between child and adult products when skin is delicate and hormonal. As a beauty editor, Charlotte the founder of Spots & Stripes knows her stuff! She has tested a lot of brands during her career and decided to create her own. She managed to convince one of the UK’s best natural manufacturers to take on her business. After two years of tests and trial runs (mostly on her own kids and their friends), Spots & Stripes was born. 
 
We asked Charlotte some questions about teen skin and how to help our kids take care of it...

What age is the right age to start caring for your skin?

We get so many questions on this subject! As soon as a child starts showing signs of congestion or the odd spot, start a skincare regime with them. This might be when they are as young as 8, or they might have baby-perfect skin until they are 13. It's all normal and it's why our products are formulated to be gentle enough for an 8-year-old to use safely. There are some tweens who are desperate to start a 'grown up' skincare routine, even when their skin is still flawless and that's okay too. It's fantastic to teach them how to care for their skin from a young age so they have a regime in place when the hormones really start kicking in.

Even adult products formulated for sensitive skin can contain ingredients that overload young skin.

Why do tweens and teens need to have products specifically formulated for their skin?

Tween and young teen skin is a hybrid. Part child/baby skin with its sensitivity and fragile balance and part adult skin with its hormone issues and sebum. If you use baby/child products on it, they're going to be too gentle to deal with the greasiness, bacteria and inflammation issues that puberty creates. If you use adult products, they might contain ingredients that could irritate young skin and upset its delicate balance. Even adult products formulated for sensitive skin can contain ingredients that overload young skin and cause congestion.

Are there ingredients we need to be aware of and avoid applying to tween and teen skin?

We have a list of ingredients that are not included in our products. We're as down on 'nasties' as baby brands are! Two of the most important groups to avoid in products for tweens and teens are phthalates and parabens because studies have linked them to hormone disruption (they are called Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals or EDCs). Puberty is such an important time for the endocrine system, with the hormones working overtime to develop the reproductive system, the brain, bones, etc, that you don't want to be using anything that might disrupt that.

We also avoid ingredients like sulphates - found in foaming products like cleansers, shampoos and body washes. That's because sulphates can strip young skin and upset its natural balance. When young skin is stripped, it's irritated and produces more sebum. More sebum means more blackheads, spots and greasy hair!  Aluminium is another baddie. We worked hard to create an aluminium-free deodorant because of the possible links between aluminium and breast cancer, Parkinson's disease and autism.

What would you say are the key products to start with?

Cleansing lotion first, if they are beginning to show signs of congestion on their nose and t-zone, regular cleansing will keep on top of that. Once more hormones kick in and they get the odd spot, then our brilliant Super Balm steps in. What's great is that it manages to zap the spots without drying their skin at all. In fact, it's so moisturising, it's also a lip balm and genius on dry skin conditions like eczema. If they are starting to get a bit sweaty, then get our All-Natural Deodorant. If you start a tween on natural deodorant from the get-go, their body adjusts and they get used to sweating, but not smelling. Which is exactly how it should be. It's good for your body to sweat!

Would you say it’s important to start a mini routine at this stage?

Not necessarily. Children are so busy these days that adding yet another thing for them to do is a recipe for them feeling overwhelmed! For the average tween or young teen, our advice is keep it as simple as possible. Just Gentle Cleansing Lotion is enough for many. Or, if they are getting spotty, the combo of our Gentle Cleansing Lotion and our Super Balm is all they need (we sell it as our Starter Skincare Sets).If they are a teen and keen for some sort of routine, add in our delicious Hydrating Face Mist. It's a teen-appropriate take on a moisturiser in a light spray formulation (it multi-tasks and zaps spots too, and definitely won't overload teen skin like regular moisturisers can). The three products come in our Teen Skincare Essentials set which we have for boys and girls.

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Do you have any tips for incentivising those who are more reluctant to use products?!

Haha! This is often an issue! It's one of the reasons that we have 'boy' and 'girl' packaging. When we tested our products, we found that the tweens/teens were more likely to be engaged and use them if the skincare looked like it was 'theirs' rather than their mother's, father's, baby brother's....even the most reluctant teen boy is usually thrilled with his own set of product. Our other tip is to keep cleansing lotions by their toothbrushes, then they know that every time they brush their teeth, they have to cleanse their face. And help deodorant newbies to remember to apply it by putting the product in their underwear drawer or beside their bed.

Do you think it’s important for teens and tweens to address skin concerns by looking at their nutrition as well as skincare? If so, what recommendations would you make? 

Absolutely. There is a definite link between the gut and the skin, in the same way that there is a link between the gut and the brain. If a tween or teen is beginning to break out regularly, try to reduce the amount of high glycemic foods in their diets (chocolate, we're talking to you!). High glycemic foods increase inflammation in the body and acne is an inflammatory condition. At the same time, eat things like kefir that improve your gut microbiome (ie 'good' bacteria).

Head to the Spots & Stripes website to learn more about their skincare.

Shop our omega-3 for skin here.

By Liv Evans

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