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What I'd Tell My 16-Year-Old Self About Acne

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 8/03/2016 Remie Lund

2016-03-03-1456992832-1964885-InstagramAshleyBenzo.jpeg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2016-03-03-1456992832-1964885-InstagramAshleyBenzo.jpeg Source: Ashley Benzo Instagram
Like every 16 year old, I committed a number of skincare sins from sleeping with my makeup on to over-plucking my eyebrows. But, worse than both of these, were the lengths I went to when it came to covering up my blemishes. Before I started taking the contraceptive pill, I would suffer from flair ups around the forehead area. I tried everything from over-the-counter acne products to medicated prescription products. Here is the advice I wish I'd received about acne when I was younger.
Choose the Products That you Cover up Blemishes With Carefully
As a teenager, getting skin flair ups was only half of the problem. Worse than waking up with angry looking spots was having to go to school with them. Acne can deflate your self confidence and I can't count the amount of time I spent in drugstores trying to find a thick enough concealer or foundation to cover up my spots. I practically had shares in Clearasil. The medicated foundation that was two shades too dark for my pale skin only managed to highlight my flaws and draw more attention to my spots thanks to its caked on finish.
New York dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD states that covering up is a crucial aspect of an acne sufferer's life. My first piece of advice to my younger self would be to carefully choose the products that you use to cover your blemishes. It is natural to want to hide your flaws but excessive makeup can often make your skin look worse. Inspirational beauty blogger Em Ford created an influential YouTube video back in 2015 about readers' reactions to her acne and creates regular tutorials on how to create a flawless face in spite of your blemishes.
Create a Kick Ass Skin Regime
As an adult my skincare regime has evolved massively and takes around 15 minutes to complete. But as a teenager, I was lucky if I graced my heavily made-up skin with anything more than a face wipe. My first skincare regime consisted of a cheap cleanser, toner and moisturiser and it rarely helped to keep my flair ups under control.
There Is No Cookie Cutter Acne Cure
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin problem with over 50 million Americans affected each year. Treating acne is mostly trial and error, there is no one universal treatment that will work for everyone. Everyone's skin type is different and therefore the product that worked miracles on your best friend's skin may not have the same effect on yours. Even the most expensive acne cream in the world may not be suitable for your skin type and can do more harm than good. There are plenty of options available to you and seeing a physician or a dermatologist is the perfect way to discover your skin type and find products that can prevent flair ups and blemishes.
The key is to take the time to find out what works for you. Experiment with different products and even try a no makeup day to see how your skin reacts. A key piece of advice I would give to my younger self is that too much swapping and changing of products won't do you any favours. Give your skin the opportunity to breathe and don't rule out a gentler product such as a Micellar water.
Money Can't Buy You Clear Skin
When I got older my beauty regime went from drugstore brands to high-end designer products that promised the earth. I think one of the most common myths about acne treatments is that the more you pay for a product, the more chance you have at finding a solution.
As a blogger, one of the perks is that I get to test out a lot of the latest beauty products. If this has taught me anything, it's that some of the pricier products contain many of the same ingredients as cheaper drugstore brands but look more professional. I would tell my 16-year-old self not to get duped by pretty packaging.
You might want to turn to high-end acne preventing products to fix the issue, but they don't necessarily do the trick. You'll find plenty of not-so-great reviews of the popular acne line Proactiv, but there are many less expensive options in the drugstore that can help. You want to try products that boast a combination of salicylic acid (at least 2%) and benzoyl peroxide.
Neutrogena and Clean & Clear both make inexpensive products for acne that have the exact same active ingredients as the more expensive skincare lines.
Be Wary of Celebrity Endorsed Products
When I was a teenager, I was prone to jumping on the bandwagon and skincare products were no exception. Without the presence of beauty bloggers to look up to, it was the likes of Jessica Simpson and Nicole Scherzinger singing the praises of various acne-busting lotions and potions that caught my attention.
Like all teenagers, I took a very naive approach to my skincare routine basing my choices on who I wanted to look like the most at the time. Today I spend more time researching a product before rushing out to buy it and one look at these Proactiv reviews will make you question what you see in advertisements.
These are only a few of the tips I would give my younger self. What skincare tips would you give to your 16 year old self?

ACNE © Shutterstock / Suzanne Tucker ACNE

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