Holiday Gift Guide for Teens: Teen Skincare

Holiday Gift Guide for Teens: Teen Skincare

As the holidays approach, choosing that perfect gift is top of mind. And finding the right gift for teens on our list can be challenging. 

What is the best skincare routine for teens? We can streamline the primary regimen to a few basic steps:

  • Gentle, pH-balanced cleanser: The non-negotiable part of every teen’s nighttime skincare routine. My favorites teen cleansers are: Bright Girl Bright+Clean, Avene Cleansing Gel, and Glossier Milky Jelly cleanser.
  • Moisturizer: Our skin can’t perform its best without proper hydration and a strong skin barrier. My favorite teen face moisturizers: Cerave Ultra Light Moisturizing gel (works for oily teen skin), Bright Girl Day+Bright (non-comedogenic, lightweight hydration plus soothing anti-inflammatory botanicals), and Aveeno Calm+Restore (good for sensitive teen skin).
  • Sunscreen: I recommend mineral sunscreen. And of course, teens won’t settle for anything that isn’t cosmetically elegant. After years of trial and error, my favorites are: Bright Girl Bright+Block tinted SPF 44 mineral sunscreen: sheer, lightweight, and provides the most gorgeous glow. You won’t need any foundation when you wear this lovely formulation. Supergoop Sheer Screen SPF 30: a great, colorless option. Summer Fridays Shade Drops SPF 30: natural color while offering protection.

skincare routine for teens

A simple skincare routine for teens allows them to be more compliant in sticking with their daily regimen. Everyone loves a good teen skincare set where all of the products work together!

Acne-prone teen skin might need a routine that includes retinoids and topical antibiotics. But these items are difficult to gift given the individual considerations that we need to take into account when choosing the best teen skincare products. In the interest of choosing a regimen that is tailored for each individual, I recommend sticking to basics and not venturing too deeply into acne treatment for teens as a gift.

However, there are specific skincare products that are fun to gift while still being healthy for teen skin:

  • Serums: stick with hydrating and gentle serums that nourish and hydrate the skin. Serums that I love include: The Ordinary Squalane oil, Aveeno Calm and Restore serum, and Glossier Futuredew.
  • Hydrating sheet masks: ingredients such as squalene, jojoba oil, and glycerin can bring hydration to teen skin while feeling like a luxurious spa treatment. Items such as Neutrogena Hydro Boost hydrating gel mask, Tatcha The Luminous, and By Terry Baume de Rose are all safe options.
  • Pimple patches: these products are all the rage in teen skincare and not only do they look cute, they offer benefits to skin. The hydrocolloid gel within the patch helps draw fluid from inflammation out of the pimple. And the patch itself prevents teens from picking at their acne lesions. The Mighty Patch from Hero cosmetics and Starface Hydrostars are favorites among my teen patients and my own daughters.

Finding clean skincare for teens requires understanding your ingredient list. Delving into this subject is beyond the scope of this article but is covered in other blog posts.

There are few things to avoid when choosing skincare for teens: 

  • Antioxidant serums (such as vitamin C): these can cause irritation of the skin, especially when used in combination with many of the products/ingredients that we use to treat teen acne.
  • Peptides and Growth factors: these ingredients are effective in skin that is damaged, mature, and requires correction. They are typically not needed in a teen skincare regimen.
  • Anti-aging retinols: Teens have a beautiful foundation of healthy skin. The key is protection, not correction.
  • Exfoliating scrubs: Scrubs with exfoliating beads, seeds, fruit/vegetable derived exfoliants can be traumatic to the skin, leading to increased redness and sensitivity. Be aware of what the exfoliant is and how it reacts with your individual skin.

The gift of healthy skin can be one of the best gifts that you provide your teen. Most importantly, the consistency of daily habits will give them gorgeous, glowing skin that they will keep with them through the rest of their lives. The knowledge of how to care for their skin starts with the information that you share with them.