Beauty Clinic: Helping teenage acne


Q. My 13-year old son is suffering from pubescent acne. He is currently using a regime with a teen brand face wash and exfoliator plus a different anti redness exfoliator, which is gentle but effective.  However, although concerned about his skin, he does all this reluctantly because it takes time and the products look girly. Do you have any ideas? A. Perhaps it would help to start by explaining the problem so he can understand why it needs more than one product. We asked Ian Taylor of Green People, a certified organic skincare range, to outline the condition.

‘When acne affects teens and young adults, it is usually caused by changes in hormone levels that result in increased production of sebum [a thick oily substance consisting of fat, keratin – the protein in skin and nails - and debris from cells]. This leads to excessively oily areas in the skin, which in turn encourage the growth of unfriendly bacteria, particularly Propionibacterum acnes, which is associated with chronic acne outbreaks.

‘The key to controlling the problem is to try to normalise the sebum production, reduce the levels of harmful bacteria and at the same time encourage the growth of “good” bacteria to keep the skin healthy,’ says Ian.

When we met him recently, Ian told us about an extract of Black Willow Bark (Salix nigra), an active ingredient that Green People use in some of their Organic Young (OY) products, which has been shown to reduce the amount of sebum produced by the sebaceous glands. ‘It also has antibacterial activity, particularly against Propionibacterum acnes, and can have a significant impact on the severity of acne,’ Ian says.

Two other helpful ingredients are tea tree and prebiotics. Green People use a purified extract of terpinen, the active ingredient in tea tree oil. Terpinen can help to control a wide range of harmful bacteria, as well as having anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties.

Prebiotics in the form of starches and sugars called polysaccharides help fight the 'bad' bacteria and encourage the 'good' ones.

Ian suggests two products for your son, so at least that’s one less step for him to worry about. OY Clear Skin Cleansing Moisturiser/£11 for 50 ml, is a two-in-one product to be used morning and evening. OY Clear Skin Gel/£11.50 for 10 ml, is a concentrated product that can be applied sparingly to individual spots to control them and encourage skin healing.

Finally, a popular budget range called Dr. Organic, which mostly uses organically certified ingredients (although the finished products are not certified), has just launched a new Skin Clear Spot Treatment Pack in Holland and Barrett/£19.99. The 3-step treatment consists of Deep Pore Cleansing Face Wash/125 ml, Treatment Gel/10 ml and Oil Control Moisturiser.

Both the Green People products and Dr. Organic are in bright unisex packaging so should not look out of place on a male bathroom shelf or in his kit bag.