The Scoop on Teenage Skin Care


Courtesy of Olivia Lanteri

Acne: the prominent, irritating, and commonly painful skin condition usually marks the start of teenagers caring for their skin. The often-forgotten organ in childhood, skin is only protected with sunscreen during trips to the beach or pool and cleansed when covered in grime; it finally obtains substantial care at the sight of red pimples on one’s face. So, after a teen’s mother buys her daughter her first cleanser and moisturizer, the teen expects her newly reddened complexion to clear up in a few days. However, the result is anything but satisfying: the cleanser gives her a rash and the moisturizer feels like she is slathering butter across her oily face. The teen, only emboldened by her misfortune, marches into the local drug store to find the right products, yet is stopped by the treacherously long isles of expensive eye creams, sheet masks, toners, and exfoliants. How is anyone, let alone I, supposed to find anything that could possibly work with all these products? she thinks. Not to mention those insane prices. Defeated, the girl leaves empty-handed, unsure how to find products that actually work and do not drain her wallet. 

The conflict of finding skin care that meets their needs while still being affordable has plagued many teenagers. Sophomore Gianna Longo, who first encountered acne in seventh grade, tried multiple topical medications and antibiotics prior to being prescribed Accutane, which has finally proven to be effective for her. She has also opted for relatively inexpensive products to treat her sensitive and acne-prone skin, using drug store brands like Neutrogena and Cetaphil. However, finding a routine that worked for her took a long time and required trial-and-error: “It most definitely was a struggle to find products that worked for me,” Longo admits.

To help make the trial-and-error process easier, look no further than the list below, containing many well-tested products teens need that are optimal for both their skin and wallet. 

  • Make-up Remover – Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water

Clocking around $16 for two 13.5 oz bottles on Amazon, Garnier’s micellar water easily erases makeup off one’s face. Micellar water, gentle even on the most sensitive of skins, has neither oil, alcohol, or parabens, cleansing the skin without irritating or drying it out, according to Well + Good ( It is also super convenient to use; dabble a small amount onto a cotton or reusable makeup pad and wipe your face, removing everything from foundation to mascara.

  • Cleanser – Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

This cleanser designed for sensitive skin from Neutrogena has over 40,000 five-star reviews on Amazon not only for its low price (about $9), but for its ability to effectively remove buildup as gently as possible. “It does not irritate my skin, make me itch or breakout,” said AuntieRayeRaye on Amazon ( “It also does not dry out my face or leave patches.”

  • Acne Medication – Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment

A prescription-only medication for years, Differin has become available to the general public as one of the most popular acne treatments. Containing 0.1% adapalene, the cream “regulates the turnover of cells lining the pores to reduce clogging,” dermatologists told NBC News ( Be sure to use after your cleanser and before your moisturizer. 

NOTE: Be advised that acne treatments are not a one-size-fits all deal. To obtain the most accurate and pain-free results, please see a dermatologist.

  • Eye Cream (for those late nights studying) – Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream

For many hard-working teenagers, most nights are spent studying or finishing up a demanding workload, leading them to develop dark circles under their eyes. Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Eye Cream delivers, remaining comparatively affordable around $15 while providing hydration-packing results due to its ingredient, hyaluronate. Many Amazon reviews, according to Healthline (, report their skin feeling “plumper, smoother, and more awake. ”

  • Face + Body Moisturizer – CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

CeraVe’s face and body moisturizer packs ceramides and hyaluronic acid into a fragrance-free formula, maintaining and restoring the skin while minimizing irritation. The lightweight texture is great for normal to dry skin and can be used year-round. Developed by dermatologists, CeraVe is a favorite in the skin care community for its consistency and reasonable price point.

  • Face Sunscreen – Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen

While a little bit more on the pricier side, Supergoop!’s beloved Unseen Sunscreen sports a broad spectrum, SPF 40 PA+++ rating and is water and sweat resistant for 40 minutes. It truly is “unseen,” as it is practically transparent and glides onto all skin types easily. Its silicone-like texture makes it double as a makeup primer and leaves no residue behind. Remember though: sunscreen should be reapplied generally every two hours if outside, especially after sweating or swimming; if indoors, a second application may not be necessary. 

  • Body Sunscreen – Thinksport Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

Yes, the body needs sunscreen too! The benefits of mineral sunscreen shine through with Thinksport’s SPF 50 sunscreen, providing excellent protection while being reef safe. While most mineral sunscreens are tough to rub in and often leave a prominent white-cast, Thinksport rubs in fairly easy compared to its competitors. Its $16 price tag is also quite reasonable as mineral sunscreens go and has a subtle fruity scent that smells quite nice.

Luckily, many LHS students have already learned their way around skin care. Junior Alexis Raynor washes her face roughly twice a day with PanOxyl 10% Benzoyl Peroxide face wash, tones her skin with the Glow Recipe Pore-Tight Toner, moisturizes with CeraVe, primes with Glow Recipe Dew Drops, and treats with prescriptions. While it might not seem so, Raynor too has had trouble finding a routine that works for her. “The process entails a LOT of trial and error, and you just need to find the right products for your skin,” said Raynor. “Just because something works for someone else does not mean it’s going to work for you.” She cites her dermatologist as a big source of help, even admitting her current routine is not perfect. When looking for products, Raynor searches for ones that moisturize due to her prescriptions that dry out her skin. The brand Glow Recipe carries products that have been her favorites as of recent: “All of their products really hydrate my skin and make it glow without making it look oily,” Raynor said. She also emphasizes the importance of daily sun protection, favoring Supergoop!’s mattifying option. “It protects my skin from the sun, makes it look great, and looks great under makeup!” she said.

Junior Chloe Singh considers how her skin is feeling when she uses or buys products. “Sometimes my skin just needs a break from all the products I use. It also depends on how my skin is feeling throughout the day. Sometimes, the change of seasons makes my skin feel different,” she said. Despite this, she consistently sticks to a routine. Singh cleanses her face twice a day, typically followed by a toner after a shower or at night. Depending on how her face feels, she may use a serum, acne product, or face mask; she always follows through with moisturizer afterwards. “I try different things and see what works best for me,” Singh says. She chooses products that nourish, moisturize, and contain natural ingredients she can pronounce. “I absolutely love it when it says it’s vegan and cruelty free. It might be more expensive, but honestly, when applying the product, it feels better for the skin in a lightweight and natural way,” she says. Singh is also not afraid of trying different products to see if she can find better results: “I do love the journey of buying a new product that I’m so excited to try.”