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Facing up to skincare challenges

Having outgrown the baby-skin years, whilst not yet ready for harsher adult products, tween skin can begin to become a cause of anxiety at an age, when pimples, blackheads, spots, oily skin, open pores and sore dry patches can start to form. Add this to a growing sense of appearance, a curiosity about the world and the often toxic nature of social media, and it can be difficult to find the right approach to this new set of skincare challenges.

Tween skin is much more sensitive than an adult’s so, unfortunately, your tried and tested skincare method just isn’t going to work. However you can start to encourage them to use a very simple bedtime and morning routine. You will need to show them how to wash their face, neck and behind the ears with a cleansing lotion or foam wash and a clean cloth. To start with, make sure that they do it every night at least; the morning is less important when they are first getting used to their new routine.

TOP TIP: When you first start, just remind them to wash their face when they go to have their shower or bath, rather than standing at the sink. For some reason, they find this much easier to get their heads around.


Not all tween skin is the same and it is important to work out what you’re dealing with. At its simplest this falls into three different skin types:


If your tween is starting to develop large open pores, a shiny nose, with pimples and blackheads appearing in the T-zone then they have oily skin. Starting as early as 8 or 9, hormones can start to stimulate the glands in the skin to produce excess sebum, making it feel greasy.

  • DON’T use alcohol-based products to strip the skin of grease. This only exacerbates the problem, causing the glands to produce even more oil.

  • DON’T use the same soap on their face as on the rest of their body. Special cleansers have been designed to be much gentler on tween skin.

  • DO treat spots and breakouts with topical oils such as azulene, aloe vera and tea tree.

  • DO reassure your tween that oily skin has benefits too – it ages better and is less prone to wrinkles in later life!


If you are noticing flaky, itchy, or sore areas around the nose, lips and eyes, especially in the winter months, your tween may have dry, sensitive skin. This occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough oil to lubricate the outer surface of the skin.

  • DON’T over wash their face in an attempt to improve the problem. Once a day is fine and make sure that they use a very mild, moisturising cleanser, massaging it in with their fingers rather than a cloth.

  • DON’T have hot showers as this only dries the skin out further.

  • DO use a suitable oil-free, chemical-free moisturising lotion after cleansing.

  • DO remind them to drink lots of water throughout the day, which can help hydrate the skin and reduce dryness.


Some tween skin can develop both dry areas (usually across the forehead, neck, cheeks or lips) and oily areas in the T zone. Sometimes, this is down to normal hormonal changes but it can also be caused by using irritating products on the oily zone, which then can cause dryness in other areas of the face and neck.

  • DON’T buy products that contain harsh chemicals, such as cleansing wipes, which will aggravate the skin.

  • DON’T encourage them to cover it with make-up or concealer – avoid make-up brushes in particular, unless they are thoroughly cleaned every day.

  • DO consider a gentle, tinted BB cream with SPF to protect and cover blemishes.

  • DO remind them that this phase will not last forever and that a regular skin care routine will definitely help.

Looking after tweens ourselves, we know what an impact anxiety can have on the entire family, and so to make your life easier, we have researched some of the best products currently available in the UK, designed for young sensitive skin. For this first selection we've focussed on products that are chemical-free, organic and made with all- natural sustainable ingredients. But we're keen to hear about any products that work well, or are specifically created, for kids in this age bracket (8-13 years), so please do get in touch (ADD LINK) if you have tried any you'd recommend or would avoid!


When choosing skincare products for our tweens, especially those designed to target spots, it's better to avoid those filled with chemicals as they can be too abrasive on young, delicate skin. Here’s our round up of some of the best, tween-friendly zit-zapping cleansers:

LUSH Tea tree water (£12.00)

This gentle cleanser freshens and cleans skin, helping to banish spots.

LUSH Grease Lightning (£8.00)

With tea tree and witch hazel combined, this product does the job of cleansing the skin and helping to combat infection and further redness.


“ I love how fresh these products are and how clean they feel. I have quite sensitive skin so natural products stop irritation. And they’re much better for the environment!”


“The Grease Lightening is good to use in the summer as it helps combat spots brought on by thick, pore-clogging suncream.”

TROPIC Pure Lagoon Blemish Prevention Serum (£42)

A weightless, gentle serum that has been enriched with pre-biotics to build your skin's defences and fight acne. This serum is like ‘food for your skin, to nourish it from the inside out’.


“I put this on twice a day and it cleared my spots completely, it was absolutely amazing!”


“A bit pricey but a little goes a long way. I love it because it is 100% cruelty free, and no derivatives used than can affect animals. It is totally vegan and PETA approved. In fact, it’s so good we all use it!”

TROPIC Clear Skin Blemish-fighting Mask (£20)

This mask is designed to control the levels of sebum in your skin and prevent spots forming. It contains willow bark and ginger, which kill bacteria, and green clay and spirulina to draw out toxins and close pores. Charcoal and goji berry extracts will also soothe sore skin.


“I love this face mask because my skin is sensitive and can get dry and this is so gentle and soothing. It lasts for ages too.”


“My local tropic rep recommended this for teenage acne and the picture of her son’s face after using it for a month was incredible. I bought some for Olivia and it has really helped to soothe her skin, which was becoming quite sore and spotty.”

Pixi Glow Tonic (£10 for 100ml).

This lightweight serum will gently exfoliate the skin while hydrating and boosting radiance. Because it is 100% chemical-free, it is beautifully gentle for young skin.


“I use this every evening and it makes my skin feel completely clean.”


“I like Pixi because none of their products are tested on animals in any way, either by themselves or their suppliers. After lots of trial and error, this one has been brilliant for Olivia’s skin. Totally gentle and improved her skin overnight.”

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