Skincare for boys

As a teenage girl, you just seem to naturally know everything there is about skincare. For me, back in the 80s and early 90s, I learned it all from the ever-reliable pages of Jackie and Just Seventeen, enhanced by reading my mum’s Woman magazine.

In recent years, I’ve had a crash course in skincare for people with ‘highly sensitive skin’, which in my case is severe acne and rosacea (not to mention the painful eczema on my hands). I’ve taken every word my dermatologist has told me on board and followed it to the letter. I won’t put a product near my face which hasn’t been either prescribed or recommended by him. Being on Roaccutane means my skin is even more sensitive than it would be with ‘just’ the acne and rosacea.

I guess girls these days learn all about skincare from YouTube and beauty blogs. But boys?

Boys don’t need to know about skincare, do they?

Sadly, my eldest has severe acne, and I’ve been discovering how little he knows about skincare. Because he’s never read Just Seventeen or watched a beauty vlog on YouTube.

Being of the generation which doesn’t bother to read anything, I’ve read the leaflets of his medication very carefully for him and told him exactly what to do with it. His latest cream requires him to wash his face before use. Wash his face?! Despite my best efforts throughout their childhoods, my kids don’t wash their faces. Their faces get wet in the shower and they will splash a bit of water around their mouths if they’ve got food on them. That is the limit of their face washing.

I bought him some Clearasil (which no doubt the dermatologist will ban and tell us to use something more gentle) and had to give him step by step instructions on how to use it to wash his face. On his first attempt, he used about an eighth of the bottle.

In the meantime, in his desperation to improve his acne while he waits for an appointment with the dermatologist, he’d researched home remedies and made himself a scrub of sugar and olive oil. On the one hand, I’m pleased that he’s taking positive steps. On the other, I’m horrified because I feel he will just be doing further damage to his already sensitive skin, and potentially causing scarring. Using the scrub makes him feel more positive, so I’m letting it go now, until we get strict instructions from the dermatologist. Then he will be following them to the letter!

I bought him a medicated concealer to try to cover his spots, but he didn’t like it. Instead, he nicked his sister’s foundation from the panto last year and has started wearing that. It certainly makes his face look a lot better, but I fear for the damage it is causing. I know the dermatologist told me I should only use foundation from Sk:n Clinics and, having looked at the cost, it’s an absolute fortune. (I’ve never worn foundation, so it’s never been an issue for me.) My son applies the foundation with a blusher brush, also nicked from his sister. Again, I’m pretty sure if he’d watched some YouTube videos, nobody would apply it with a blusher brush. But I’m letting it go. The foundation gives him confidence and that’s all that matters. (I must try not to worry too much about the germs on the brush spreading his spots and making them worse.)

Concealer, Acne, Son, Skin, Teenager

But once he’s been to the dermatologist, if he has to give up the foundation, he will have to do it. He needs to give his skin the best chance of healing, even if that means revealing his spots for a few weeks.

Sadly, I’ve recently noticed a few spots on my younger son’s forehead. If we were any other family, I would have let them go, but I can’t risk it in our family. So he’s been whisked off to the doctor’s and has already got his first prescription lotion. The GP knows us and our problems so well, he just asked me what medication I’d like him to have! Between us, we’ve used them all over the last couple of years.

I’ve had to go over the whole ‘how to wash your face’ thing again, for my younger son. How can they not know how to wash their faces?

So skincare advice for boys really is needed. Does anyone know of any YouTube channels or similar that have skincare advice for teenage boys, particularly those with severe acne?

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Sarah – have just sent you a tweet with a link to a post I did on Teen acne. Both my Teens suffered terribly and whilst it is has not disappeared for them completely we have found products and a regime that works for them both in keeping it at bay. It is soul destroying watching your children go through it and as you say it is particularly tough with boys as they generally just don’t do clean very well do they? I really hope you find something but I found it took a lot of trial and error and me nagging constantly for them to keep at it. Good luck.

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    • Thanks very much! Sorry to hear your teens suffered too. Have had a read of your post and it’s very helpful! I had no idea of the range of products out there, so we will be trying a few more. It almost feels a bit late for my eldest, but if we can use them to help keep my younger son’s spots at a manageable level, that would be really good.

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  2. I used to use clearasil all the time when I was a teenager and it did feel a bit stingy. Hope his meds are helping and the foundation does sound a good idea but I know what you mean about the long term impact of these things. I hope your younger son manages to escape any acne x

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    • Thanks very much! I’m not that hopeful for my younger son (or my daughter), but will do all I can to stay on top of it. I used Clearasil right until a couple of years ago, when I was told to stop by the dermatologist! It’s not the most gentle of products!

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  3. Sorry to hear he is suffering so much, but you are so right. Where do the teen boys go for skincare advice? My teen suffers from spots (his dad suffered with acne), and the Witch Sticks seem to work when he is suffering an outbreak. You never know, the homemade scrub might be the next big thing! Hope it improves soon for both of them x

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    • Thanks very much! Sorry to hear your boy suffers too. These things definitely seem to run in families. There is a definite lack of information and advice for boys. x

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  4. This is such an important issue Sarah and one that deserves more exposure. I totally agree about the very specific issues faced by boys with skin problems. My daughters are experts at make up and concealing skin blemishes and I don’t know where this came from. It was not from me! I would imagine that the products available to girls is wider (just look at the shelves in a beauty store). The other point that I would add is the role of contraceptives. Older girls are offered the combined oral contraceptive as a treatment option by some GPs. Some agree and some do not agree with this but whatever your opinions – it is a treatment option that is open to girls but not to boys. It works very well for some.

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    • I had the contraceptive a couple of times, among the many treatments I’ve had over the last 30 years!
      I guess your daughters learned their clever tricks from YouTube. Even though my son has embraced wearing make-up, I can’t see him ever watching a video with a smiling female vlogger showing him how to conceal his spots. He needs male help!

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  5. Unfortunately I can’t offer any advice but I hope that you manage to find something that works.

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    • Thanks very much! We’re pinning all our hopes on the dermatologist.

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  6. You’ve raised such a valid point here, that boys simply have no resource to turn to for skincare. Why? It’s good he has you to help him though as acne is such a confidence wrecker. I hope he is seen soon x

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    • Thanks very much! We’re lucky he’s as resilient as he is because otherwise it could have really knocked his self-esteem. He’s wobbled a bit, unsurprisingly, but on the whole he’s stayed very strong. We have the all-important appointment now and I’m certain he’s going to end up on Roaccutane. x

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