How to Build a Skincare Routine for Teens and Tweens

girl washing her face with skincare products surrounding her


As you get older you’ll start to notice a lot of changes happening to your body, most likely because of puberty and other hormonal changes and that’s totally normal! As a teen or tween, you might notice your skin starting to look and feel different. You probably open your favourite social media app and see tons of skincare tips, routines, and hacks. Girl, it can feel overwhelming - no cap! You begin to wonder where do I start? What products do I need? How do I know what routine is best for me? But don’t worry girl! Your girl gang has got you covered! Here is everything you need to know to get started on building a skincare routine that is just right for you!

Discovering Your Skin Type

Before you can start building your skincare routine, you first have to know what type of skin you have to help you find the right products and create a skincare routine that is best for your skin type. There are six different skin types: normal skin, oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, combination skin, and acne-prone skin. If you’re wondering how to find your skin type, there is a simple and easy way to do this. Just wash your face with a gentle cleanser and let it dry without applying any other products. After 30-60 minutes, pay attention to how your face looks and feels.  

Normal Skin

If your skin feels soft and smooth and you don’t see any signs of oiliness or dryness, you have normal skin. Normal skin is great because you can try new products and experiment with different routines without experiencing breakouts or irritation.

Oily Skin

If your skin is oily, greasy, or shiny around your forehead, nose, and chin, you have oily skin. You might also notice your pores are large and you experience breakouts quite often. If you wear makeup, you usually have to retouch or apply powder after an hour or two. When building your routine, look for products that are non-comedogenic, which is a fancy word for products that don’t have ingredients that will block your pores and lead to more breakouts.

Dry Skin
If your skin feels dry, rough, or flaky, then you have dry skin. You probably have noticed this when washing your face or after you have taken a shower. Hydrating cleansers and moisturizers are ideal for dry skin because they contain ingredients that will help preserve the moisture in your skin.
Combination Skin

If your skin feels rough around your cheeks and oily around your forehead, nose, and chin, that means you have combination skin. You might notice that your skin is usually drier in the winter and oilier in the summer. When building your routine, look for products that are made for combination skin to avoid dryness or clogging your pores.

Sensitive Skin

If your skin feels flaky, irritated, red, or itchy, then you have sensitive skin. You could also have oily skin that is also sensitive or dry skin that is also sensitive. If you have sensitive skin, you must be careful when trying new products because you’re more likely to experience irritation, rashes, breakouts, or reactions to a product. The best way to know if a product works with your skin is to apply a small amount on your arm and neck to see how your skin reacts. When looking for products to add to your routine, avoid products with fragrances because they can cause irritation or rashes.

Acne-Prone Skin

If your skin feels dry, oily, or combination, but you also get acne and breakouts often you have acne-prone skin. For acne-prone skin, it is best to use products that are formulated to treat acne or gentle products that work well with any acne medication you’ve been prescribed (of course be sure to get your parents approval before using any medicated skincare products.)

Understanding Your Skin Concerns


Understanding what type of skin concerns you have is the second most important step to creating your routine because it also helps you determine what kind of products are best for treating your skin. Some of the most common skin concerns are acne, large pores, and hyperpigmentation.  


Acne is a skin condition that appears as small bumps on your face, but you may also find it on your neck, chest, back, and arms. Acne is common among teenagers and those who are going through puberty due to the changes in their hormones. You might have also noticed you get acne right before your period! KidsHealth provides a great explanation on the different kinds of acne you could have: 

Blackheads: small bumps that appear when your pores are blocked with dirt and oil and look like black dots often seen on your nose, chin, or cheeks.

Whiteheads: small bumps that appear as white dots on your nose, chin, or cheeks and also develops when your pores are blocked due to the buildup of dirt and oil.

Pimples: small red bumps that can have a white fluid in the middle that is called pus, which is formed from bacteria.

Cysts: large red or white bumps that are filled with fluid and can be painful or itchy.

Large Pores

Pores are small openings that become noticeable on your chin, nose, and cheeks when they are clogged due to the build-up of excess oil, dead skin, or makeup. If you have acne-prone or oily skin you’re probably no stranger to large pores, but with the right routine it can be managed.


Hyperpigmentation on your face are dark brown or red spots that you find on your skin usually from acne or scarring. Hyperpigmentation is often formed when we squeeze our pimples or pick at our scars. Depending on how old these marks are, some might take months or years to fade away while others will fade away within a shorter period of time. 


Building Your Routine 

Now that you know your skin type and recognize any skin concerns you might have, you are ready to start building your skincare routine. Whether you are a beginner or a skincare guru, there are three essential items every skincare routine must have: a cleanser, a moisturizer, and a sunscreen. 

Cleansers, cleansers, cleansers! 

The first step to any skincare routine is to wash your face with a facial cleanser. Cleansing is done once in the morning and once in the evening. Facial cleansers are used to remove dirt, oil, sweat, makeup, and pollution gathered throughout the day. They also come in multiple forms: foam, gel, cream, and oil.

Foam Cleansers

Foam cleansers can be cream or gel but turn into foam when applied to your face. Foam cleansers are ideal for those with oily, combination, and acne-prone skin because they are lightweight and provide a deeper cleanse.

Gel Cleansers

Gel cleansers are a clear liquid and are ideal for combination and oily skin. 

Cream Cleansers

Cream cleansers are heavier creams that are gentle and moisturizing, these cleansers are ideal for those with dry and sensitive skin.

Oil Cleansers

Oil cleansers are oils that are used for a double cleanse to remove any extra makeup, excess oil, or dirt. Oil cleansers are great to have because they are compatible with all skin types.


Applying your moisturizer is the next step in your skincare routine during the day and the final step during your evening skincare routine. Once you’ve cleansed your skin, you must apply moisturizer to hydrate because cleansers can strip the skin from its natural oils. If you have oily, combination, or acne-prone skin, using a lightweight moisturizer is best to avoid clogging your pores. If you have sensitive or dry skin, a heavier moisturizer is ideal to keep your skin feeling soft and hydrated.

Sunscreen (SPF)

The final and one of the most important steps in your morning skincare routine is applying your sunscreen. You might already use sunscreen to protect yourself from sun damage during the summer, but it is equally important to apply a daily sunscreen on your face to prevent and treat hyperpigmentation.

Forbes offers a breakdown on the labels you want to pay attention to when looking for sunscreens: 

  1. Broad spectrum: the product will protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays.
  1. Water resistant: the product will protect your skin in the water for a period of time.
  1. Sun Protection Factor (SPF): is presented as a number to indicate the level of sun protection the product provides. When choosing your sunscreen, SPF 15 or 30 is ideal for daily use.


Girl, we’re so proud of you that you made it this far! Now that you know your skin type, any skin concerns you may have and the skincare essentials, you have everything you need to build your skincare routine. While there are many routines and recommendations online, the products that work for someone else might not work for you, that’s why it’s important to build your own routine and learn what is best for your skin. Remember that no matter what your skin type is, you are beautiful and uniquely you! So love and embrace your skin type girl!