Skincare Basics for Teens with Acne: Advice from Skincare Expert Tina Keshishian

Today we sat down with Studio City-based CEO and Founder of Tina•K Skin, Tina Keshishian, to discuss the importance of teenage skincare. 

A little backstory – Tina's dedication to skincare originated from her own battle with acne, serving as the catalyst for her decision to pursue a career as an esthetician.

She battled with acne at the young age of 11, which led her to a facialist who sparked her interest and ignited the fire that became Tina•K Skin.

We’ll get more into this later – stay tuned!

Whether you're a teenager struggling with acne, a parent seeking skincare advice for your teen, or simply interested in expanding your knowledge about teen skincare – this blog is for you!

 Full interview with skincare expert, Tina Keshishian

  1. Do you think there is a “right” age to start taking care of your skin? Are you ever too young?

"I started at age 11, which might seem young to some, but for me that’s when I started having issues. Look at this way – you get your teeth cleaned because it’s a necessity, not a luxury. The same is true for your skin. When your pores are backed up you have to clean them out (hate to break it to you, you can’t avoid it like the dentist’s office). So I say as soon as you start to notice congestion or breakouts, that’s probably a good time to come in for a facial."


  1. What are some of the most common issues you see with teen skin?

"The most common thing I see is inflammation. With boys it’s the razor bumps. This is usually around the time they start shaving, so I see a lot of red and inflamed little bumps. When coaching them, I’ll focus on teaching them how to bring that irritation down and calm the skin.

With girls its dryness. They’re usually the ones using a million products to dry out their skin (guilty!). So we focus on reintroducing moisture and cleaning out their pores. Once you do that everything starts to balance out."


  1. What are the benefits of a facial for a teenager? Do you think it’s necessary?

"#1, knowledge is power (amen, sister.) The more you know, the better off you’ll be. Just like cleaning your teeth! The better you take care of your skin, the more longevity you’ll have in terms of keeping it looking young and healthy. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that for as long as possible?"


  1. What role do hormones play?

"Hormones are the main cause of why teenagers break out. That’s what gets the sebaceous gland (the one that produces oil) super active. More hormonal surges = more inflammation. So it’s all about keeping the skin calm and keeping your pores clean. The hormonal surge is only for a temporary period of time (flashback to 13-year-old me with a mouth full of braces and majorly over-plucked eyebrows – it gets better I promise). Just get through that part and you’ll have great skin afterwards if you’re taking care of it!"


  1. Is there anything you can do to prevent that stage? Or are we stuck just having to wait it out?

Good news – no, there are a lot of things you can do. Example: shaving. Like I mentioned, a lot of times this is right around the time that boys start shaving. If you’re using an electric razor, that could be the issue. It can cause bacteria to spread like wildfire. So I suggest getting to an esthetician who can coach you on how to take care of your facial hair. For girls, same thing. Get to someone who can teach you how to properly take care of your skin at home. That’s really what saved me as a teen. Learn the basics! More isn’t always better.


  1. What’s your teen skin story?

My story starts at age 11. I battled with bad breakouts really young. Some people opt for medication, which would’ve been a temporary fix (think Accutane, harsh peels, etc.). I opted to see an esthetician because I needed to actually learn how to take care of my skin, not just put a bandaid over the problem. So I would ride my bike to go see my facialist (lol, not your typical 11-year-old activity) and she would clean out my pores and teach me about proper skincare. Best thing I ever did! That’s when I decided I wanted to be an esthetician. I had to preach and teach others what I learned – and now here we are all these years later.


  1. If you could go back and give your teen self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Well, I definitely wouldn’t be riding my bike to and from facials. You want to seal your pores and keep your skin calm instead of aggravating it with dirt and dust or sweat after you’ve had extractions. I 100% wish I would’ve known to use Neosporin after a facial, too! That would’ve helped to clear my acne a lot faster – definitely #1 tool to have in your arsenal.


  1. What do you think is the biggest mistake teens make when they break out?

They touch their face! Most people when they break out are irritated and just want to pick at their face (again, guilty). Big mistake. I won’t even touch my face today. The bacteria on your fingers is recipe for disaster, you’re basically asking for a blackhead. Guaranteed if you were to touch the same spot on your face over and over you’d wake up with a blackhead or pimple in that spot (don’t try it, do not recommend). It sounds weird but I’ve gotten into the habit of using the back of my hand if I have to touch my face or point to something. You just know if you’ve ever had acne that touching your face with your fingers is a huge no-no. #1 piece of advice, no matter how tempting it may be to pop that sucker.


  1. Ok, let’s get real. Good facials are expensive. If I can’t afford to get regular facials but really want to start taking care of my skin, what do you think is a good basic regimen for me as a teen?

#1 start with a good cleanser (I’ve talked about how cleanser is key in a previous post — check it out if you haven’t already (link to skincare basics)). You should be using a cleanser that doesn’t foam, something on the milkier side. Make sure you remove with a wet washcloth. If you’re using a cleanser that foams and your skin feels tight afterwards – SOS. STOP! You never want your skin to feel super tight or dry after you cleanse. That’s when you’re going to start producing more oil to compensate and you’ll start to break out again. If you’re looking for a basic routine, I would say these are the most important steps to follow: 1. Cleanse. 2. Remove properly (remember, wet washcloth or cellulose sponge). And 3. MOISTURIZE immediately. Do that until your skin starts to balance out and calm down, and you’ll be less apt to breaking out. Inflammation is the root of acne, after all, so the #1 thing is getting everything to balance out.


  1. Wait – I thought “tight” was a good thing. Isn’t everyone chasing after that tight, poreless look?

Well, no. That’s not the kind of tight I’m talking about. It’s one thing to have tight skin as in it’s not sagging or wrinkled. But when it feels almost itchy – that’s not a good thing. That’s when you’ll start to break out because your skin is off balance.


  1. Finally, let’s talk about your typical teenager. They’re probably playing high school sports, running around a lot, most likely not prioritizing skincare and are more prone to breakouts. What do you think is a good way to go about keeping their skin under control?

Kids break out so easily simply because of their skin always being suffocated. Think back to when you would rush from school to practice to hanging out with your friends, always wearing a ball cap or some sort of sporting gear. Something really simple you can do is to keep wipes in your bag or in your car and make sure you clean your skin immediately after activity (you can find witch hazel wipes at pretty much any grocery store – super easy and inexpensive). Wipe your face down really well and make sure you moisturize. That’s it! No excuses people!


Thanks for tuning in! If there’s one thing I learned from this interview it’s that I definitely had the wrong idea when it came to skincare as a teen. The more you know, right?


P.S. be sure to follow us on Instagram and YouTube @tinakskin! Much more to come.


Till next time! XO,