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First of all, parents, remember this is all about PROGRESS, not PERFECTION.

Does this describe your son's washing routine?

Here’s a Perfect Kid: He jumps out of bed cheerfully when the alarm clock goes off and gets dressed in clean, school-appropriate clothes. He eats a healthy breakfast and washes the dishes, all the while chatting happily about his upcoming day. Then Perfect Kid makes his bed with hospital corners before retreating to the bathroom. There, he conscientiously brushes his teeth (for 2 straight minutes), washes his face, uses face pads (or “toner pads”), and slaps on moisturizer before happily skipping off to school with an organized backpack.

HA!!! As any parent of teens, preteens or tweens knows, this image of PERFECTION is simply a fantasy. 

Helping moms help teen boys

In reality, we are often yanking kids out of bed with barely enough time to tuck in their shirt and hustle them off to school. So should we just give up on kids taking care of themselves in the morning altogether? Of course not! We toss our kids a granola bar for breakfast, at the very least. We run a comb through their hair as they brush their teeth for 20 seconds. We follow them out the door with loose homework papers and sneakers, hoping they don’t lose their shoes before P.E. Is that a “perfect” morning routine?

Nope, but we do what we can do, right?

In the spirit of improving this “good enough is good enough” routine, consider tossing a container of JB SKRUB face pads into your kid’s backpack as a substitute for a proper cleaning routine. Your kid can swipe his face quickly on the way to school to remove dirt and grime and repeat after PE class as well. (Here’s hoping those sneakers made it!) Face pads, otherwise known as toner pads, are never going to be a perfect substitute for a proper skincare routine, but regular use of face pads can help dissolve some of the build-up on skin that leads to clogged pores in kids who aren’t even old enough for “real acne”.

So is there a difference between face pads? What about baby wipes? Will they do the trick?

Now we are getting into trickier territory. Baby wipes are terrific for getting sticky hands clean, but they are not ideal for faces, as they may be scented or leave a residue behind. 

As for toner/face pads, there IS a difference that needs to be considered when addressing pre-teen and tween skin. Traditional “acne” face pads from the drugstore usually contain salicylic acid (a harsh and drying ingredient) as well as menthol (eek!) and additional fragrance. Instead, look for face pads that have no fragrance and contain succinic acid. Like salicylic acid, succinic acid will promote skin turnover, thereby helping to remove those weird little bumps and burgeoning blackheads. 

Unlike salicylic acid, however, succinic acid is not harsh and drying; It helps to protect the skin barrier, and it is less irritating to the skin. Imagine: succinic acid is all this while still being an anti-microbial that inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungus! (It almost sounds, well...perfect!)

Be like Julie, get your kids everything to make your kids' life easier so yours is too!