As young people enter into the teenage years their skin starts to change too. Both parents and children start to worry about the dreaded breakouts that can affect them both physically and emotionally. Breakouts in this age group are caused most commonly by hormonal changes and sometimes by food intolerances (wheat and dairy being the most common) but ensuring the overall health of the skin is good, and that the products being used to care for the skin are not doing more harm than good can mean the difference between a mild case (or none!) and something much more worrying.
One of my main annoyances with the mainstream drugstore brands is that they are marketed to young teens to help prevent spots and blemishes but in my experience all they do is strip the skin of it’s natural protective barriers, leaving the skin unhealthy and more likely to break out (and therefore in need of more “anti-acne” skin care products…call me a skeptic but maybe these facts are linked…). The foaming facial washes and facial scrubs that contain harsh sulphates and irritating levels of fragrances and preservatives can put the skin in such a vulnerable situation that if/when the hormones start raging the skin suffers much worse than if it were healthy.
The answer..? Oil cleansing of course!!! (Did you guess I would say that haha?)
As oil cleansing does not strip or harm the skin like other cleansers it is a great way for young people to start to look after their skin. It cleanses away dirt, sweat and dead skin cells really effectively whilst leaving our all important acid mantle intact (read about this in detail here). Regularly disturbing our acid mantle with harsh cleaners is a sure way to create “weak” unhealthy skin which is much more prone to breakouts.
But what should you use if your teen has already broken out? The great news about our skin is that it is so receptive to what we do to it. Prevention is definitely better than cure but there are some awesome natural and gentle ingredients easily available. Here are my tips for helping young people keep their skin healthy and clear.
- Use an oil cleanser instead of a harsh foaming cleanser every evening before bed. I recommend my Jojoba & Calendula if the skin is sensitive or red, or try the Lavender & Lime for break-out prone skin that is not red. Check them out here.
- Use simple neat lavender essential oil as a spot treatment instead of drug store spot treatments which can be too strong and leave scarring.
- Look for white willow, a wonderful herb that contains natural salicylic acid which has been proven to help clear up break-outs. (Find it in my Lavender & White Willow Mask and Exfoliant). Using a gentle exfoliant once a week can help keep the skin healthy in teens.
- Don’t forget to check for food sensitivities. The simplest and most effective way to do this is to exclude the food from your diet for 6 weeks and see if anything changes, start with dairy and wheat as these are the most common.
- If you are really struggling still I urge you to look for a naturopath or herbalist to help rather than going down the pharmaceutical drug route as going on the contraceptive pill or other medication may help in the short term they are not really solving the problem.
The teenage years can be a tough time for many young people, with appearance being one of the most scrutinized aspects. Having healthy clear skin can really help to alleviate some of the stress.