April 12, 2019
We’ve had lots of inquires lately from parents asking which products are most suitable for their teenage daughters and sons to help with their skin. Some want to help improve their teenagers’ skin to give them more confidence and others are concerned about starting them on a healthy skincare regime early (which I wholeheartedly LOVE). And so I thought I’d write a post about this, sharing what has worked in my experience, including dietary, lifestyle and skincare recommendations.
What’s going on with my skin Mum?
I won’t delve into the science too much here as I’ve already talked about this in a previous post (see How hormones affect your skin – Part 1 Puberty & Acne) and so I’ll just give you the basics. Hormones are raging in puberty, particularly growth and sex hormones, and this fluctuation can have a direct effect on the skin. Too high an influx of hormones (androgens in particular) and your skin starts over-producing sebum, the lubricant that keeps our skin moist. Too much sebum can lead to acne.
Diet, Hormones & Acne
Dietary choices can play a role in influencing our hormones and our skin in multiple ways.
Probably not what you want to hear at Easter but yes chocolate can give you pimples. Dairy foods (particularly milk) and high GI foods (e.g. white bread, rice, sugar) have an effect on our insulin levels which further stimulates androgen production. So if you’re reaching for that chocolate egg this Easter, try to make it dark chocolate and low sugar or sugar free. Carob is great!
Generally teenage years are a time when food intake is mixed and haphazard, and so it doesn’t help that when the skin is most susceptible to dietary influences, diet is often at its least nutritious. Becoming aware about healthy eating and the benefits for skin as young as possible is really helpful when making food choices. A healthy skin diet should contain mostly low glycaemic index foods, reduced milk solids (milk and ice cream), and is high in anti-inflammatory foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids (fish and other seafood, most nuts and seeds).
Have you ever wondered why when you’ve got a big event coming up (e.g. exams, hot date) you tend to break out? There is a link!
The key stress hormone, cortisol, plays a role in our skin’s health in 2 ways. Firstly, it has a direct effect on sebum levels, increasing production when cortisol levels rise. Secondly, cortisol has a dampening effect on the immune system, which means that infections are more likely to take hold when you’re stressed.
Exercise is probably the easiest and most effective way to manage stress but you could also consider mediation and other relaxation methods (e.g. breathwork, yoga).
There are plenty of skincare options out there, with some aimed specifically at teenage skin. Unfortunately they’re not all good and some can make the situation worse. Foaming cleansers strip the skin of oils which encourages the skin to produce more oils. Harsh chemicals designed to stop acne often cause reactions and can lead to redness and dry patches. All together it can be a very frustrating time which not only affects your confidence but your wallet!
Firstly, you need to choose products which do not exacerbate sebum production and in fact calm it down. You also want to reduce any inflammation and infection present. The skincare regime that I most commonly recommend for teenagers is as follows:
This simple skincare regime will take 5 minutes and should be performed once daily. Together these products gently cleanse skin, calm inflammation and provides natural antiseptic properties.
To make it easy, we’ve put these 4 products together in a simple, cost-effective pack called ‘3 Steps to Healthy Skin‘.
By becoming aware early about how to maintain healthy skin using diet, lifestyle and skincare choices, you’re setting yourself up for good skin for life.