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Teenagers and skin breakouts

Teenage skin and why it can be detrimental to their confidence.

There are so many changes happening when a child moves into puberty. Once playing carefree with Barbie(toys), now interested in boys, cosmetics and social media!

Most of the changes are happening on the inside, but are visible on the outside. Girls develop breasts, have hair growing in new places, hips widen, gets motivated to have better hygiene to combat body odour by wearing lovely smelling stuff AND start their periods. Boys on the other hand have their voice deepen, also focus on hygiene practices for stronger body odour and sport a moustache with hair growing on their face, toes and everywhere inbetween.

The worst of all these changes can be seen on the skin. It has a physical and emotional impact and it is all due to hormones. With the onset of hormones, their skin can break out, which can leave them feeling vulnerable being visible and not easy to ignore. It can so easily be used against them, just one wrong remark can break their confidence and it will take a long time to heal. It’s so sad, because their skin just does what their skin does.

Our skin is the largest organ we have and everything going on in our body gets displayed on the outside.

Pimples, breakout, zits, pustules, papules, milia, oily t-zone, comedones, acne, etc are all part of skin changes in our sex hormones (oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone). When they come into play around the age of 10/11 years old, our skin will quickly show it with a little spot or two. As our hormonal activity starts to increase, the intensity shows on our skin, usually our face, neck, upper back and chest and the amount of the breakout depends on the severity of the hormonal fluctuations.

It might be something we do, or don’t do, but in the end, it can require either simple actions or may need medical intervention.

WHAT WE CAN DO

Physical help:

1. Cut out dairy: This is to me in my humble opinion probably the best thing you can do in general. We as humans are not meant to drink cow’s milk. There are no advantages to it and I know I’m probably either going to get a high five from fellow anti-dairy activists or a huge verbal lashing from those who love their milk and believe it is good for you. I can go on and on about why milk is not good, but in the case of acne/breakouts, dairy makes war on the skin and I am proof of it. Dairy causes a disruption in the production and utilisation of the sex hormones and that causes the skin to break out. As simple as that. Take a chance and cut it out for about a month, I bet you’ll discontinue the use of dairy products afterwards.
2. Opt-in a good facial routine: don’t overdo it. Breakouts don’t like harsh products. The more aggressively you fight, the worse it can get. A good 3-step program with the right products is all you need. Don’t squeeze pimples, especially those that is not ready. Don’t scrub, especially acne prone skin, the skin is already fragile and do remember sunblock.
There is a lovely lady called Kathryn who makes beautiful oils with great results. Go to her website www.kjserums.com, the results are amazing.
3. Diet: be very careful of what you eat. Take out processed foods, carbonated fizzy drinks, sugar and gluten. They are all your skin’s worst enemy. Again, they all work against your hormones and can upset your skin even more. It is also not digested very well and it has zero nutrition in it. Rather eat a protein and vegetable rich diet. Your skin and body will thank you for it. Also bring in a variety so your body has a buffet of nutrition to choose from rather than having the same foods all the time. Explore with your taste buds.
4. Facials: if you can have a facial every month, do so. It helps you to relax and allows your skin to be thoroughly cleaned and treated. The therapist will also help with product selection and give you guidelines to how to treat the breakout if you love to squeeze.
5. Medical help: If you’ve done everything you can to counter the breakout, speak to a recommended dermatologist in your mummy tribe.

Psychological help:

1. Support: if you are a parent of a teen with an overactive skin, comfort and support is one of the most important actions to help against the severity of the issue. Don’t just assume that they will know it is normal. Remind them that everyone goes through it and that you will get the help you can. They need to know that you are on their side and will do all it takes to help their skin.
2. Don’t be surprised: if our teen is crankier and teary due to how she feels about her 1 spot on her forehead, don’t just brush it off. For teens it is a massive failure when small changes happen on the outside. Help her through it by advising on methods to counter the problem.
3. Stress management: stress and anxiety have many outlets which can either show up as emotional outbursts, withdrawal, increased eating, skin breakout, etc. It is not rocket science to think that that can create more stress. Especially for teens, stress comes about during exam times and it is vital to help them find a personal, tailor made way in which they can let it out. Suggestions can be frequent meditation, taking relaxing baths, using aromatherapy oils, having a massage, going away for a short staycation (perhaps 1 night out of the city and in nature) or going to a horse farm. Anything that can help shift the mind from the presenting issue that is causing the stress.

Remember, being a teen is hard and we as adults often forget how it felt. They are not able to logically and rationally make their situations out. Reminding them that you are on their side and that you’re their (and are there for) support, it will help them through the hormonal transition.