I was 21 when acne invaded my life. It affected my self-esteem, my mental health, and undoubtedly trickled into other areas of my life as self-loath met me every moment of the day. I thought adult acne was bad, I could only imagine that struggle for a teen. A vulnerable age for confidence as is stacked with school stress, body changes, first-times, and of course a time when peers can be so cruel.
Acne affects 90% of Australian teens between the ages of 16-18, with over one third turning to medical intervention. The conventional “go-to” such as the oral contraceptive pill, antibiotics, and Roaccutane can provide symptomatic relief, however these medications come with quite a list of unwanted side-effects. In fact, it’s the collateral damage of hormonal birth control and antibiotics that is often the cause of acne for my adult clients.
Here are my top 5 tips to naturally calm your teenager’s angry skin. These are diet and lifestyle changes which, in contrast to the conventional “pill for an ill” approach, will not only help your teen reclaim their clear skin confidence, but empower them in long-term hormone balance and overall health.
Food As Medicine:
Clean skin comes from within. Cleaning up the diet will be the most effective tool for sustainable results:
1. Ditch The Dairy:
When it comes to acne, this is one tip that I cannot stress enough. Dairy not only worsens acne but will also trigger it due to a number of factors that involve poor blood sugar regulation, inflammation, and a subsequent chain of events that drive the very hormone imbalance that underlies oily skin and cystic breakouts.
Fortunately, plant-based dairy alternatives such as almond milk and coconut yoghurt are growing popular and easy to find. If the initial transition is challenging, try switching to the less inflammatory A2 dairy or goat’s milk products.
2. Love Your Liver:
Puberty puts a lot of burden on the liver as it tries to process increasing levels of hormones. This can result in hormone excess and an overload in toxins being released through the skin. Thankfully there are plenty of foods that support the liver to detox well.
Adding 2 cups of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, bok choy, kale, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts) into the diet daily will not only provide fibre to help remove the toxins but will give the liver a boost in the detox process. Additionally, the liver loves bitter foods, so add a side of rocket salad to the evening meals dressed with lemon juice and a dash of olive oil.
3. Fibre Is Your Friend:
Fibre binds to excess hormones and toxins to help remove them from the body and feeds a healthy bacterial balance in the gut which translates to the skin. Ensuring variety and abundance of plant-foods is important. I recommend 2-3 tablespoons of fresh ground flaxseed daily along with fibre-rich fruits, vegetables, legumes, and gluten-free grains accompanying each meal.
Porridge or a smoothie can make a great fibre-fuelled breakfast. If mornings are time poor make overnight oats by soaking oats, fruit (grated apple) nuts/seeds (sunflower or pumpkin) and flaxseed meal with almond milk or water in a jar overnight. Top with a dollop of coconut yoghurt and it’s ready to grab and go in the morning.
4. Is There A Magic Pill?
If there is one wonder-supplement for hormone and skin health Zinc is it! Zinc is not only needed for skin repair, but it also kills bacteria, reduces oil and keratin build up in the pores, and works in several ways to restore hormone balance.
5. Finally, We Have To Talk About Topicals:
With the new wave of peels, acids, exfoliants and other active abrasives I see now more than ever inflammatory acne in result of skin-barrier breakdown. Whilst the cosmetic industry captures the market for ‘squeaky clean’ skin, in many cases barrier protection is stripped exposing immature skin cells to the environment and triggering excessive oil production to compensate.
The 2 Topicals That Work Wonders For My Patients:
- B3 serum (Niacinamide) to remove redness and inflammation
- Hemp oil to reduce excess oil production and restore skin barrier function.
I fell in love with the brand Supple Skin Co. and I still use their Dew Drops today, years after having troubled skin. My clients love it to! Use JFINLAY at checkout for 15% off.
Acne can understandably be stressful for both the adolescent and for parents. However, this can be a beautiful opportunity to put the power back in your teen’s hands for their future health. Addressing the skin from within creates a ripple effect of health throughout the entire body promoting hormone balance, gut health, mental wellbeing and much more.
If you’ve tried a natural approach to acne I’d love to hear of your experience!
Leave us a comment below….
About The Author
Jemaine Finlay | Women’s Health Naturopath & Life Coach.
“Health is a state of body, wellness is a state of being.”
For the better half of the last decade, I have been on a mission to empower women in taking back control in their lives, their health, and their happiness. I educate women in understanding themselves and the complex and deeply interconnected nature of their mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing in physical health. As a naturopath I work with nutrition, herbal medicine, and lifestyle coaching to support women to overcome health challenges including body-breakdown in result of chronic stress; menstrual difficulties, digestive concerns, autoimmune conditions, hormone imbalances, and conditions including PCOS, endometriosis, anxiety, and depression, among other unexplained symptoms and distress.
As a coach, group facilitator, and public speaker I empower women in understanding why they do what they do, making peace with their past, aligning their actions and intentions with their deepest soul desires, and redefining wellbeing to create peace in who- and how well they are being in all areas of their life.