Skin Solutions: Teens and stressful times, how to help
Wirh Gaye Barlow, Single Mum, Nurse and Founder of The Skin Care Clinic
In this issue of Skin Solutions, we’re looking at the skin of your children, how it may change during times of stress and what you can do to help them. It has been recognised for a long time now that children are entering puberty earlier with the influencing factors blamed being the growth hormones and sugars which are added to our foods. Our children are also under much more stress than we were with their busier lives, and personal situations such as a family breakup or times of grief can add to the factors that lead to break outs.
Acne occurs when there is insufficient, or abnormal cell turnover in the skin which results in retained skin cells that block pores and oil glands that bacteria feeds off.
There are also stress receptors on the cells that produce natural oils. When the body is under stress, more oil is produced, so these can become activated in children who are going through a stressful time.
HOW TO HELP YOUR EMERGING TEEN:
The body’s cycle of cell turnover or renewal, is complex and there is seldom one thing we can change to correct the problem. Start by talking to them, as difficult as that can be. They will have noticed changes in how their skin feels and looks and are probably surfing the internet to find out what to do. No doubt they’ll be looking at scrubs and harsh products to solve their problem. This is where you can step in to ensure both lifestyle, diet and skin care issues are addressed.
STEPS TO TAKE:
1. Meditation or yoga: teach them that a quiet time is a useful time.
2. Sleep: teens need a lot of it and it also helps their skin recover. Having a cooler bedroom and shutting down computers earlier can help get a restful night’s sleep.
3. Diet: healthy foods reduce the inflammation in our skin and decrease the likelihood of breakouts while also helping our young adults deal with stress. Foods high in Vitamin A, E and C, Zinc, and especially Omega 3’s are great skin foods. Where can you get these?
• Vitamin A: These need to be eaten with fatty foods for optimal absorption. You can find vitamin A in orange foods such as carrots, sweet potato, dried apricots, cantaloupe, as well as fish, liver adark leafy veggies and berries.
• Vitamin E: again, best eaten with fatty foods. Tofu, spinach, almonds, sunflower seeds, avocado, shellfish, fresh water fish, broccoli, squash and pumpkin.
• Vitamin C: dark leafy veggies, broccoli, dark berries, citrus fruits, tomato, peas, papaya, red capsicum, kiwi fruit.
• Zinc: cooked oysters, beef, veal liver, chicken and pork. Toasted wheat germ, cashews, pumpkin and squash seeds, mung beans, dark chocolate, mushrooms, and spinach.
• Omega 3 foods: fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, walnuts, chia seeds, soy and spinach.
Teaching your child to avoid processed foods high in fat and sugars and reduce foods containing yeast is also a great place to start.
Research has also shown that a diet rich in protein can reduce acne by fifty percent within a month.
4. Gut help: Some children need a little gut help, and acne sufferers are often in this group. Adding a high quality, no added sugar or sweetener probiotic to their diet can really help with stress levels, sleep, clarity of mind as well as skin health.
5. Water and lots of it: as well as providing hydration, water flushes out impurities and toxins. Cordial, juice and fizzy drinks have no part in the creation of healthy skin and mind.
STARTING A SKIN CARE ROUTINE:
The aim of beginning a skin routine is to start simple, collect your facts and be confident that you are teaching the correct thing.
First up: your child needs to wash their face morning and night and as soon as possible after sporting activities to clean off the sweat. You want to keep everything moving to keep the surface clean.
What to use: avoid skin care products with toxic ingredients and be very sceptical about ‘natural’, ‘botanical’ and even ‘organic’ as the labelling in the cosmetic industry leaves considerable room for “nasties” to be added. When reading labels (take your magnifying glass with you!), the words and groups of letters you want to stay away from are: parabens (propyl & butyl) sodium lauryl/ laureth sulphate, PEG (polyethylene glycol), TEA, MEA, DEA, Parfum (fake fragrance), Japanese Honeysuckle Extract, and any words containing “eth”. These are the most common ones – there are many more.
It’s irrelevant whether a cleanser is a foam, a gel or a cream, what is important is the main