Local entrepreneur offers skin care line for teens
Thirsty Naturals created with help of board of young consultants, Jody Robbins writes.
For many teenagers, being back at school is fraught with a mixture of excitement and drama. And few things wreak havoc with their confidence more than acne — especially with the onslaught of beauty social media channels.
With mental health now recognized as an essential part of one’s overall health, acne is no longer treated just for superficial reasons. According to Calgary dermatologist Laurie Parsons, the initial intention for treating pimples is to manage the hormonal influence until it’s outgrown and to prevent physical scaring. But the second and equally important reason is to address the psychological issues associated with acne.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to listen to your teen’s concerns. Part of mental health is validating what kids say. If they’re concerned about their pimples and it bothers them, get it treated,” she advises.
Yet Parsons warns that the way in which many caregivers treat acne isn’t the way to blemish-free skin or to helping a teen’s self esteem.
“Telling a teen if they washed more, or stopped eating pizza it would all go away, isn’t true. Acne has nothing to do with that, or spending a lot on over-thecounter products.”
Calgary mother Jennifer Carlson understood this all too well, and decided to take action. As the founder of Baby Gourmet, a leading Canadian brand of organic baby food, Carlson spent the past decade focusing on what goes into kids’ tummies. But as her children grew, she realized it was just as important to pay attention to what they were putting on their skin, the body’s largest organ. That’s why she recently launched Thirsty Naturals, an all-natural, plant-based line of personal care products for teenagers.
“Conventional skin-care products are often harsh, with artificial fragrances and other known hormone disrupters. That wasn’t the journey into personal care I wanted for my kids. There’s so many great, natural ingredients that have been proven to be effective with the issues teens are going through — namely oilprone skin. Why shock them with strong chemicals?” she asks.
The line, comprised of six products for teens to round out their hygiene routine, includes a cleanser, body wash, moisturizer, spot treatment, dry shampoo and deodorant. Thirsty Naturals is affordably priced (between
$12 and $22), and is available across Canada at Loblaws and in Calgary at Superstore, Calgary Co-op, Planet Organic and Community Natural Foods.
Besides being one of the few Canadian, all-natural skin care lines, the unisex brand is overseen by a board of teen advisers. The board, comprised of nine- to 21-year-olds, approves all scents and packaging, plus personally tests each product.
“It’s made for them, so our board tells us what they want. Our products control oil, without drying out the skin, so anyone with sensitive, oil-prone skin will also find it very balancing,” says Carlson.
Getting your teen to actually wash their face can be another matter. According to parent educator Julie Freedman-Smith, part of it is timing and part of it is holding kids accountable.
“Peer pressure can be a wonderful thing at times. Maybe now you’re forcing them to shower after sports practice, but all of a sudden it will matter. Hand over responsibility to your teen, but put parameters around it, discussing how and when grooming will happen,” she advises.
As a parent, helping your teen feel more confident can be a tough order — especially when it’s hard to judge that fine line between letting them go through this awkward rite of passage versus giving them a leg up. After all, nobody wants to be accused of being a helicopter parent anymore.
Freedman-Smith recommends continually attempting to make connections and create safe spaces for teens to talk.
“Our job is to create structure for teens and connect with them regularly. And when they do talk, you stop. Drop everything and make the effort to be there. We can’t solve their issues for them, but we can let them know they’re not alone. The more they know there’s people who care about them, the easier it is for them to feel there’s a way for them to move forward and belong."
Follow Jody’s health and wellness adventures on her blog: TravelswithBaggage.com or on Instagram @TravelswBaggage.
DR. PARSONS’ TIPS FOR HEALTHY TEENAGE SKIN
Wash your face twice a day, using a mild cleanser that removes the oil from you face.
Use a moisturizer — ideally one that’s water-based, but only where your skin feels dry. It’s OK to cover up pimples with makeup, just ensure it’s also oil-free.
Be wary of advice given by estheticians and makeup counter salespeople. They don’t know as much behind the science of skin care as a doctor does.
If your teen has concerns about their skin, see your family doctor first. If they’re prescribed a topical product or antibiotic, realize it typically takes six weeks to notice a 50 per cent improvement.
By the three-month mark, the treatment will be as good as it’ll get. If you’re not happy with the results, ask to be referred to a Royal College certified dermatologist — not a GP with a special interest in dermatology.
A Calgary mom has created an all-natural unisex skin care line for teens, called Thirsty Naturals. THIRSTY NATURaLS