Lo­cal en­trepreneur of­fers skin care line for teens

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life -

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.


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

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