With fall just around the corner, your teens are heading back to school for yet another year of learning. Although prepping can be chaotic—schedules, school supplies, a new fall wardrobe—you can help your kids find a moment of Zen with the promise of better looking skin. Here are some simple tips to help your kids achieve clearer, healthier looking skin before the first bell rings.
Did you know that a pimple that is visible to the naked eye has actually taken days or weeks to create? Deep in the pore, an accumulation of dead skin cells, oily sebum, and p. acnes bacteria mix for a variety of reasons to form a plug, creating a whitehead. If the plug comes in contact with the air, it darkens, and a blackhead results. The plug continues to grow until the duct swells; then, alas, you have a red, inflamed papule or zit.
You may have turned to over-the-counter products or even prescription treatments to help heal acne, only to be dissatisfied with the results. This is common—everyone’s skin is unique and can react to products differently. Some topical products may not effectively deal with all aspects of the breakout cycle; others may cause skin dehydration or irritation yet still leave skin prone to future breakouts.
To start, it’s important to remember that skin breaks out because unwanted toxins, debris, and bacteria are congesting pores, throwing it out of balance. To get skin back into balance, I always recommend easing into a skin-clearing regimen. You never want to throw your skin further out of whack by over-treating or over-drying it, which can trigger a backlash of oil production and a seemingly never-ending cycle of breakout vs. dry out.
For this reason, choose skincare products that contain gentle yet effective natural ingredients that work together harmoniously to bring blemish-prone skin back to better balance.
Natural Master Class
So, which natural ingredients are great for spotty skin? Tea tree oil is one of my favorite natural remedies—it contains powerful antiseptic and antibacterial properties to help clear blemishes and prevent breakouts. Willow bark and salicylic acid are two naturally keratolytic ingredients that help shed away dead surface cells, ridding skin of dirt, oil, and toxins trapped inside clogged pores. Rosewood is an antiseptic and astringent natural agent that can help balance out dryness and oiliness. Lavender contains astringent and antibacterial properties that can help purify skin. And ever-popular chamomile has strong anti-inflammatory properties that are ideal for soothing irritations, reducing redness, and calming upset skin. When used in combination, these naturally active botanicals can help keep skin clean, clear, and healthy for not only a day, but all school year long.
The best regimen for smart-looking skin requires washing with a gentle cleanser two to three times a day and using an exfoliant one to two times per week. This helps purify the skin, unclog pores, and stimulate healthy new cell growth. Be sure not to scrub skin too hard or use water that’s too hot—you’ll run the risk of inflaming skin or spreading acne bacteria, which can cause eruptions. If needed, apply a light dab of spot treatment on specific problem areas. Follow with moisturizer—don’t skip this step! Moisturizing is very important for rebalancing and replenishing lost nutrients.
Hormones, environment, and nutrition can also cause blemishes, so it’s important to help your kids make healthy lifestyle choices. Exercising, joining a school sports team, or participating in outdoor activities are great ways to keep hormonal fluctuations under control. Teens especially might get easily stressed, so try taking walks together or practice stretching and breathing exercises. A good night’s sleep, about seven to eight hours, is also ideal. Make sure that any fabrics that touch the skin, such as clothing, sheets, pillows, towels, and headbands, are washed regularly. Because food can also trigger blemishes, help your kids eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, with fewer processed foods that can be high in sugar and salt. Have them drink plenty of water—if possible, pack a water bottle with their lunch or encourage them to carry one with them at all times so they are less likely to give in to sugar-laden drinks.
Blemishes can zap confidence this time of year. With this natural approach, your kids can go back to school looking good and feeling great with clearer, healthier, better-balanced skin.
By Linda Miles, LAc, DOM
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