It’s such a tough age, isn’t it? My 14-year-old boy couldn’t care about cleaning his face yet gets frustrated with the number of pimples he has.
Teenagers are experiencing exceptional growth, their body is going through some pretty amazing changes and with that comes rapid skin development.
A 30 – 50-year-old skin can turn over every 28 – 36 days. That means from the minute it was divided to making its way to surface.
A teenager can have a cell turn over every 11 days! Making it very easy for blockages and systems to break down and not function correctly. Causing all kinds of havoc on the skin, from blackheads to infections and sore pimples under the surface.
So what can we do about it?
It’s really important to understand why they have acne and what grade of acne it is.
Getting the skin looked at by a trained skin therapist as all levels require different kinds of treatment.
Acne goes from grade 1 to grade 5 (I will blog about each one more in-depth)
Grade 1 is a few blackheads maybe a white pustule now and then and grade 5 is severe cystic acne that is present on the face, neck chest and back.
We also need to understand the acne is gut and hormone-related. Hence why it can be so bad for teenage boys with their surge of hormones. Inflammation on the face is a sign of an upset or impaired gut. our western highly processed diets that consist of sugar and salt can damage the gut lining and allow poor quality nutrients and free radicals into the body – which ultimately create inflammation on the skin. Trying to avoid highly processed foods and cutting out dairy and white bread is always a great start when treating inflamed acne. (I know this is hard as my son drinks waaaay too much milk!)
It can be hard to compete with hormones BUT making sure they are using a gentle hydrating cleanser that won’t strip the skin will help the skin to stay healthy enough to move the break out along faster. A stripped skin is too stressed trying to protect from the outside barrier to worry about a breakout coming from within.
Making sure they clean their skin every single day morning and night will go along way in reducing the bacteria and infection that can build upon their skin. A few key ingredients in treating acne is Vitamin A – the number one ingredient when it comes to treating acne and anti-ageing. It is the best on the market to date. The reason is vitamin A is like the skin cells conductor it helps the skin behave properly and repair damage (great for preventing and minimising scarring!)
Zinc both internally and applied topically (Mineral pro is amazing as it can act as a moisturiser for them as well) Zinc is known for a natural remedy to heal inflammation. So repairing internal inflammation as well as applying it to the skin.
Exfoliating the skin – there are many ways in which they can exfoliate the skin but for teenagers especially ones who are building up blackheads it helps to control the build of dead skin cells. NOW it is important to understand that scrubbing every day with a harsh granule is not the answer. It will only cause micro-tears on fresh skin and irritated new skin coming through.
A gentle scrub like the exfoliating cleanser from O – which has tiny crushed up pomegranate seeds or the fruit enzyme mask from island goddess, used every 2nd or thrid day will help keep the redundant skin cells from forming into blackheads while maintaining the skin acid mantle. (remember when the acid mantle has damaged the skin because too stressed to function and anything that is happening internally becomes magnified)
Sometimes all it takes is great homecare and the teenager can maintain and control acne from home, other times they may need a little help in-salon.
I am a firm believer in the less is more – they still have young skin that can bounce back quickly and start functioning properly again. We as skin therapist just need to guide it in the right direction. So my absolute favourite treatment for teenage skin is LED Light Therapy. Its amazing for controlling infection, bacteria, helping to prevent scarring and reducing inflammation.
I like to add enzyme therapy to LED as I find enzyme, natural fruit acids will help to munch up all the dead skin first the LD can stimulate further down. (We have a complete facial range designed for teenager skins and priced for the parents back pocket)
With the more severe acne, it may require medication – I am not a huge believer in medication especially antibiotics because it kills all the natural flora within our gut and that can cause more harm than good. But when hormones beat us sometimes it is an option we need to look at. At the end of the day, it is up to you and your child to work out which is the best option but I am an advocate for good mental health and if acne is creating a poor mental health environment then sometimes medication is necessary.
Antibiotics kills the bacteria that can create havoc on the skin – no bacteria no breakouts. The catch is that that bacteria is essential for natural skin function and without it, our acid mantle can be weakened. The other thing to consider is the minute you stop taking it, starts all over again sometimes worse.
I do currently have my son on doxycycline as he acne is grade4 – going to 5. We are treating in-salon at home and now internally with zinc and antibiotics. I am hoping that we can reduce the bacteria and then be able to have a healthy skin environment so it doesn’t flare up again.
But hormones and genetics can sometimes be stronger than anything we can do.
That’s where accurate comes in, A very intense drug that completely depletes the body of oil. Its a dermatologist drug only and I truly only recommend it for severe grade 5 Acne. It has a very long list of side effects including a chance of depression and anxiety. Think about it if your body is depleted of oil, our brain needs essential fatty acids to keep lubricated and functioning… It makes sense that we can develop mental health issues we deprive our brain of these oils. However, I have seen first-hand grade 5 and its not a nice experience for them. The pain from the swelling alone is horrible. It is the last resort and one that should be monitored closely should you choose this option.