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Coping with Adolescent Acne by Tamara Renecle, June 2018

Adolescent Acne
There is something all too familiar when you hear the terms; acne, breakouts, pimples and spots and we all know the feelings that come along with those words. Why? because at some stage in our lives we’ve all had that darn spot pop up on our faces that ruined our day, to say the least. The problem begins when those spots become more numerous and more frequent than we’d like! This most often occurs at the delicate stages of adolescence, when those feelings of irritation and disappear are heightened by the surge of hormones that are flooding our blossoming bodies!

The impact this has on ones self image is far more invasive than just the affect it has on ones appearance. The feelings of helplessness and anger often mutate into depression and anxiety as our young teenagers learn to juggle their emotions on top of all that comes with growing up in a society filled with likes, comments and shares!

So what are we to do to help alleviate these problems?

Beyond the support we give our children there are many ways to lessen the stress and help focus the attention to the more important aspects of growing up. When beginning to tackle this issue with our youngsters we need to look at the below 4 factors that aggravate this sensitive skin condition. Here are also some ways we can look at each of these factors to help you figure out your strategy and to also help you understand what on earth is going on with your childs skin at this difficult time in their lives!

The 4 aggravating factors of acne:

– Increased oil production
– Increased Keratinization (dead skin cells on the surface of the skin)
– P-Acne microbes (bacteria)
– Inflammation

1. Increased oil production is exactly what is says, but how do we lessen this without stripping our skin of the natural oils that are in fact there to protect our largest organ from outside factors such as bacteria, dehydration and sun damage. We’ve all seen our husbands, brothers or even acne-prone teenagers, whip out the soap bar and declare this “The only thing that makes me feel clean!” but in fact this is probably the worst thing you could be doing for your skin and it all has to do with the alkalinity in that soap bar. Your skin is naturally acidic, why? because that acidity forms the barrier that protects your skin. Now, if you remove that acidity with an alkaline soup, you’re pretty much stripping that skin of all its natural protective oils….. “but my skin feels clean?” Right, but you’ve now exposed your delicate organ to all those external factors that end up dehydrating your skin, such as aircons or dry climates and exposing it to the many microbes in the air that aren’t always there to help. The best part about our skin is that it is self healing, so once you have “stripped” your skin it begins to heal right away and normalise the pH to where it needs to be but this obviously takes a little time. This is why oily-skinned people feel oily again my midday! So really, what have you achieved in the time you cleansed your skin up until Midday? Absolutely nothing, in fact you’ve dehydrated your skin and exposed it to more bacteria… hmmmm, doesn’t sound great, hey?

The key is to find balance in your skin care regime. We need to reduce oil without stripping your skin. Im sure you’ve all heard your therapist say use a toner! This may be true for some brands but not always necessary. This is where product knowledge is imperative and your therapists really should know their products and what sets them apart from others. The best way to put it is: You need a product that cleans out pores but maintains the pH of your skin!

2. Increased keratinisation on the surface of acne-prone skin occurs when the normal desquamation, or flaking off of dead skin cells, becomes slowed and the amount of build up of these cells, mixed with the increased oil on the surface of your skin ends up clogging up your pores and leads to way too much food source for those terrible P-acne bacterias, which leads me to what is the best method of removal. In my opinion a monthly or bi-monthly peel, depending on the severity of the acne is your best option. exfoliating with a peel that is best suited for acne is your skins best friend. Peels such as Salycilic acid, which is very anti-inflammatory and therefore very safe, (unless you have an allergy to aspirin based products, which is where dermaplaning or a mechanical exfoliation is best used). This peel stands out further than others because not only does it help exfoliate the dead skin cells but it is a oil-soluble substance and therefore has the ability to decongest the clogged pores and because of its anti-inflammatory effects it helps reduce the redness caused from inflammation in the skin when acne is at its worst.

3. Bacterial growth is something we love to hate but in fact our body is made up of a 10:1 ratio of bacteria/microbes to body cells! To keep our body healthy we need to maintain this ratio. That is why taking too many antibiotics unnceccarily can lead to an imbalance and can destroy our gut health which leads to increased inflammation everywhere in your body! So dealing with bacterial growth on the skin in my opinion is basically to reduce its food source and to supplement our diets with pre and probiotics which benefit our entire system and promotes more “good” flora growth rather than the “bad”. There are natural antibiotics that can be taken that does not upset the bodies natural flora balance, such as Wild Origano and can be taken in conjunction with pre and probiotics as well. Tip: remember to change your probiotics every few months to get the benefit of different strains!

4 Inflammation is the last aggravating factor that plays a huge role in causing irritation and redness on the skin when there are acne lesions visible. The reason there is that redness is because your body is responding to the increase of “bad” bacterial growth and this brings in the white blood cells (puss) and that heat and redness associated with inflammation. Now, the natural thing for most of us to do is to squeeze that lesion until all its contents are out, this normally happens without regard to the further injury you are causing in your skin… and what have we learnt about what your bodies response to injury is…yup more INFLAMMATION! this is also where scarring comes in but we will leave that for another time! There are many medications out there that focus on inflammation and we are all pretty well versed in using them I am sure, but what happens if there were natural products that have far more benefits to the body than just getting rid of inflammation! Well there are:

• Optimised Curcumin supplements such as Meriva, a potent natural anti-inflammatory, have numerous health benefits including supporting the immune system, heart health, brain health, gut health and more.
• MSM is a potent anti-inflammatory supplement with additional benefits such as supporting detoxification, improving skin health, assisting with collagen production, strengthening hair and nails, increasing energy levels and more. MY FAVORITE!
• Vitamin D3 helps to regulate the immune system and is essential in managing inflammation.
• Herbs such as Cat’s Claw, Devil’s Claw, Boswellia, to name a few, may be useful in fighting chronic inflammation.

To summerise all this info I have given you, below are some tips to what you should look at when dealing with your adolescent’s skin:

• How many lesions do you see? if there is only 1 or 2 lesions on the skin, it is not necessary to take huge steps. with a simple and correct cleansing and moisturising routine and spot treatment for those random breakouts you’re good to go.
• Are there blackheads and whiteheads visible under the skin but without inflammation? Then good exfoliation such as a monthly peels or an enzymatic exfoliators from a good brand is sufficient (bromelain, pineapple extract and Papain, papaya extract are always a great combo to look for in an enzymatic exfoliator, as well as a zinc supplement to balance the oil production).
• Many lesions on the skin with inflammation and tenderness is something to definitely head to your trusted dermatologist or skincare therapist for. The first treatments should always be to soothe that irritation and reduce the redness, once that is controlled, extractions done by a professional therapist as well as peels is the perfect combination to alleviate those contributing factors having a party on your face! Remember to look into natural probiotics as well as natural anti-inflammatories that will boost your skins response and healing rate.

There is always so much information given to us when talking about our skin, but its difficult to always understand what people are saying as the skin is a complex organ influenced by so many different factors. Thats why it is always important to have a proper skin analysis with your therapists or doctors before heading off to buy products or preparing your own home-remedies! Remember to chat to us anytime for help or if you have any unanswered questions about yours or your youngsters skin!

Yours in good skin health and happiness,

Tamarah Renecle
Skingen mobile skin expert