Teenage Acne

teenage-acne-healthyAcne occurs in many teenagers as the hormones start to kick into action. In particular the androgens or sex hormones, like testosterone which is present in both men and women, kicks into action in the teenage years and creates a more oily skin. The body is growing fast and the oil and cells plug up skin pores which then create a place for the bacteria on the skin to start a local infection or pimple. This can be on the face, chest and upper back in particular.

The medical treatments are topical pharmacy rinses and creams to help unblock the pores or low dose antibiotic courses and drugs like Roaccutane or Isotane which is a Vitamin A derivative that basically dries the skin out and causes everything to peel off including the lips getting dry. The liver can find this Vitamin A synthetic medication quite tricky to process and detox so specialists keep an eye on liver function. There are also gut health and possible mood changes when you go for the medication oral pharmaceutical options.

So what are the natural options?

Zinc is an important mineral for teenagers. Athletes and those exercising use more zinc. Zinc is used in over 300 places in the body enzyme systems and especially in the manufacture of hormones. Zinc as a mineral helps keep the androgens healthy and helps prevent scarring and supports tissue healing so it is a very good mineral to look at supplementing if a teenager has acne. Dose around 15-20mg are safe with a meal. Food sources of zinc include oysters, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin skin as in roast pumpkin along with traces in other nuts and seeds.

Although the skin is oily it does help sometimes to use cod liver oil which is very rich in Vitamin A and a fish oil or omega oil rich supplement. Omega oils are particularly anti-inflammatory and so help prevent the inflammation that leads to acne infections.

Evening Primrose Oil is sometimes helpful as are some herbs for the immune system from a herbal dispensary or herbally trained naturopath or practitioner.

Natural soft face washes with some tea tree and light abrasion to rub off the black heads blocking the pores can help keep the skin clearer. The tea tree has a natural anti-septic effect on the bacteria. Diluted tea tree washes are best.

Altering the diet where possible to one with less sugar, less alcohol, soft drinks and white flour processed fast foods going into the system. Eating more healthy fats – coconut, fish, avocado, olive oil instead of oily fast foods with rancid fats or margarines will also help. This depends a lot on the teenager being motivated to improve their skin.

Probiotics help the gut health especially if the teenager has had courses of antibiotics.

Vitamin A is also rich in not only cod liver, but orange vegetables like carrot and pumpkin squash. When there is enough healthy zinc and gut bacteria the body will convert betacarotene from these foods into Vitamin A which is a wonderful nutrient for healing the skin and preventing not only acne, but other skin cell changes and sun radiation damage as well.

It's never an easy time with teenage and skin problems. If you are struggling best to come along to the clinic and see what options there are to help the teenage skin naturally.