Banish the blemish and conquer the comedones!!
Many teenagers suffer with bad skin. Most cases disappear on their own in time but for some this can become a far reaching problem. They can become infected, painful and effect confidence and self esteem.
For many this problem goes away on it's own in time but for some the problem can be exacerbated by imbalanced hormones and chronic conditions such as PCOS, acne, inflammation and intestinal issues.
Nutrition plays a huge part in the management of skin for everyone but especially for the younger generation with all those hormones kicking around!!
Why do we get spots?? (in a nutshell)
We have a gland, called the sebaceous gland, located near the hair follicles on our skin. This gland secretes an oily substance known as sebum. Sebum is a necessary oil as it prevents our skin and hair drying out. Spots occur when the pores and hair follicles become blocked and inflamed by excess sebum.
A blackhead or open comedo is an 'open' spot that collects skin and oily debris that oxidises giving it it's blackish appearance. A closed comedo is when the opening is blocked and it can typically become sore, red and inflamed - this is more commonly known as a white head. It is when these comedones get infected that people can experience infection and scarring. Hormonal imbalances can increase the production of sebum increasing their rate of recurrance. Increasing research on the gut-brain-skin relationship suggests gut imbalances may also play a role.
Make the right food choices
It is no surprise to anyone that many teenagers live on a diet of simple carbs, sugar and processed foods. No one is expecting them to not have a little of what they fancy but gradually increasing intake of fresh organic fruits and vegetables, oily fish, seeds and nuts can REALLY make a difference.
WATER is also often forgotten and should replace the oft chosen fizzy, sugary drinks, milkshakes and energy drinks - did you know that monster energy drink contains 55g of sugar which is nearly double the recommended daily dose, of no more than 30g, for a child over 11. These teenage choices are largely based on the addictive dopamine-releasing reward incentive but this amount of sugar merely reinforces any inflammation going on in the body, including the skin!! and guess what????? sugar is also the biggest endocrine disruptor there is - this is the system of our body that controls and regulates.....yep you guessed it.....HORMONES!!!!
The microbiome is the biggest area of research at the moment and a gut imbalance or dysbiosis has been linked to a whole host of problems including skin. We need to feed the beneficial bacteria with whole foods. These bacteria live on fibre which cannot be found in 'fake ' foods. Continuing on a diet of sugar and processed foods with encourage the growth of pathogenic bacteria essentially 'crowding out' the good guys!!!!
Essential nutrients for healthy skin and where to find them
Zinc – an essential mineral required for
Found in grass fed beef, seeds, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, turkey, cashews, king prawns, tofu, salmon and oats.
Do not supplement zinc without having your baseline checked and taking the advice of an accredited practitioner.
Vitamin A is used in the treatment of most skin conditions but especially acne. It is another one that should be carefully considered, with the advice of a professional, if you decide to supplement.
It can be found in orange, yellow and green foods like sweet potato, carrots, butternut squash, mango, melon, spinach, lettuce, peppers, broccoli and grapefruit but can also be found in butter and tuna. Vitamin A is more commonly to be found in the foods containing its precursor – beta carotene (orangey stuffs) so if in doubt, get the yellow and orange stuff out!!!
Vitamin D is one of the biggest drivers of immunity and anti-inflammatory pathways. Have you ever noticed how your skin is better in the summer – this is one of the reasons why. Vitamin D is found mostly in sunshine and is converted to active vitamin D inside our amazing bodies. Small amounts can be found in oily fish, eggs, and dairy but spending time outdoors is essential for good skin
The government recommend supplementing this vitamin from October to March - it really is essential to keep it topped up - see a therapist for advice on how much.
Finally, a great skin care regime is essential for everyone.
Morning and evening clean your face with a soft cotton cloth using natural skincare products. Some choose to cleanse, tone and moisturise but hot water (to open the pores) followed by cold water to close the pores is better than nothing. Comedones do tend to be worse when the skin isn't cared for and the excess sebum and skin is left to build up, block and get infected.