There is a huge market for cosmetics to help clear the skin. It’s a billion-dollar industry, which yields moderate success.
For many years, it has been accepted that teenagers have to suffer through these years of acne and there is nothing that can be done about it. Some studies have even suggested that acne is nature’s way of warding off possible mates. However, these studies did not hold true when researchers came to realize that in some people acne lasts well into their twenties.
In the early 2000s, scientists started making the connection between acne and nutrition. Specifically, a group of Korean researchers conducted a study with participants who were placed on a diet low in glycemic load (GL). The glycemic load is the number that estimates how much a food will raise a person’s blood glucose level. The study revealed a significant improvement in participants’ skin when their diet consisted of foods with a low glycemic index.
Think about it. Does your teen enjoy foods like pizza, candy, French fries, sweetened beverages, and macaroni and cheese? All of these foods have a high glycemic load. What happens in the body when a person eats lots of foods with a high GL? Insulin increases and produces androgen. High androgen levels lead to higher sebum production, hence the oily skin and clogged pores.
What can you do to help your teen?
Educate your teen about the connection between nutrition and acne, and have foods with a low glycemic load readily available. These include all types of beans and legumes (like lentils), fresh fruit and vegetables, cashews, peanuts, and even foods like oatmeal and sweet potatoes are acceptable.
In addition to a healthy diet, your teen can also try some of the following natural remedies to heal the skin and keep it clean and clear.
Apple cider vinegar is known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties. Mix three teaspoons into half a cup of water, then use a cotton pad to wipe the face clean. Once the skin has adjusted to apple cider vinegar, increase the amount of vinegar or decrease the amount of water.
Coconut oil is also known for its antibacterial and antifungal powers. Purchase organic expeller-pressed coconut oil and have your teen massage it into the skin before bedtime. The skin repairs itself at night and your teen will wake up with smoother, better skin.
Egg whites, for your more adventurous teen, can be used as a mask. Simply separate the white from the yolk and apply with fingers to the face. After a few minutes it will tighten like a clay mask. Egg whites remove impurities and reduce the sebum on the skin. They can be left on the face for 10 minutes to an hour, then wash off gently with warm water.
Aloe is an amazing gel to reduce inflammation and redness. If you have an aloe plant at home, you can use the juice from the leaves and put it directly on the face.
Calendula has been known for a long time for its anti-inflammatory properties. You can make your own tinctures from the flowers of pot marigold or purchase calendula tea. A soaked tea bag can be applied directly to the skin and used like a cotton pad. Calendula can also be found in skincare products.
A little piece of good news! Chocolate — and especially dark chocolate — has not been linked to acne. Your teen (and you) can indulge in the occasional piece of chocolate as you battle your way through the tough teen years.
—The Alternative Daily