Acne. From the occasional zit to a bad outbreak, most of us have experienced pimples at some point in our lives. Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that often starts in puberty and effects up to 85% of adolescents throughout their teenage years. With the (frankly unrealistic) pressure on teens to look a certain way it can be very embarrassing for them. It can also, somewhat unfairly (grown-ups have enough going on don't you think?), be experienced in adulthood and is commonly associated with health disorders such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The good news is that there is plenty you can do to help make your skin smooth and blemish free again.
Tips to treat acne:
Don’t pick! Picking can spread the bacteria, infect the pimple, and leave scars. I know it’s tempting but don’t touch it. Seriously, leave it alone.
Lavender or tea tree essential oils. These oils (if 100% essential oil) have anti-bacterial properties. To use, put a drop of oil on the end of a cotton bud and dab it thoroughly on the pimple, then discard the cotton bud. Again, don’t touch it with your fingers.
Change your pillow-case frequently. If your acne is bad change it every day.
Reduce or eliminate refined carbohydrates (white bread, chips, biscuits etc), sugar, soft drink and dairy (AKA the Standard Teenage Diet).
Include high fibre foods like vegetables, antioxidant rich foods like berries and citrus, healthy fats like nuts, avocado and olive oil, and foods that contain zinc like pumpkin seeds, lentils and meat. Oysters are also high in zinc, but your average teenager may not be fussed on them…
Drink enough water. It won’t directly impact the skin, but it will support other elimination pathways (ie. kidneys and bowels) so that toxins don’t feel the need to exit via the skin.
Reduce and/or manage stress levels. Stress raises cortisol which, via a number of complicated pathways and biochemistry stuff, can cause the oil on skin to become thicker. Breathe deeply, meditate and get enough sleep.
These tips should work for the average pimple outbreak. If you are not seeing an improvement, or if they keep coming back, then you may need a little more help and that’s where a good Nutritionist (such as myself, see what I did there?) comes in. Poor gut function, out of whack hormones, and food allergies or intolerance's can play a part in acne and Nutritionists can investigate further what might be going on and treat accordingly. So if acne is an issue for you or your teenager come and see me, I would love to help have smooth healthy skin again!