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Acne is a Big Problem Teenagers Face – Here’s How You Can Help

What to do when your teenager is struggling with Acne

Doesn’t it seem like today’s teens have a harder time coping with life than they did years ago? Suicide and substance abuse rates appear to be at an all-time high. As a parent, it’s hard to see your child hurt from all the mean and cruel behavior that goes on. Besides that, adults sometimes even dismiss teenage problems as insignificant. But something as seemingly simple as pimples can actually cause a cascade of problems for a teen, and if it’s full blown acne — problems can really escalate.

What can a parent do to help?

This situation hit close to home when one of my daughters was in her early teens and really bothered by persistent pimples. Not wanting to dismiss her feelings, I scheduled an appointment with the doctor to see if there was something physical causing the problem. In retrospect, this was a bad idea! He didn’t offer any suggestions or show any real empathy. I at least expected him to say what doctors used to say about acne – don’t eat fatty foods like pizza and chocolate, but he offered no help. It seemed like he was dismissing my daughter’s problem as insignificant.

The conversation went from bad to worse and I was shocked and in tears at the way he treated my daughter who was already feeling down to begin with.  Later, I ended up calling the clinic director to complain and fire him as our doctor. After that, we ordered some Proactive from an infomercial and her skin got better for a while, but it was only a short term fix. We tried the drug store products too. Things like facial scrubs and anti-oil creams, etc. I cringe now when I think about it, but like so many parents, I just wanted to help.

Fortunately for my daughter, her skin did eventually clear up, but I’ve often thought about what I would have done if I hadn’t because I didn’t know then what I know now. Here’s what I’ve learned and hopefully it can help your teen if he or she is struggling with the same situation.

Bad gut often leads to bad skin

If you read our post Natural Ways to Treat Eczema  you’ll learn that food allergies are the main cause of eczema. When you eat things your body is allergic to, you experience inflammation and it can cause skin flare ups. Remove the inflammation and the skin gets better. While there are certainly some exceptions, removing the allergens and healing the gut can truly heal the skin. More research is showing the relationship between the gut and acne, too.

There is a great deal of research that supports the fact that eating a Western Diet  causes all kinds of health related issues from depression to skin problems. Eliminating big offenders like gluten, dairy and processed foods, can make a huge difference. This research shows that high-glycemic, inflammatory foods influence hormonal imbalances and acne.

The body works in symbiosis. If one organ isn’t working properly, the rest of the body will have to adapt and adjust and eventually things can all fall apart — in this case — your skin. My daughter no doubt had an unhealthy gut from the antibiotics she was often prescribed for her ear infections. It all makes sense! Dr. Mercola defines it this way:

Furthermore, your gut microflora may also influence your skin more directly, as signals from these gut microorganisms are sent throughout your body and interact with organisms in your skin and gut mucosa.

This is why probiotics are currently being developed to support the skin.

Emotions can alter the microflora in your gut

Did you know that research done 70 years ago by two dermatologists validates the fact that psychological stress has an impact on small intestinal bacterial over growth (SIBO)? It also affects your mood. What a vicious cycle this is for teens! Antibiotics have wreaked havoc on the gut and the skin. Think of the millions of kids given antibiotics for so many things as they grew up. Their gut is not healthy, they eat lousy, their skin is bad and they can’t control their emotions. (And I didn’t even mention GMOs which are also highly allergenic and toxic to the body.)

Is it any wonder teens have trouble coping? They literally can’t help how they feel! Whose emotions are more turbulent than teenagers? They live with constant peer pressure and stress, so managing the emotions is a critical piece in controlling the acne. The gut and the emotions all go together. Remember, your gut is your second brain. Simply put – the brain and the gut are made out of the same tissue – if the gut is unhealthy your thought processes and moods will be too.

  • If you want to know more about healing the gut, read Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campell McBride. This is commonly referred to as GAPS and many people have found amazing health results for themselves or their children by following the GAPS diet.


6 Tips for eliminating acne

Wondering what else you can do to help your teen?

  1. Get a food sensitivity test done – find out what foods to eliminate that are aggravating the skin.
  2. Eat a nutrient dense diet with lots of fruits, veggies and healthy fats.
  3. Take a good multi-vitamin and probiotics.
  4. Use skin care products and make-up that are free of toxins.
  5. Find ways to minimize the stress.
  6. Exercise – it’s good for the body and the mind!

More than anything let your child know you genuinely care about his or her problems – our kids know when we’re just giving them lip service!  Spend some quality time with them. Acne may just be one problem they face, but it’s a big one!

Do you have a child struggling with acne? Tell us how you help them cope with it in the comments below!

Resources and References:

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/there-exists-convincing-data-supporting-role-dairy-products-and-high-glycemic http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/21/simple-acne-treatment-works-by-helping-your-gut-brain-connection.aspx

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/bleaching-your-face-really-proactive-acne-solution http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/there-exists-convincing-data-supporting-role-dairy-products-and-high-glycemic http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/11-herbs-used-traditional-acne-remedies http://www.gutpathogens.com/content/3/1/1 Nutrients for Healthy Skin: Inside and Out

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