What is teenage acne?
Acne is one of the most common skin problems that often affects teenagers and young adults, regardless of ethnicities. Surveys show 90 per cent of the population struggle with acne breakouts (commonly called acne lesions, pimples or zits), and plenty of clinical studies show acne can cause significant emotional distress resulting in depression, particularly amongst young people where acne is found to double or triple the rates of suicidal thoughts amongst teenagers. (Dalgard et al., 2015) Did you know, acne includes blackheads and whiteheads? All forms of acne are a result of clogged pores, and blackheads and whiteheads are non-inflammatory acne. The causes of acne, we are referring to those inflamed infected and angry types, are very complex, involve many interrelated contributing factors and vary amongst individuals. The several interconnected factors include hormonal fluctuations, stress levels, immune response, lifestyle, genetics, diet and even the weather. In teenage acne, the main driving factor is the surging hormones called androgens. Androgens increase in both boys and girls during puberty and these hormones stimulates the skin's oil glands which become enlarged and as a result producing excess sebum. Sebum or skin oil is an important part of healthy skin functions because it keeps the skin moisturised and protect it from environmental irritants. But when pores become clogged with excess sebum, the trapped skin oil becomes perfect breeding ground for bacteria overgrowth.
What’s happening on the surface
Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is microbe that naturally lives in the oily region of the skin's pores and can aggravate an immune response leading to inflamed, swollen bumps to develop on the skin (acne) particularly when there is skin oil build up in clogged pores. Conventional medicine has been completely focused on identifying the specific strain of P.acnes that is believed to cause acne, with millions of dollars still spent on researching how to manage bacteria that naturally lives on human skin. No wonder decades later, researchers and big pharmaceutical companies still cannot find a real lasting solution.
"The treatment options have remained the same over the past few decades, with much need for improvement. A report in The Lancet said that further research is urgently needed for effective non-antibiotic treatments for acne, given the concerns of long-term antibiotic use and bacterial resistance." (Nordqvist, Medical News Today, n.d.)
When it comes to treating acne effectively, this is where we need to shift our thinking – visible acne breakouts on the surface of the skin is the end result of the biochemistries happening deep within the body. Treating symptoms does not address the underlying causes – now you know why just using acne washes, creams, gel, scrubs, toners cheap and expensive ones don’t really, because they do not address the root causes of acne.
Looking within for lasting solution
As a former acne sufferer myself, after trying everything under the sun to stop my regular breakouts but nothing worked, then stumbling across a medical paper explaining how vitamin B5 when ingested at a higher potency can work to control acne with lasting results, a light bulb went off in my head – the true cause of acne breakouts lie within our body! My grandfather was a chemist, so he understood the science of nutrition. His grandfather was a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor, so he also understood the body’s tremendous natural self-healing powers. He taught me to look within when you are not feeling or looking well. He also taught me to use food as medicine and that our bodies have an amazing ability to rebalance, repair and regenerate. We just need to make the right choices to facilitate these naturally processes, and nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining and repairing healthy body functions, which include skin as the largest organ of the human body.
Simple 3 steps to clear up teenage acne
You have the best chance of getting your busy and active teenager(s) sticking to a routine if you keep it simple (KISS!). Here are the 3 steps that we recommend and proven to work very well for most acne sufferers.
Step 1 – Nutritional Boost (Vitamins)
Based on my personal experience and others who rely on skinB5 vitamins daily to successfully treat and prevent acne (and scarring), people who are acne prone need specific nutritional supplementation to support their body to heal, rebalance, and restore healthy skin functions. The best way to treat teenage acne is targeting the root causes - internal body imbalances, by feeding the body powerful clear skin nutrients, namely vitamins B5, B3, folic acid, biotin), vitamin A, zinc, copper, silica. These nutrients, when taken at certain amounts help to rebalance skin oil production and hormones, strengthening immunity, managing responses to stress within the body (stress upsets hormonal balance and immunity), enhance cell repair and regeneration. By targeting the main underlying causes all at the same time, we can greatly reduce and stop acne from forming. For your convenience, the Extra Strength Acne Control Vitamins contain all the key skin clearing ingredients at specific amounts to target all types of acne including blackheads, whiteheads and teenage acne, as well as associated scarring. The unique ingredients and dosages ensure that it clears acne effectively, whilst improving overall health and wellbeing. For example, vitamin B5 is well known amongst gym goers to improve energy levels, zinc is widely recognised to strength immunity and promote healing. If you prefer to try a food based approach first before stepping up to a high potency formula to combat acne, we have put together a convenient one teaspoon a day (half for younger teenagers), all-in-one Clear Skin Superfood Booster powder blend that your teenager can add into any of their favourite foods including yoghurt. smoothies, milk, cereal and even popcorn. This will help lift their intake of a wide range of high-quality nutrients to help the body overcome acne. Our 63 ingredient superfood blend contains harmonising herbs and gut health ingredients as well to improve skin health. Studies show refined sugar, high GI foods, wheat and dairy aggravate acne. So avoid these foods if you notice they trigger or worsen your teenagers’ acne flareups.
Step 2 – Cleanse gently
The skin’s natural protective barrier is more than just a physical barrier, healthy clear skin also needs a balanced amount of sebum and bacteria (skin flora). Contrary to mainstream advice, stripping the skin with harsh ingredients in an attempt to remove oil and bacteria is a losing battle. Stripping the skin throws it off balance even further and often makes things worse by driving even more skin oil to compensate for the excessive lose. The harsh ingredients commonly used in mainstream acne products are often irritating, making acne prone skin even more sensitive and dry. Skin with acne breakouts need TLC. So instead of harsh chemically based ingredients choose products that are gentle and balancing, designed to protect the skin barrier rather than attacking it. Soothing ingredients that promote healing are very helpful for acne prone skin, for example vitamin B5, aloe vera, green tea, bergamot and native to Australia kangaroo flower. You will see better long-term results through a more gentle, supportive approach, taking advantage of regenerative natural extracts. If you struggle to find a gentle, non-drying facial cleansing for your teenager, try the skin SkinB5’s Acne Control Cleansing Mousse. Boys can also use this for as a gentle shaving foam, saving money and time!
Step 3 – Hydrate skin
To protect and maintain healthy skin barrier, it is very important to rehydrate the skin after cleansing, even for oily skin!