How to Help Teen Skin from a teen and dietitian is written by Christine Cooke, high school class of 2021 with Ashley Koff RD
Everyone struggles with skin care, yet somehow in our teenage years, skin care becomes a lot more present.
As a teenager, when my face has acne, I feel like all anyone pays attention to is my one zit.
Bad skin makes me feel really self conscious and not confident.
People will tell you to just wash your face or use more medication to make the acne go away, but that can be harmful to you or just simply not work. Your skin could be breaking out for a number of reasons.
But a big reason that I never considered was what I eat. Nutrition and how you digest is a key factor in skin care.
Want some really great news?
If you make a few small adjustments to your nutrition, you definitely will be able to see changes in your skin. Here’s a little info about how and why skin breaks out, and how you can help your skin:
Why does our skin seem to breakout so badly during our teenage years?
I always liked to blame it on my hormones. I made myself believe that my skin broke out because I was just maturing and there was nothing I could do about it. While it is true that hormones are changing at a very fast rate, they aren’t the reason our skin is breaking out.
Our digestion is the real issue. You may be thinking, “but I cannot control my digestion, it happens on its own,” and while this is kind of true, there are ways to help you digest better.
Our skin will not be clear if our digestion is poor, so our better skin first step is to assess our digestion and see if we need to tune it up.
Our digestion is impacted by many factors including, stress, hormones, sleep, diet, medications, etc. A few of these factors we can actually control to make our digestion better.
The things we eat (or avoid eating) impact our digestion, which in turn impacts what unwanted visitors show up on our faces and bodies.
Let’s pause for a moment.
This all may sound like you have to change everything about what you eat, and this may kind of go against a lot of what you have thought previously (like it did for me) BUT trust me. This all is a lot easier than it may sound, and you will feel, and look, so much better.
Now, let’s talk about stress.
We all experience stress, just like acne. Our teenage years are filled with piles of school work and lots of extracurricular activities which seem to run our lives (or at least mine). What you may not have considered is how all that stress is impacting your skin.
Did you know?
Stress takes your body’s attention away from your digestion which makes it difficult for nutrients to be broken down. That makes your body have to battle a pretty vicious cycle because another cause of stress for me, is when my skin is broken out.
Skin broken out = stress and stress = skin broken out.
Stress also hurts our sleep. When we are stressed, our bodies are usually pretty tense and falling asleep seems like the hardest task. For me, it feels like the moment I want to fall asleep, everything I have to do for the next week suddenly becomes extremely important to THAT MOMENT. To improve sleep, stress needs to be turned off. To learn how sleep and stress are affecting your skin in, check out our other blog post.
Lucky for you and me…
There is this great thing called magnesium that helps turn off stress. Magnesium is needed in the cells for proper recovery from stress, and that is needed for healthy skin. Our body uses magnesium to relax muscles, including our digestive muscles, and who doesn’t need more help relaxing?!
If you’re looking to up your magnesium intake, magnesium treats aren’t hard to come by and we have a couple good ideas for you: cashews, oats, dark chocolate, almonds, pumpkin seeds.
“Okay, so to improve my skin I need to turn off some stress and improve my digestion, but what does that have to do with nutrition?”
Well.. As I had previously not considered, digestion IS nutrition. Everything you eat has to be digested to fuel your body, but if you’re putting the wrong fuel in your body, things are going to go wrong. Here is a quick cheat sheet of 10 things to eat and 10 to avoid for better skin.
“Better skin foods include those rich in omegas and antioxidants from deep colors like sweet potato, berries, turmeric, and spinach.”
So.. have you learned at least a little on how eating can (and will) improve your skin? I certainly hope so! Fixing digestion is going to be a key for you!
And for that you need a professional. You and your parents can connect with practitioners who use tools from The Better Nutrition Program to assess your digestion, magnesium, and the rest of your diet to help you identify your better skin nutrition choices. Meet them here!