Teenagers and Skin Care: A Natural Encounter

Natural skincare for your teen-aged clientele.

Written By:
Ash Sukumar
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The teen years are the most challenging for many, particularly those who wake up to numerous skin problems including acne, sensitivities, oiliness and dryness. While many mainstream products are available, unfortunately for many, they still leave these skincare issues as an endless saga. While commercial products may cause irritation, itching, peeling or redness of skin, some natural solutions may be more effective and gentler on your teenaged customers’ skin.

Acne Aches
About 60 million Americans face acne problems, of which 85% are aged 12–14. Acne can be caused by excess oil production, poor exfoliation, genetics, diet, stress, hormones or even harsh, mainstream face products. Probably the most dreaded and common skin problem for teenagers, acne, occurs when the pores of the skin (hair follicles) become clogged with sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells. Sebum is an oily substance that lubricates the skin and hair, and is discharged on the skin’s surface. But during puberty, there is an increased production of sebum as a result of elevated levels of androgen hormones stimulating the sebaceous gland, thereby causing clogged pores (1). Apart from acne, other skincare issues that are common to teenagers include oily skin, sensitive skin and eczema (i.e., patches of dry, scaly, reddened skin), among others (2). While a healthy diet always helps control teenage skin issues, external care is equally important.

Natural Therapy for Problem-free Skin
Skincare experts believe that cleansing is the most important step in kick-starting the acne treatment process. Natural exfoliating cleansers with antibacterial ingredients such as the totarol extract from the totara tree in New Zealand can be highly effective. Salicylic acid, which is present in pumpkin seeds and cranberry extract, is also known to exhibit strong antibacterial properties and can greatly help protect compromised skin. Horopito, an ancient herb used in Australia, is said to have powerful antioxidant properties and is also known to neutralize the P bacteria which is linked to acne problems. Cleansers with essential oils such as lemongrass and grapefruit can be beneficial for oily skin by helping control overactive oil secretion. Cranberry extract is also known for its powerful astringent and antioxidant properties.

Your customers should also know that they can widely benefit from serums containing healing ingredients such as natural retinol, tea tree oil and other natural compounds, as they help control blackheads and cystic acne and reduce pore size. Using a balancing toner with anti-inflammatory ingredients like witch hazel and turmeric can also help. Serums rich in vitamin C can help in healing and reducing inflammation of the skin, thereby reducing scar tissues. Super-concentrated fruit facial peels such as pumpkin, cranberry, apple, blueberry and pineapple purees have the ability to loosen and dissolve dead skin, stimulating collagen production and nourishing the skin. Natural mud-masks with the hydrating properties of rosemary essential oil and totarol can detoxify the skin and nourish it with healing minerals.

Since teenage skin can be very sensitive, it is important to recommend products that consist of non-toxic ingredients so as to prevent any additional skin irritation. Products that remove the skin’s natural moisture can worsen acne, as dehydrated skin pulls debris in the clogged pores deeper into the skin and makes extraction or natural discharge impossible. As synthetic chemicals and toxic ingredients in skincare can increase inflammation and damage skin tissues, natural topical agents can be more effective and safer options for teenagers (3). Since some commercial make-up products can lead to increased skin care problems, you may want to tell customers why chemical-free mineral-based make-up can be more appropriate for adolescent skin.

Mineral Make-Up
Traditional cosmetics are often petroleum-based and can contain ingredients that block the pores or irritate the skin. Naturally formulated mineral make-up is free from preservatives, talc and synthetic chemicals and contains mineral cosmetics such as titanium dioxide and mica powder. Ingredients in the mineral makeup such as pure iron oxides and zinc oxide can protect the skin from the sun and also the effects of aging, and is ideal for those with acne, eczema and sensitive skin. Mineral makeup has a naturally gentle composition, making it favorable for customers facing skin allergies or easily irritable skin (4). With the winning combination of natural skincare therapies and make-up products, show your customers nature’s route to looking radiant and healthy. WF

References
1. Healthy Child, “Teen Acne Natural, Holistic Treatment,” www.healthychild.com/first-aid/teen-acne-natural-holistic-treatment, accessed Nov. 23, 2011.
2. WebMD, “Top Teen Skin Problems—and How To Solve Them,” www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/top-teen-skin-problems-how-to-solve-them?page=3, accessed Nov. 23, 2011.
3. M.M. Eby, Return to Beautiful Skin. Your Guide to Truly Effective, Nontoxic Skin Care (Basic Health Publications, Laguna Beach , CA, 2008).
4. Hollywood Makeup Secrets, “Mineral Makeup: An Introduction to Mineral Makeup,”  www.hollywoodmakeupsecrets.com/mineral-makeup, Nov. 23, 2011.