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As teens, both female and male battle skin problem they should also wear a sunscreen when out in the sun, with a sun protection factor (or SPF) of at least 15 that's labeled "noncomedogenic" or "non-acnegenic," which means the product won't clog pores. Discourage the use of tanning beds or booths, even for special occasions such as proms or vacations. Ask your doctor whether a sunless tanning product would be a better alternative.

It's especially important for kids who use prescription acne medications (including oral contraceptives, which are often prescribed to help clear up acne) to stay out of the sun and away from tanning beds. These drugs can make skin extremely sensitive to sunlight and the rays from ultraviolet tanning booths.

Numerous scientific studies have come to the same conclusion: There's no connection between diet and acne. Although it can be tempting to use this myth to encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, blaming zits on junk food is not accurate. Even with this data, this is not an excuse to splurge on these foods, adding more pore clogging material

Hygiene isn't related to the development of acne, either. Washing the face each day gets rid of dead skin cells, excess oil, and surface dirt, but too much cleansing or washing too vigorously can lead to dryness and irritation — which can actually make acne worse.

Dermatologists usually recommend gently washing — not scrubbing or rubbing — the face no more than twice a day with a mild cleanser and patting the skin dry. Kids should steer clear of harsh exfoliates or scrubs, which can actually irritate blemishes. In addition, toners containing high concentrations of alcohol can dry out the skin and should be avoided.

Teens really should only use a water-based moisture lotion labeled 'non-comedogenic,' which means it doesn't clog pores, Heavier oil-based moisturizers can cause acne cosmetica--an [acne-like] skin condition directly attributed to the use of cosmetics.

Though popping a pimple may make it seem less noticeable temporarily, popping can cause the zit to stay around longer. Popping a pimple pushes bacteria from the zit further into the skin, making the area around the acne even more reddened and inflamed. Pimple-popping devices — such as "blackhead extractors" advertised in magazines — aren't any safer. Sometimes, popping a pimple will cause a brown or red scar to form that could last months; and scars, in the form of dents and pits, can last forever.

If your child is bummed because a huge zit arrived just in time for a special event, a cortisone injection given by a dermatologist may help to reduce redness and inflammation and speed healing. A dermatologist may also be able to recommend treatments for a teen with severe scarring.

Kids don't have to forego cosmetics as long the products used are labeled noncomedogenic or non-acnegenic, which means they won't cause breakouts. Some concealers now contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, which help to fight acne. Tinted acne-fighting creams may also help to fight pimples while hiding them.

However, if any product seems to be irritating the skin or causing breakouts, have your child stop using the product and call your dermatologist.

Cosmetics labeled "organic," "all natural," or those containing herbs have gained popularity, but they may contribute to clogged pores and acne, so it's best for kids who are prone to breakouts to steer clear of them.

Teen boys who have acne and shave can use either safety or electric razors, but should shave lightly around blemishes to avoid nicking the skin and causing irritation and infection.

When it comes to over-the-counter acne medication containing active ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, more isn't better. Using too much medication can actually worsen acne because it leads to dryness, irritation, and more blemishes.

But kids can get help for acne. A dermatologist can suggest acne treatments if your child:

  • has tried over-the-counter acne treatments with little or no success

  • has developed acne scars

  • has painful, large pimples

  • is dark-skinned and has acne that's causing dark patches to form

  • has low self-esteem or a reduced enjoyment of life because of acne

As teens' bodies are growing and changing, so are their complexions. Blemishes, blackheads, pimples, rashes, and acne are common problems that many teens would rather not discuss. However, it is important to understand these breakouts and their causes. By knowing how to care for your teenager's troubled skin, you can alleviate much of the anxiety it creates.

The exact cause of skin problems such as acne is not known, but hormones appear to be a major factor. During the teenage years, the levels of androgen, or male sex hormones, markedly elevate in both boys and girls. This results in an increase in both the size of the oil glands and the quantity of oil produced. Washing the face at least twice a day (three times if the skin is extremely oily) with a gentle cleanser will help keep the complexion clean and clear.

Excitement and stress are other causes of breakouts. When a big event, such as a test or date, we awake to find our skin has erupted during the night. Hormones are again the culprit. When we are under stress, our bodies secrete extra adrenal hormones, which promote the production of sebum, the skin's own natural moisturizer. This excess oil blocks the pores and can lead to breakouts. Learning to relax and understand troubled emotions may be the best defense. Encourage teens to express their feelings with a family member or friend to keep both their heads and skin clear. Relaxation exercises, such as yoga, walking, or meditation, can also be beneficial.

In addition to hormones and stress, another cause of teenage acne is heredity. This is not to say that just because you had complexion problems your teenager faces the same fate. But understanding your family history is useful in dealing with skin troubles, and may provide important background information to assist your physician when discussing your teenager's skin care.

Blemishes fall into two categories: comedown’s, or blackheads; and papules, or whiteheads. Both types of breakouts occur in the hair follicles. They develop when pores become clogged with sebum (oil) and other surface impurities, such as dead skin cells and bits of protein. Blackheads are not caused by dirt on the skin, but rather by excess oil left on the skin. If not removed within eight hours, this oil hardens into a plug. When the hardened oil is exposed to air, it is oxidized, giving it a black color. If bacteria come into contact with this plugged pore, it can cause an inflammation, or a whitehead (the classic pimple).

Never squeeze a blemish. Squeezing a pimple can cause infection, damage the skin, and push bacteria deeper, making the inflammation last longer. Even worse, it could lead to permanent scarring. Keeping the skin clean and loosening clogged pores is the best preventative. A weekly gentle facial scrub and deep cleansing mask can accomplish this.

To determine other ways to prevent or treat skin problems, examine where your teenager's skin is breaking out. Everyone gets breakouts in different places, not always on the face. Breakouts around the hairline can be caused by excessive amounts of hair styling gel or mousse. The hair should always be kept very clean, since the scalp can also produce excess oil. Pull hair back away from the face will also help.

Acne on the back or chest is common among young boys. Make sure they shower after exercising and wear natural fabrics that breathe, especially during hot weather.

If the chin or sides of the face always seem to be broken out, your teen may be touching the skin without realizing it, by resting the face in the hands during the day or while sleeping.

When their complexions are less than perfect, many teens panic and try harsh treatments that can actually make the condition worse. Instead, they should give their skin some tender loving care and relax. The following recipes and treatments will help clean, tone, and clear up troubled skin. (For severe cases of acne, see a doctor or skin care specialist.)

A few suggested organic treatments:

Honey Blemish treatment

Honey is great for drawing out impurities. It also contains a large amount of potassium, giving it antibacterial properties. For serious cases, try a complete facial mask of pure honey, rather than just a spot treatment.

Soak a cotton ball in warm salt water; press on the blemish for three minutes to help dissolve the top.

Dab a bit of honey on the affected area to deep-clean the pore and draw out any bacteria. Let sit for ten to 15 minutes.

Clean the face with normal cleanser; then rinse the skin well with warm water, then cool water.

Pat the skin dry.

Almond Meal Mask This mask makes a good blackhead treatment. Almond meal is easy to make at home: Simply grind whole almonds in your coffee grinder or blender until they reach the consistency of cornmeal. You may also substitute ground oatmeal.

Ingredients: 2 tbs. almond meal 1-2 tbs. distilled water


Mix the almond meal or oatmeal and water into a smooth paste, adding more water if necessary. Spread the mixture over the face and lightly massage the skin. Let the mask sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse well with warm water, followed by cool water. Pat the skin dry.

Yield: 2 ounces

Fresh Strawberry Mask Strawberries are rich in salicylic acid, a key ingredient in many commercial blemish control products that rids the skin of dead cells and deep-cleans the pores. In addition to helping heal blemishes, strawberries also have a mild bleaching effect on the skin.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup fresh strawberries 1 tbs. milk 1 tbs. cornstarch


Mix the ingredients together to make a smooth paste. Spread over the face and neck and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse first with warm water, then cool water. Follow with a mild astringent such as witch hazel, and apply a light moisturizer. Refrigerate any leftover mask and discard after one week.

Yield: 4 ounces

Non-soap Cleanser This is a good all-purpose cleanser for use over the entire body. It helps loosen any surface impurities from the pores while cleaning the skin.

Ingredients: 2 tbs. oatmeal 1 tbs. honey 1 egg white


Stir the ingredients together and pour the mixture into a clean container. Pour a small amount into your hand and massage the skin for a few minutes. Rinse well with warm (not hot) water and pat the skin dry. Refrigerate any leftover cleanser and discard after a week.

Yield: 2 ounces

Clear Skin Cleanser Keep a small jar of this mixture next to the bathroom sink. It helps to dislodge embedded dirt and oil that can turn into blemishes. Keeping the skin clean and flee of excess oil is important in preventing breakouts.

Ingredients: 1/4 cup grated mild soap (I use Castile soap) 1/4 cup cornmeal 1/4 cup oatmeal


Mix the ingredients together and pour into a clean container with a tight-fitting lid. Scoop out a small amount and mix together with water to form a smooth paste. Massage the cleanser into the face and neck; then rinse well with warm water, followed by cool water. Pat the skin dry and follow with a toner.

Vinegar Toner This is a wonderful final rinse for troubled skin. After cleansing the skin and rinsing well with warm water, then cool water, use this product to restore the skin's natural acid level. It will also help the skin function more effectively and fight off harmful bacteria. (Never use straight vinegar on the skin or hair--it should always be diluted with water.)

Ingredients: 1 tbs. apple cider vinegar 1 cup distilled water


Mix vinegar and water together.

Pour into a clean container with a tight-fitting lid or spray attachment. Splash or spritz on the face after cleansing. Do not rinse off; let the skin air dry (the vinegar smell will quickly fade).

Yield: 8 ounces

Fresh Parsley Splasher Fresh parsley is perfect for soothing teenage skin. It has skin-softening properties that help to clean and calm the complexion. Wet a cotton wash cloth with this mixture and use it as a cold compress for 15 to 20 minutes.

Ingredients: 1 large handful fresh parsley, about 1 cup 2 cups boiling water


Place the parsley in a glass or ceramic bowl. Pour the boiling water over it and allow the mixture to cool completely. Strain out all solids and pour the fresh, green liquid into a clean container with a tight-fitting lid. Splash on the face after cleansing or apply to the skin with clean cotton pads. Keep in the refrigerator and discard after a few weeks.

Yield: 12 ounces

Natural Pimple Cream Use this cream at night as a spot treatment on blemishes. Like honey, it will draw out any impurities and clear up the skin. Lanolin and glycerin can be found in the skin care section of any drugstore.

Ingredients: 1 tsp. castor oil 1 tsp. glycerin 1 tsp. lanolin


Melt the ingredients together in a glass bowl placed in a microwave or over a double boiler. Cool completely and store in a clean glass jar. Apply a small amount to blemishes at night before bed.

Yield: 1/2 ounce

Simple Skin Saving Tips

Use these pointers to keep the complexion glowing with natural health:

Fight acne from the inside out by more...... click here

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