Acne Info for Parents and Teens
Most people will admit that they are self-conscious about their skin or were at some point in their life. I myself spent my pre-teen and teen years struggling with acne and feeling self-conscious. Whether or not other people would have classified me as having acne, I felt bad about how I looked and that affects all aspects of your life.
My pre-teen and early teen years were just the beginning of my acne. I wasn't worried about little blemishes that some of my friends would complain about. I suffered from the large, inflamed bumps that took more than a couple days to heal. Once the bump was gone, I still had a mark on my skin where the bump had been for weeks and sometimes even longer. Talk about aggravating and embarrassing.
At that time, everyone thought that acne was caused by eating fatty or sugary foods. However, my family ate very healthy and I still had acne, so that didn't make sense. I tried all kinds of creams and anti-acne spot treatments. They helped somewhat but did not prevent the break-outs and didn't help with the dark spots after the blemish was gone. I stopped using lotion because it seemed like the lotion was making my face break out. I was using all kinds of astringents to take the oil away, and I still had acne. After trying everything that we knew to try, my parents agreed to take me to the dermatologist.
Traditional Acne Cures
The dermatologist started me on the lowest grade antibiotic. I tried that one, and it was followed by another, and another, and another until I had tried all of the antibiotics. After trying all of these, the last step was to take Accutane.
Accutane is an incredibly strong dose of Vitamin A. It actually stops the production of oil so that acne cannot form. Hindsight is amazing. Now, I wish that I'd never taken Accutane. Not only did it not cure me from ever having acne again, but while taking it, I accrued a whole host of health problems that it would take me years to sort out and fix.
While taking Accutane, my acne was definitely gone. I was told that there was a 99% chance that it would not return after I stopped taking it. Well, guess what. I'm either incredibly lucky at beating the overwhelming odds or incredibly unlucky. After I stopped taking Accutane, my acne slowly returned. In fact, I struggled with acne into my adult years and it just seemed to be getting worse.
After taking Accutane, I decided that the solution to my acne was not going to be found in medications that I could get from a doctor. I knew that something was causing my acne but had no idea what. The only patterns that I noticed were that my acne increased just before my period started and when my stress levels were up. For the increased stress levels, I found that exercising regularly helped to some degree.
However, I still was suffering from acne. I was already taking birth control pills and there are claims that birth control can help acne. But, it seemed that it was making it worse for me. I tried changing types but nothing I tried really made it go away.
I'm not the only one that suffered from these frustrating attempts to rid myself of acne. I finally stumbled upon some answers that work for me and will work for everybody. They are really easy solutions and don't cost a lot of money.
Mineral Oil in Skincare
One problem is that the majority of the lotions on the market contain mineral oil (click here to read more about mineral oil). Mineral oil basically acts like saran wrap on your skin and blocks your pores. What this means for your skin is that it can't breathe as it was designed to and it can't release toxins through the pores. So, the pores are blocked and the way that your body copes is to form acne to get the junk out.
You have to search for lotion that does not contain mineral oil (there are many synonyms for mineral oil- see the link for a list). It is very important to use lotion on your face. I thought that I was helping by not using lotion, but if your face is not moist, your body will work harder to produce more oil. You also want to use a moisturizer that is slightly acidic (not pH balanced like many lotions are) because skin needs to be a little acidic to be healthy.
I choose to use products that are made by a company whose products are vegan-certified (so there's no yucky animal products or by-products in them), organic, have no toxins, and uses essential oils. After I switched to their products, the health of my skin was so much better.
Hormone Levels and Their Impact on Your Skin
Besides the skincare, I also had lots to learn about the impact of hormones on my skin. Although my acne was much improved, I still suffered from pre-menstrual break-outs. I got to the point where we were thinking about starting a family. My doctor (who uses natural medicine in addition to traditional medicine) thought that we should test my hormones (using a saliva test) to see if my levels looked good. When we got the test results back, sure enough, my levels were not balanced (or in the right proportions). Therefore, he suggested that I start using a sweet yam cream in order to help balance my hormones.
The sweet yam cream made me very nauseas for a couple weeks while my body adjusted to the increased hormone levels. My acne took a little bit to improve as well. After using this cream for a little while, I found out about a different one that worked much better. It has a metered pump so I don't have to measure it out each time and is white in color instead of an orange color that stained my pajamas.
After I switched to the progesterone cream (not a prescription), I saw immediate results. My acne improved quickly and it impacted so many other things as well. I used to get really bad cramps and had barely any after using progesterone cream. My cycle was always longer than 28 days and was now 28 days on the dot. I also slept really soundly. It is hard to explain that your body just feels right and healthy, but when it happens to you it is wonderful. To read more about hormone balance, click here.
I also learned that lotions, shampoos, conditioners, etc. can have ingredients in them that mimic hormones in the body. I realized that by using better quality skincare, not only was I not clogging my pores with mineral oil, but I was also helping my hormone levels as well by avoiding toxins that the body can interpret as hormones.
Topical Treatment That Works
Besides using skincare that does not contain mineral oil or other harsh alcohols, there is one thing that is incredibly helpful as a topical treatment. Tea tree and lavender oil are both essential oils that have antibacterial, anti fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. They are very strong since they are concentrated. But, you can dilute them in another base oil (be careful in selecting the base oil) and put them onto any blemishes. They will help to kill any bacteria, reduce inflammation, and help to speed up the healing process.
When using these oils, you do not want to get them in your eyes, mouth, or any other sensitive areas. Of course, when trying something new, always test a small spot before applying in a large area to be sure that you do not have any sensitivities or weird reactions.
I like to use them in a mixture since tea tree oil is really strong smelling and can be harsh to the skin. By mixing it with the lavender oil, it not only smells better, but it is not as harsh on the skin. This mixture of oils is the only topical treatment that I use on the occasional blemish that I get and I've had lots of success with it.
Buy your lavender and tea tree oil here
For years, I knew that my hormones played a role in my acne. I also knew that using lotion made my skin break out. Despite knowing these two facts, I didn't know how to fix them. After many years of trial and error, buying all kinds of lotions, potions, and pills, I finally stumbled upon the answers that I was searching for.
I've seen friends and family that have improved their skin and overall health by making these same changes. In fact, friends and even strangers will ask me what skincare I use because my skin now looks flawless. If you'd told me that would be the case many years ago, I would've never believed you! With two daughters of my own, I'm so glad that I've learned so much from my own struggles and will be able to help them to have healthy skin. I hope to be able to help many people to learn what I wish someone had shared with me so many years ago.
I'm glad to answer any questions and love to hear from others who have had similar experiences by sharing in the comment section below or sending me a private message.
To healthy and glowing skin ~ fitmom