This post also appears at the Purely Primal Skincare blog!
What can help a teen…that he’ll actually DO?
We got this question from a PPSC reader:
Question: I’ve been having my teen boy use Primal Life Organics products to wash his face, and I’ve seen very few breakouts (which is awesome)! However, he has REALLY bad blackheads. They’re huge! Is there a simple way to help with them that he would actually participate in?
Answer: While I can’t guarantee that your son will find my thoughts on this topic simple enough to be motivated to do them, I can definitely offer suggestions! While this might not be the case with your teen, I’ll just answer this question with the assumption that, like many teens, the diet and lifestyle might be a bit – well – unbound! (Kids eat what they want, sleep when they like, and power through on less than I can get away with at my age!)
Blackheads, especially in the teen years, are often a result of both hormones and pore size – which is, unfortunately, affected by hormones! Blackheads result from debris in the pores that oxidizes and turns “black.” The larger the pores, and the more sebum passing through them (sebum production is impacted by hormones), the more likely blackheads are to form.
During the teen years, or any life stage in which we find ourselves with hormones that are frustrating, surging, or out-of-whack, it’s important to center the diet as much as possible to bring as much hormonal balance to the body as we can.
While a teen might not always be willing to go full-tilt into a real food lifestyle centered around quality meats, veggies, and the “super foods” I recommend in the Purely Primal Skincare Guide, that doesn’t mean s/he has to live on garbage.
Too much conventional dairy, too much simple sugar, and too much refined grain can drive hormonal imbalance. Processed foods are a huge culprit as well. While most teens can’t be convinced to completely avoid the processed food, some of them can at least be persuaded to ramp up the quality of their indulgences! Finding high-quality, full-fat, grass-fed milk, cheese, and even ice cream CAN make a difference; seeking treats made from real, organic sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup; and swapping any old bread for high-quality sourdough (with minimal ingredients and additives) might help, too.
On a trip to Wendy’s, perhaps they can choose a baked potato and burger “innards” rather than a battered, fried option with bread. At Chipotle, a burrito “bowl” rather than the tortilla (which contains hydrogenated oil). Instead of gatorade or soda, well – water would be nice!
If you provide higher-quality versions of junk food favorites, this might help keep the body more balanced – at least for the meals and snacks that you’ve got them with you. Fill ‘em up while you’ve got ‘em, and maybe there will be less room for the junk!
Other than that, one of the most powerful influences in balancing hormones at any age is sleep! This might be more difficult for some teens than changing the food. Teens stay up late, spend hours exposed to artificial light in the classroom and through their various “devices” (man, I feel old…) and this manipulates their circadian rhythm along with their hormones. If you can encourage your teen to sleep at more “normal” hours – as in, go to bed earlier (good luck with that, you must be thinking) it might help too. Getting outside is also critical – outdoor sports, hobbies and excursions are missing from many teens’ lives these days.
Unfortunately, in the teen years, even if food is perfect, hormones are going to do what they’re going to do. Teens are going to sleep as they please, stress as they please, and eat as they please – it all depends on how inspired they are to try something new!
Thanks for reading!
Balanced Bites Podcast #403: Michelle Shapiro, RD lost 100lbs (but doesn’t recommend it): when weight loss is unsafe – and what to do instead
Episode 403 Topics: Is weight loss always “good?” What that feeling of “urgency” really means when it comes to losing weight; “all foods fit:” but