Adolescence isn’t easy for kids (or their parents!). Thankfully, simple natural remedies can smooth out the transition.
A is for acne
Acne is the curse of many teenagers, and takes the form of pimples, blackhead and whiteheads which are triggered by an overproduction of natural sebum (oil), heat, make-up, stress or certain prescription drugs. The hormonal fluctuations caused by puberty, particularly periods and taking contraceptive, increase sebum production, which can worsen an acne outbreak. There are two kinds of acne. The most common form, acne vulgaris, occurs on the face, chest, shoulders or back. cystic acne occurs as cysts or lumps, which may be sore. Both forms are often hereditary. Acne may be a mild inconvenience – or it can become serious and lead to infection and permanent scarring.
What you can do
Keep your skin clean, but not too clean, as over-zealous washing can actually make the sebaceous glands produce more oil. Use cool, not hot water to avoid inflammation. Steer clear granulated face scrubs – instead, try a cooling gel-or clay-based mask to draw out impurities and soothe skin. Avoid face flannels, as the may harbour bacteria. If your teen uses make-up, choose a water-based formula, not an oil-based one. Never scratch, squeeze or pick at pimples and only touch acne prone skin areas with clean fingers.
Take 5: Topical skincare products which contain vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) are a great alternative to conventional antimicrobial creams, which teens can become resistant to or which may cause redness or irritation. Look for the skinB5 range which combines vitamin B5 with powerful Australian botanical ingredients to nourish skin, rebalance pH and heal acne, such as Kangaroo Flower, Silky Oil Grass, Kakadu Plum, Quandong and Davidson Plum. For best results, us the topical products in conjunction with vitamin B5 oral supplements to heal acne and support skin health from within – look for ingredients like collagen peptide, probiotics, protein, silica, zinc and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Consider Ayurveda: Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis), tumeric (Curcuma longa) and ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) are herbs that have long been used to cure acne in Ayurveda, India’s traditional system of medicine and healing. Modern research bears this out, with one study showing the using all three both orally and topically significantly improved acne symptoms.
Try tea tree: Apply a drop of tea tree essential oil – research shows that it is just as effective in limiting an outbreak of pimple and reducing their severity as a 5% benzoyl peroxide solution.
Apply aloe: One study found that 90% of skin sores were healed with an application of the gel within five days of use.
Even the calmest kid can fall prey to anxiety when adolescence arrives and they have to navigate peer pressure, social media, exams mood swings and a rapidly changing body. Anxiety may be experienced as a racing heart, muscle tension, trembling, breathlessness or concentrating or a headache.
What you can do
A warm bath is one of the most pleasant and effective ways to soothe anxiety. Add 10 drop of lavender essential oil to the water for an even more calming effect. Not time for a bath? Dab a little lavender oil on your temples and on a handkerchief and sit quietly inhaling the scent.
Teas or tinctures based on soothing herbs like lavender (Lavandula officinalis), orange blossom (citrus sinensis), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) and ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) have a long and proven history as sedatives, and encourage a good night’s sleep. Ashwagandha also helps to counter adrenal fatigue, which can be caused by ongoing sustained stress. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is another natural soother, research has shown that the active ingredients in valerian act upon the same receptors in the brain that the anti-anxiety drug Diazepam is designed to affect, but without side effects or the possibility of addiction.
Get an added advantage: Give a teen student an edge in the exam stakes with a supplement based Sibelius sage, as this helps to improve cognitive ability, critical thinking and memory.
Practice relaxation: There are several breathing methods that help to bring anxiety swiftly under control. To slow and deepen your breathing, sit quietly with one hand over your abdomen, and inhale so that your belly expands beneath your hand but shoulders don’t lift up. Hold your breath for a count of five and the exhale for a count of 10.
Go easy on caffeine: Limit a teens intake of caffeine-containing energy drinks, colas, or coffee. Studies show that people who suffer from anxiety are nearly always susceptible to the effects of caffeine.
Stay social: Make sure your teen takes time out to go and socialise with friends in real time, not just on social media. Face-to-face chat, fun outings, shared physical activities, such as playing a sport, and caring for others have all been shown to increase levels of oxytocin, the so-called ‘cuddle hormone’, and endorphins, which are natural pain and stress fighters that improve mood.