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Girls and Skin

My 12-year-old asked me to buy her a "custom" acne formula she'd seen advertised, and I said no. More specifically, I told her she could buy it herself (she babysits), but I wouldn't buy it unless she tried other things first and they weren't sufficient.

She doesn't have mysterious, intractable acne, in which case I would get her the special formula. Her skin breaks out around holidays and candy binges, and clears up in between, even though she never eliminates ALL the sugar from her diet.

Great skin is more an extension of our microbiome, blood sugar, immune system, and stress response than of a particular skin care system. One silver lining of being unable to process much sugar as a teen was that I never had acne. All 7 of my siblings did. She already gets enough sleep and takes vitamins, so I suggested to her:

- shower more often

- moisturize after showering

- change her pillowcase every other day

- eat carrots or other quick vegetables with each meal or sweet

- drink more water

- eat less sugar and junk

- take some time to lay down and recharge in the afternoon

She's a nonstop kind of person and it affects her mood as well as her skin. Whenever she cleans up her diet a little - not talking perfection here, but scaling down to a serving or two of non-real food per day - her skin clears up rapidly.

Acne medications and skin care systems do get results, and it's good that we have them for really challenging cases. But for my own strong-willed, basically healthy daughter, I'd rather have her see the results of her decisions in the mirror, and have an extra reason to take care of herself.

Update: she now changes her pillowcase frequently and drinks more water than ever. Skin is ok, and we talked about switching to dark chocolate and other ways to eat less sugar. Evolving ownership.

What have you told your kids about caring for their skin? What seems to make the biggest difference?

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