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  • Jen Dunlap

Teenage Skin Care

We have two girls in puberty now, and like anyone they want nice skin. Fortunately, they get regular sun and exercise because that’s easy where we live. They also get enough sleep. They also drink water rather than other liquids. So that's a decent start, and the first place I'd look if a kid is breaking out. My oldest, nearly 15, has skin a bit on the dry side, and a limited tolerance for dairy. I’d suspected as much since she was a toddler, and it was confirmed when she went through a phase of eating lots of dairy and got milk rash on her cheeks. "What’s wrong?" she asked, "It looks like I'm just about to get a bunch of zits but they didn't come out yet." I told her it was milk rash and she should scale back to her usual limited dairy - about one serving a day. In a week it was gone. The second girl doesn’t appear to have a “dairy threshold “, but her skin is a little oilier and touchier, like her dad's, so hygiene was the first order of business. She had to develop the habit of washing her face morning and night and changing her pillowcase several times a week. That took care of it until she ate lots of sweets for a couple of weeks and started breaking out. She wanted me to buy her a fancy skin care system and I told her that great skin starts from the inside, and she needed to eat more vegetables and fruits and less sweets , and drink extra water, and see where that got her. She cut the sugar and started eating several carrots a day. Her breakfast today included an apple, several cuties, and a handful of carrots, along with a bagel and cream cheese. She also had a cup of juice with minerals and willingly takes vitamins. Her skin is clearing up nicely, lucky girl. For a 12-year-old this is a great learning experience. I’m glad she has a bit of incentive to pay attention, and that the results are clear enough to motivate her to continue.

For the record, she also takes Cod Liver Oil for the Vitamin A and D, and turmeric for focus, because she's in that brainless time of early puberty. At some earlier point in her childhood I had incentives for taking vitamins, but now she's in the habit and doesn't mind swallowing pills.

There are solutions for really intractable skin problems, but it makes sense to start with the simple habits and see the results. Any other tips? Share in the comments!


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