A spot of bother...

Let’s face it spots are part of being a teenager. Around 80% of teenagers will develop some form of acne, typically on their face, shoulders and back. Chances are then you’ll get a few spots, pimples and breakouts. And if you’re unlucky, full-blown acne.

Acne is primarily caused by bacteria while spots are often the result of too much oil being produced by your body, thanks mainly to teenage hormones playing havoc. The main culprit is excessive Testosterone, which both boys and girls produce, causing an increase in production of oil (sebum) and this can block your pores and provides a perfect environment for surface bacteria to set up home and cause you annoying, painful and unsightly spots.

It might be tempting to rush out to your nearest chemist and buy medicated products that promise spectacular results – but we had a chat with Julia Vearncombe, beautician (and co-founder of SkinGenius), and what she told us might make you think again…

She said: “Many treatments rely on something called Benzyl Peroxide to kill the bacteria but this is a strong chemical which may damage your skin. As well as Benzyl Peroxide, many products contain a lot of alcohol to combat oiliness – this simply causes the skin to over produce sebum in response to being stripped of its natural oils. Parabens are preservatives used in most preparations – they have shown to disrupt hormones.

“Aside from these medicated over-the-counter products, some teenagers are given a prescription by their GP.  In my opinion, this is also a pretty extreme way to go about beating acne and it doesn’t suit everyone to take drugs to treat their skin.”

Now we’re not saying your GP is wrong and we would NEVER suggest ignoring your doctor, but before you visit the surgery you might want to try getting on top of your hormones and balance your skin naturally to clear it up and keep it clear.

Feed your face

There’s an element of truth the certain foods can make spots worse but in all honesty while eating chocolate, ice cream and processed food won’t do your skin any favours, you can’t blame them for your spots either. However, some foods are definitely good for your skin so it’s worth feeding your face with these.

Aim to eat ACE each day by having foods rich in Vitamins A, C and E.  Nothing weird here – just tasty, everyday foods that will do the trick.

Vitamin A has immune boosting properties and helps to keep your skin healthy.  Find it in brightly coloured fruit and veg such as oranges, satsumas, lemons, apricots, mango, cantaloupe melon, sweet potatoes, carrots, red, yellow & orange peppers, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables such as watercress and spinach. It’s also in oily fish – try salmon and tuna. 

Vitamin C also has immune boosting properties and can help to heal your skin.  Find it in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, bell peppers and tomatoes plus oranges, strawberries, kiwi and blackcurrants.

Vitamin E helps to reduce inflammation, infections and scarring.  Find it in nuts, seeds and wholegrains, shellfish and prawns, broccoli, sweet potato and avocado, kiwi fruit, eggs and olive oil.

A few more tips - pretty obvious and easily done!

·      Get some fresh air, a 15-minute walk will boost your skin and clear your head

·      Drink water! Aim for six glasses a day – the quickest way to see a difference

·      Sleep well – this is the BEST excuse for staying in bed (aim for at least 8 hours)

·      Keep your hands clean and try not to touch your face

·      Clean your make-up brushes weekly

Right, now you’re ready for that selfie! 


HealthWeb editor