Teen Health: Supplements to support acne and stretch marks
My daughter is 14, and I keep expressing my surprise that she is still a delight to spend time with!
I remember all too vividly from my own teenage years the angst, the mood swings, the anxiety and the skin problems – so, in the next few blogs, I am going to have a look at various aspects of teenage health and the natural products which could be helpful.
One thing which many people associate with the teenage years is skin problems. Acne is a problem for many and can cause much upset, at a time when our appearance becomes so much more important to us. Another common issue is stretch marks, as our body grows so quickly that our skin struggles to keep up.
However, all is not lost – there are several things which can be helpful both in prevention and treatment.
Ideally, if possible, prevention is best here – as once they have developed, we will never get rid of stretch marks.
It is thought that taking a daily supplement which contains zinc could be very helpful here. Many teens are low in zinc, as this vital mineral is in high demand as we develop sexually – boys are at particularly high risk. Low levels of zinc have been associated with stretch marks and the development of acne, so this is a mineral which could benefit many teens.
If stretch marks have already developed, then have a look for a good vitamin E oil. Often suggested to pregnant women, to try and help prevent or treat stretch marks, this is something which could also be helpful to the image conscious teen. I have used vitamin E oil to help all sorts of scars and marks over the years and find that it really helps them to fade very effectively.
Although we can’t get rid of stretch marks once they have developed, using things like vitamin E oil will help to fade the marks from their original vivid colour to something much less obvious.
Zinc is again one of the most important minerals to include if we are looking to try and treat or prevent acne. As I mentioned previously, it is often low in teenagers and has been linked to issues like acne.
Another important mineral to look for is chromium. This is because, when taken as a supplement, chromium can help to balance blood sugar levels. Many teens (not all, I know) do tend to choose refined foods and snacks – which can cause blood sugar spikes. It is thought that these blood sugar spikes can aggravate acne conditions. So, using supplements which include chromium can be very helpful in reducing the severity of acne conditions.
The other thing to look for is good bacteria. It may seem strange to suggest that taking good bacteria could help with skin health, but there has been much research which indicates that the health of our gut can have a massive impact on the health of our skin.
The key bacteria to look for are Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus reuteri. These three bacteria specifically have been shown to be able to inhibit the growth of a pathogenic bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes, which has been linked to the development of acne in teenagers.
Using these 3 bacteria in combination with zinc and chromium could therefore provide a key combination to beat teenage acne and hopefully make them feel happier in their own skin.
Check back next week for the next blog in my ‘Teen Issues’ series, where I will be discussing energy – looking at ways to support those who are struggling with low energy and mood swings.
Written by Jenny Logan DNMed. (Jenny is a nutritional therapist who has worked with clients in health food stores and private clinics for over 20 years.)