Stress and hormonal changes are synonymous with being a teenager. Add one more contributing factor, such as a diet of greasy/fast foods, and you get an internal condition of excess heat trapped in the body. This internal condition then expresses itself externally, on the face.

As a mother of two teenage girls, I know that their busy schedules (school, sports, complex social lives) along with hormonal changes can leave them depleted. Depletion is yet another cause of excess heat in the body.

Fortunately, Chinese medicine and herbs offer great results for teen acne, whatever combination of factors may be wreaking havoc on the skin.

Over the years, I have found the following treatment program to achieve excellent results.

A Typical Treatment Plan

After identifying the cause of the patient’s acne through an initial Chinese medical consultation, which includes a thorough medical history, diet and lifestyle intake, and inspection of tongue, pulses and skin, I share my recommended treatment plan with my teen patient and their parents. This includes:

  • Facial herbal treatments with specialized herbal powders and fruit enzymes (by Osmosis Skincare) to detoxify the skin.
  • LED light therapy in which blue light causes P. acnes bacteria to destroy itself.
  • Chinese herbal acne pills with our own special mix of high quality herbs in a pill form that clears the accumulation of damp, heat toxins.
  • Other herbs as appropriate, such as herbal stress pills.
  • Skin care products which have natural occurring anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Acupuncture if the teenager is under severe stress, since acupuncture can calm the patient’s nervous system.
  • Dietary and lifestyle recommendations, which are customized for each patient.

Photos courtesy of Osmosis Skincare

In cases of severe teen acne, it is important for the patient to adhere to most of the following lifestyle changes.

Healthy Lifestyle Recommendations

  • Fortifying foods with a high vegetable and fiber content
  • Drinking a healthy amount of water
  • Proper sleep
  • Daily skin care regimen
  • Regular exercise (sweating helps unblock congested pores)
  • Changing pillow cases every 2-3 days
  • Epsom salt baths
  • Monthly or bi-monthly soothing facial mask treatment from our clinic (includes aloe vera, enzymes and herb powders individualized for each patient)
  • Bitter foods to help combat Dampness such as vinegar, dandelion, cauliflower, barley, rye, endive, basil, cardamon, sage, tea

Dietary Recommendations

The following dietary recommendations are based on the Chinese medicinal properties of food, including their temperature, taste (sour, bitter, sweet, spicy, salty), direction, and affinity for channels in the body. “Food as medicine” truly shines when it comes to treating teen acne.

Avoid or significantly minimize:

  • Excess sugars
  • Shellfish
  • Fatty fast foods such as pizza, pasta, chips and desserts
  • Rich dairy products (cheeses and ice creams)
  • Fried foods
  • Caffeine
  • Processed foods
  • Cold drinks with ice

By avoiding these congestive foods, the body has a chance to heal and detoxify.

Effective foods to reduce Dampness:

  • Azuki beans
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Parsley
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Green tea
  • Mustard
  • Pumpkin
  • Scallions
  • Celery
  • Kidney beans
  • Onion
  • Radish

When the dampness in the body is not addressed, the body becomes like a swamp instead of a river; bacteria thrive in this poor condition leading to cystic acne.

Effective foods to reduce Heat/Toxins:

  • Apple
  • Cabbage
  • Millet
  • Sweet Potato
  • Asparagus
  • Grapefruit
  • Mung bean
  • Watermelon
  • Lemon
  • Peppermint

Encouraging Teens

You may wonder how you can get your teens to do what I’ve recommended above. You will be surprised that most teens will WANT to do what is necessary to get their skin looking healthy. It all starts with adding a simple healthy routine into their daily lifestyle.

My teenage daughters have inspired me in my treatments of patients with acne. It is a condition that we can achieve great results with, and they have reaped the rewards of my experience in this field, combining all natural Eastern and Western techniques.