Acne, Hair, and Other Teenage Struggles

I was 15 years old on a road that was almost to my school. I was a sophomore riding with a senior to school. I looked at her and asked her to pull over. I was so sick, and just so glad I was able to not get sick all over her car. I was mortified. Why was I sick? My acne medication.

I was 16 and in a swimsuit at a party. The girls were chatting with me regarding their hair, down there. “Ugh, I just shave it all. It’s so gross.” I looked down and crossed my legs. I thought it was natural. I didn’t even know a razor could get that close to my area.

I was 16 and I had a rash, in the Bahamas, on a mission trip at the beach. It was exacerbated by the sand. It was caused by my deodorant. But I kept wearing the same deodorant because, quite honestly, I didn’t know there were options. On the days I didn’t wear it because well, I thought I may scratch my pits off, I was told I stunk. I live in Louisiana, it’s humid and hot. I sweat and stink. I was embarrassed and kept my mouth shut. For the next 15 years, I wore the same types of deodorant and had the same breakout. I was 31 when I learned there were options.

Breakouts, hair, and body odor were humiliating as a teenager and well into adulthood. When my oldest started coming to me for the same things, I found camaraderie in her struggles. Where as she doesn’t believe I understand, I do. I thought, before school starts. Before kids get mean. I would chat about a few of the things I have found comfort in.

Acne, Breakouts, and Skin Issues

I don’t care how many times I tell my oldest to drink water, she has the same response I do, massive eye rolls. Excess of sugary snacks (not just the sweet ones), drinks, and more are not healthy for the skin. During her most hormonal time I have begged her, if you do nothing else, “DRINK LOTS OF WATER! If not for your skin, then for your cramps.” We tend to underestimate how much what we put in our body affects what happens on the outside. Rosacea or Rosacea Acne is usually triggered to a flare up by spicy food (and also heat – dang Louisiana). Much like me, I can only tell her so much. She wants a solution.

Many acne treatments come with their own slew of side effects from internal to sun sensitivity. Simplicity is the name of the game. I have found that pairing her with a solid cleanser that breaks down the bonds that form acne, nourishes the skin, and helps prevent future breakouts is best. A cleanser can be your first line of defense. If you look for something that delivers the nutrients our skin needs it is less likely to cause other side effects like overly dry or oily skin or inflamed skin from over stripping, with that said, avoid harsh scrubs! You sweet teen is only doing more damage. I like these two charcoal cleansers as they are great for red sensitive skin and acne skin alike and full of natural ingredients: Soapwalla (lasts about 30-45 days and safe for all over) or Kalaia (lasts 2-3 months and safe for all over).

Hair

Who would have thought body hair would be such a place of contention? So let me set this up. I was swimsuit shopping with my 13 year old. She kept coming out in legit grandma swimsuits. Which quite frankly was a relief but I thought it odd. I asked her, what’s your favorite thing about these? She told me, it covers more of my hair, you know, down there. She went on to tell me that girls at school talk about how gross it is to have any stubble or anything on the legs or at the bikini line. She doesn’t know how to get behind her legs without shaving (who does) and can’t wax her bikini line. Thirteen, y’all. So we chatted. This is my step-daughter so I walked in my lane and agreed to talk to her mom, but only after we talked about how hair is normal. After she chatted with her mom, these are some things that keep things knick free and razor burn free.

The biggest thing you can do for your shaving pleasure is gently exfoliate, keep the area clean, and keep it dry. My favorite thing for exfoliating is a simple washcloth and water. I know, you expected something fancy, but I can’t help you there. Make sure it’s gentle, you don’t want to irritate your sensitive skin by overly scrubbing. After shaving I use witch hazel. It’s simple, gentle, inexpensive, and lasts forever. I like Quinn’s Unscented Witch Hazel with Aloe. A little bit on a cotton ball or pad and a swipe goes a long way in keeping the pores clean and soothing the area. Keeping the area dry is a whole other story in this Louisiana heat. I have found that MegaBabe has a line that is amazing for this. The Thigh Rescue and Boob Dust (of which I use EVERYWHERE) are amazing and smell delightful too.

Let’s Talk Stank

Okay so now we get to the good part. If you are a teacher of junior high, you know all about this. The stank can be high and traditional deodorants are packed with more harm than good these days. My daughter started with body odor at about 9 years old. We definitely wanted to stay away from deodorants with harmful ingredients, but finding one that worked was the struggle. The best thing I can offer is that natural deodorants come with their slew of trade offs, from baking soda sensitivity to perspiration. Here are some things that help.

Find a good detoxing cleanser. The two I recommended for acne are great for this. Activated charcoal will naturally pull bacteria from the pores and help with odor control. You also need to let your pits breathe at night. Do NOT sleep with deodorant on. Instead a good swipe of lemon or lime essential oil mixed with your choice of carrier oil. Both are natural odor eliminators and you will help condition your pit skin as well. Finding the right deodorant is trial and error. I have found that my favorite has been using the Megababe Thigh Rescue mentioned above. Other great options are nFuse or Pure Haven (it’s baking soda free).

But to wrap up…

Growing up is hard. Adulting is hard. Being a pre-teen, teenager, etc is hard. Parenting them is hard. It’s all hard sometimes, body issues shouldn’t be one of them. Helping your child / teen to be comfortable and have confidence in who you are and everything in between is the absolute best thing we can do for them. Skin will have issues. We are mammals with hair. We are human beings with a bit of stank as well. It happens to all of us, and sometimes there is no product that will help. C’est la vie.

Whitney is a born and raised Louisianian. Her passions lie in playground sports, keeping a messy home (much to the dismay of the husband), drinking lots of caffeine, dancing in the kitchen, getting (well trying to get) her booty in shape, and making people smile. She devotes her time to three things that fall very close to her heart: her little family, her weenie pup, and the urge to never stop creating. She married to a gentlemen that is her opposite. He though a pilot, is firmly grounded while she spends most of her time with her head in the clouds. She is a step-mom and mom of two girls, and finds motherhood is a bizarre dichotomy of grace and chaos. As a family they make life work with amazingly creative grilled cheese sandwiches, streamers, Steen's Syrup, and maybe a bubble bath. Each day she chases paper rainbows and lives the southern narrative.

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