Guest Commentary

Cadwell: Back to school skin challenges

Posted 8/18/22

It’s back to school time again! The exciting and anxious energy of a new school year makes August a month of transformation and joy, and we want to do our best to make sure we start the new …

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Guest Commentary

Cadwell: Back to school skin challenges


It’s back to school time again! The exciting and anxious energy of a new school year makes August a month of transformation and joy, and we want to do our best to make sure we start the new year with confidence and healthy self-esteem.

As the door hangs backpacks, and the trendy new clothes are set out on the bed, we also need to set aside time to focus on one of our most fabulous accessories — our skin. Skin health reflects internal balance and wellness, and this “window” can boost or destroy self-confidence as you walk through the door. Here are 10 skin care and health tips sure to boost your back-to-school glow!

1. Stress. Returning to school can be stressful, especially if you are new to the school or entering as a freshman. New territory comes with unique challenges, and keeping a calm demeanor amidst the chaos will do wonders for your skin. Adrenal balance prevents unwelcomed breakouts and promotes clear skin.

Exercising daily and limiting caffeine intake is one of the best ways to keep cortisol in check. Dedicate 30-60 minutes a day to movement, ideally in the morning and limit caffeine consumption to two servings per day; your adrenals and your skin will thank you.

2. Skin Care. With so many acne skin care products on the market, navigating through the aisles and reading lengthy product labels can be challenging. Many still believe that drying out the skin will clear acne, but having a healthy lipid barrier will reduce the amount of oil released from the pore. Many popular acne skin care kits strip the skin leaving it dry, irritated, and dull.

The popular active ingredient, benzoyl peroxide, is banned in most countries and doesn’t belong in a daily skin care regimen. We love superstar acne ingredients at Vibrant Skin Bar that support a healthy lipid barrier and microbiome. Look for mandelic acid, witch hazel, niacinamide, zinc, willow herb, and bentonite clay found in many of the acne products we carry in-store.

3. Dairy. Dairy products such as ice cream, cheese, whey protein, and milk can fuel acne. If you suffer from acne, try taking dairy out of your diet, including whey protein supplements and bars, for at least 30 days. Humans are the only species that consume dairy after infancy, and the digestive struggle can frequently be seen in our skin.

Dairy can contain antibiotics and steroids and is known to promote mucus production. If taking dairy out of your diet isn’t an option, consider a dairy enzyme supplement before consumption.

4. Sugar. Dysbiosis will eventually lead to dysfunction. While small amounts of inflammatory foods can be tolerated, the effects of a high-sugar diet will ultimately show up on the surface of the skin. High sugar consumption encourages yeast overgrowth in the gut, preventing healthy bacteria growth.

We help students detox from sugar using a fiber supplement and encourage a short daily skin and food diary so you can correlate skin changes with your meals.

5. Regular Facials. Regular monthly visits with a licensed aesthetician for proper exfoliation, deep pore cleansing, and healing product infusion will keep your skin on track and increase the effectiveness of the products you use in your daily home routine. A well-trained provider can recommend changes based on what they see in your skin and properly remove dead skin cells to maintain a healthy lipid barrier and skin hydration.

6. Chlorine. Back acne can be caused by chlorine found in drinking, bathing, and swimming water, and when too much chlorine is consumed or absorbed, our body may need to release it through the pores. I frequently see regular swimmers suffering from back acne and try to encourage the use of home water filtration and safer pool treatment options such as ozone when possible.

Detoxing the gut with a high-fiber diet or using our fiber detox supplements can also be a great way to support swimmers suffering from chlorine exposure.

7. Sweat. Daily exercise is excellent for the adrenals and overall health, but ensuring our skin is clean after our workout is crucial. Sweat can contain toxins released through the pores, and fitness equipment is a breeding ground for unhealthy bacteria.

To reduce the number of breakouts, always wipe down fitness equipment before use, wash hands with soap and water, and wipe your face with a cool cloth or cleansing wipe after you complete your workout.

8. Laser Facials. Laser light is a fabulous way to destroy uncontrolled unhealthy bacteria growth and support skin health. Laser light can blast acne at the pore and promote fast healing. Acne laser facials are done in a series over 10-14 days and should be followed with a balanced acne skin care regimen.

9. Gut Microbiome. Many people don’t know this, but the human body contains more bacterial cells than human cells, and without bacteria, we cannot exist. The unhealthy flora flourishes when we consume diets high in sugar, release abnormal cortisol levels with daily stress, and consume antibiotics. This imbalance can lead to acne, rosacea, dry skin, eczema, skin sensitivities, dermatitis, and rashes.

Skin care products that support healthy skin bacteria, gently reduce harmful microorganisms, and maintain and support the skin’s lipid barrier are the secret to lifelong vibrant skin.

10. Health Care Provider. Skin care should be left to the experts, not the celebrities. Googling remedies seems reasonable, but when you need quality personalized advice backed by science, you must seek a licensed medical provider. Prescription-strength products can sometimes be required to manage severe breakouts and prevent permanent scarring, and having a team of professionals on your side will produce the best results.

Healthy skin results from a healthy gut microbiome, hormone balance, hygiene routine, and controlled stress levels.

Teenagers frequently struggle with hormone fluctuations, oily skin, and clogged pores, which can lead to unfavorable skin issues. Trying to manage this while returning to school can be humiliating. With the proper back-to-school skin care routine, the struggles many students face will become victories and issues of the past.