Have you noticed your adolescent child looking in the mirror more often, noticing blemishes and acne? As children become teenagers, they start paying more attention to their appearance and how their peers see them. It has long been said that the appearance of one’s skin provides a window into how the body is doing on the inside.

Let’s look at some ways to support skin health by addressing the nutritional side of things. While topical creams are always on the market, it is always good to go deeper than the surface when supporting the body’s functions. Culprits of poor skin health range from poor gut health to increased androgen production to excess estrogen to nutritional deficiencies and a congested liver. Here are some helpful things to keep in mind when wanting to improve skin health.

Keep the sugar and junk food low. High levels of sugar and carbohydrates spike insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which in turn increases the production of sebum (oil on your child’s skin). Insulin-like growth factors have been implicated in the creation of acne.

Support the liver. Cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, radishes, turnips and arugula help metabolize and balance hormones, which may positively impact hormone-related acne in females. DIM is a supplement with concentrated cruciferous vegetables.

Vitamin C- Normal skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C, which stimulates collagen synthesis and assists in antioxidant protection against UV-induced photodamage. Good food sources of vitamin C include spinach, bell peppers, kiwi, berries, citrus, and camu camu powder.

Vitamin A is essential for maintaining the integrity and function of all surface tissues (epithelia): for example, the skin, the lining of the respiratory tract, the gut, the bladder, the inner ear and the eye. Vitamin A supports the daily replacement of skin cells, protects against wrinkles, strengthens the protective function of the epidermis (outer layer of the skin), and protects collagen against degradation. Good sources of vitamin A sources include spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, liver, cod liver oil, egg yolks, and chlorella.

Zinc is a micronutrient that is essential for the development and functioning of the human skin. Studies have confirmed that patients with acne often are deficient in zinc and its addition has a positive effect on treatment of acne vulgaris.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin antioxidant and consequently a free-radical scavenger. The intake of natural vitamin E products helps against collagen cross linking and lipid peroxidation, which are both linked to aging of the skin. Vitamin E is found in wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, seeds, corn, and some meat.

Extras- Keeping the stress low may also improve your child’s skin.

Fish contains omega 3 fatty acids which are also good for skin health.

Lastly, a food allergy may be contributing to acne flare-ups so it may be wise to get your child tested for food allergies.