Teenage acne is a hot topic both in health coaching and in aesthetics. Traditionally, parents of teens with acne would only think to take their teen to a dermatologist or aesthetician for treatment. However, the tides are turning, and today more and more parents are aware that acne often has internal, diet, and lifestyle-related causes and now seek the guidance of a health coach. Here’s how a health coach with training in nutritional aesthetics might work with a parent and teen in a spa setting to promote clear teenage skin.

Part 1: Parent Consultation

Teen Client’s Mom: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me about my 15 year old daughter’s skin. Her acne has gotten so severe that it’s starting to affect her life. She’s such a beautiful girl, and used to be so social and confident–and now she says she doesn’t even want to see her friends anymore because she’s so embarrassed by her skin. I just don’t know what to do for her.

Health Coach: I’m so sorry to hear that! Thanks so much for contacting me about your daughter. I’m curious–what made you call a health coach?

Teen Client’s Mom: Well I’ve been reading a lot about acne online, and while there’s a lot of conflicting information in the various articles, I do see that most of the experts agree that processed foods and sugar are acne triggers. My daughter’s 15 and she’s really active in sports and dance after school. She often just eats whatever’s in the vending machines at school and all she lets me pack for her is, unfortunately, junk–or she and her friends just order pizza or Chinese food takeout, because it’s easy. By the time she gets home, she hardly has time to sit down for dinner because she has to dive right into her homework. I’ve tried packing her healthier real food snacks, but she won’t eat them since her friends don’t eat anything like that. She’s being a typical stubborn teenager and I can’t seem to get through to her. I thought maybe if someone neutral with experience in coaching and knowledge of nutrition could connect with her on her level, she’d listen.

Health Coach: That’s absolutely something I specialize in–listening to my clients without judgment, seeing where they’re at, and then teaching them how to incorporate healthier foods into their busy lifestyles in a way that’s fun and exciting. I also have training in nutritional aesthetics, which integrates knowledge of the skin and skin treatments into my coaching–and of course I have access to amazing aestheticians here at the spa! I think you’ve come to the right place. What I’d love to do next is meet with your daughter for a private consultation, and see if we’re the right fit to work together–and then I’ll be able to recommend right integrative nutritional aesthetics program for her. How does that sound?

Teen Client’s Mom: That’s great, thank you!

Part 2: Teen Consultation

Health Coach: I’m really pleased that you came in to see me. Your mom mentioned to me that you have several activities going on, besides your workload at school…dance and sports? You sound like you have a full plate. What type of dance do you do, and what sport do you play?

Teen Client: Yeah, I do. I do have a lot going on. I take ballet and jazz–and I play lacrosse. I’m taking some hard classes this semester too–so I’ve got a ton of homework.

Health Coach: That’s a lot of exercise–you must be in pretty good shape. Lots of sweating, too, I’ll bet.

Teen Client: Yeah, it’s fun. I have fun with both. I mean, with all of it. I guess I do sweat a lot too.

Health Coach: Do you carry a face cleanser in your bag? Just so you can wash your face right after your activities…this can help reduce clogged pores.

Teen Client: No, actually, I don’t. Sometimes I’ll just wait until I get home to shower and stuff. Sometimes, I eat first too, because I’m usually starving by then.

Health Coach: Okay, we’ll talk about that later when I go over recommendations. So, you mentioned that you have a heavy workload with homework too. How many hours of sleep are you getting? Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you feel stressed or over-scheduled?

Teen Client: Uh, I’d say by the time I get home, have dinner, knock out some homework. and get into bed…and text my friends for about an hour, it’s probably about midnight? I usually pass out by then–and I have a really hard time getting up.

Health Coach: Okay. Yeah, that sounds like a really full day. You must be pretty tired after a long day like that. How do you feel in the morning…are you groggy?

Teen Client: Oh, yeah. Most definitely.teen-acne-clear-skin

Health Coach: Okay. Let’s take a closer look at your skin so I can get an idea what you’re dealing with here. I’ll then be able to recommend the right cleanser and perhaps some other products and how to implement some easy practices to help make your life a little more balanced, okay?

Teen Client: Okay. Sounds good.

Health Coach: So, before we get started, I’m interested in knowing a few things because I really want to help you get to the root of your issue here, so I’m going to ask you for a little more information than what’s on your intake form, okay? First, on a scale from 1-10, how concerned are you about your acne breakouts?  …or is it more that your mom is concerned?

Teen Client:  Well… if I was going to be completely honest, I would say… an ‘11’.  I mean, my mom is kinda making me come here, but I’m not happy with what’s going on with my skin either.

Health Coach: Okay, well it was really wise of her to bring you here, and here’s why. I’m going to help you look at a variety of reasons why you might be experiencing an imbalance. We’re going to look at your personal care routine, all of the products you come in contact with, your diet, lifestyle, and stress level. Based on your responses, I’m going to be able to assess, from a holistic point-of-view, what I think you will need to change so that you can start to heal from the inside out. It will be up to you to reinforce those benefits if you want to see results. Do you understand what I mean by that?

Teen Client: Yeah. I think so. You’re saying I have to do some work.

Health Coach: Let’s just say, you may have to make some adjustments so that, together, we can work towards a similar goal: to improve the condition of your skin. This won’t happen overnight, but we’ll work together in a program over a few months to make these changes happen.

Let’s talk about your diet. What are your food staples, meaning, what would you say you eat a lot of?

Teen Client: Well, I eat a lot of pizza. I eat it at school, and every weekend my friends and I go this pizza shop pretty often. I also eat soft pretzels after Lacrosse because my friend’s mom brings a whole bag for us to eat after practice. I eat cereal with skim milk every morning–and oh, I eat a lot of Chinese food. I love Chinese food.

Health Coach: That’s great information. To me, that sounds like a lot of processed food. Do you know the difference between processed foods and whole foods? I think this will be a good place to start, in terms of identifying what your body needs for nourishment–especially because you’re so active.

Teen Client: Yeah, I probably do eat a lot of processed food. My mom tries to get me to eat other things, but I don’t really want to eat like a rabbit.

Health Coach: Okay, well, I’ll recommend some whole foods for you to try that you might like. Let’s discuss your cleansing routine. What kind of cleanser do you use, and how often do you wash your face?

Teen Client: I use the same cleanser my friends use. We get it at the drugstore together. I would say, I wash it in the morning, in the shower, and sometimes before bed. Sometimes I forget though–or I’m too tired.

Part 3: Referrals and At-Home Recommendations

Health Coach: Today I’m going to send you home with some suggestions for natural skincare products that will support clear skin. Sometimes using products that are a bit gentler does an even better job at bringing your skin back in balance, even if the products don’t give you that squeaky clean feeling you’re used to. A little oil can actually be good for acne-prone skin!

Teen Client: Okay, I’ll try anything.

Health Coach: Great. There are a few more things that are going to be really important in this process too. First, I’m going to challenge you to make a super strong effort to cut processed foods from your diet. I know that clearing your skin is really important to you, so I really believe that you will find lots of alternatives to pizza, Chinese food and soft pretzels when you look around. Lean on your mom for this one too; she has great ideas for meals and snacks that will support clear skin, and I’m sending you home with even more ideas today.

Teen Client: Alright, I’m willing to try it. But this better be worth the effort!

Health Coach: Another thing that’s really important is eating regular meals to keep your energy up and your blood sugar stable, meaning you won’t feel so many highs and lows in your energy. I’m giving you suggestions for protein-packed breakfasts that can also help you stay focused and energetic at school.

Teen Client: Okay, I’ll give those to my mom.

Health Coach: I’ll see you again a few weeks’ time, and we’ll check on how your skin is looking. At that time we may also talk about limiting or eliminating the dairy in your diet, which could be contributing to acne flare-ups as well.

Teen Client: Not cheese! I really hope we don’t have to do that.

Health Coach: Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you have lots of other delicious things to eat if we do the dairy elimination. And one more thing, try really hard to be in bed by 10:30pm instead of midnight most nights of the week. It’s a really good habit to get into that can support your hormonal health and help you feel more energetic with less cravings for processed foods during the day.

Teen Client: Yeah, I’ve actually been meaning to do that. It’s just so hard.

Health Coach: Don’t worry, you’re going to be great. You don’t have to be perfect; just give it your best effort. Finally, based on what we talked about, I’d like to suggest that you have a treatment with a colleague here at the spa who is a licensed aesthetician. She’s a skincare expert who can give you a facial that can help clear your skin from the outside as well.

Teen Client: Okay, I’ll let my mom know.

Health Coach: And I’ll share this info with her as well. I’ll let her know that you have some skin-clearing homework ahead of you, but that you’re also fully prepared to make some changes that can really help your skin to look clearer and healthier overall.

The teen years are tough enough without the concern of acne. The nutritional aesthetics approach to acne is integrative, completely personalized, and focuses on making a genuine connection with the teen so she understands that she has someone on her side while her skin and body regains balance. Teaching teens healthy diet, lifestyle, skincare, and mindset habits is a great way to promote lifetime wellness–and of course glowing skin.

CommentWe’d love to hear from you!

How does the nutritional aesthetics perspective compare to how you work with teenagers with acne? What have you found most helpful? Please share in the comments below!