When one is not travelling and nor doing activity camps during kids half-term, the question of how to best entertain them becomes quite pressing. Watching TV and letting them get even further acquainted
With so much confusing advice circulating about our own eating habits – what’s in, what’s out?- it is even trickier to find consistent guidelines on what we should be feeding our children.
Biting of the nails deserves a separate post, but from personal experience I can recommend telling your child ( if they already lost their milk teeth ) that if they continue to bite their nails, they can break the tooth and a new one won’t grow in its place. It is a true fact, as I actually know someone to whom this happened at a ‘grand’ age of thirty and required a lengthy and expensive rental work to fix the problem, as the woman in question had no desire to look like a Russian hockey player Alexander Ovechkin.
When one of my kids started getting burrs, we first addressed the issue of biting the nails – sadly we can’t control the habits or traits kids pick up from their friends at school or nursery, but we can try to influence the change in the right direction. My second course of action was to start moisturising the hands better, using Childs Farm hand & body lotion that most kids love using & that gets quickly absorbed, without leaving any residue behind.
Last, but not least, I was also quite lucky to talk to Amanda Saurin, founder of A.S Apothecary and an incredibly knowledgable plant grower, homeopath, distiller – the list of her skills is endless, but you get the idea .) Amanda kindly made us a cute apothecary pot of the balm for the naughty hands. The smell alone is soothing and calming and it is a good incentive to encourage girls to nurture their nails with it, rather than start using nail polishes from a very young age. Amanda blended the following ingredients when making the personalised burr balm: shea butter, her own bees-wax from the garden, rosehip, calendula, arnica, plantago, hypericum & stellaria. If we didn’t have the time to apply the balm to the nails and the areas around it, where burrs occurred, in the morning, I made sure we did it with every finger at bedtime ( we also got into the habit of applying it to nails on the toes ). Initially we did it daily, then, as the skin started healing, we switched to every other or every two or three days. This process becomes part of the bedtime routine & creates a lovely habit of looking after one’s hands and nails, making both healthier and softer. When you do it on a regular basis, burrs actually retreat, much to the delight of a child, who thinks that they did good.
In addition I would recommend upping your child’s fatty acids intake in their diet, as they will definitely contribute to stronger nails and help improve dry skin. Hemp seed oil is a good supplements but I prefer Bare Biology Super hero fish oil, which kids actually enjoy taking voluntarily, with no prompting on my part.
Two months on, there are no burrs and we have a lovely habit of giving each other quick hand and nail massages, pretending to have natural treatments before bedtime. It is a joyful bonding experience, a chance to instill good habits in your child and to make sure your kid’s hands stay infection-free, as burrs can lead to significant inflammation. I say prevention is key and hope you will agree with me.
My first impression was a riot of colour that met my gaze when I opened the box with the products. It is bright and eye-catching, which is definitely what you want when you enter the beauty market. Young people enjoy bright colours and BRYT developed theirs clearly having done in-depth market research.
BRYT is built around the principle that our skin is a reflection of our lifestyle. If you look after your skin, you will look and feel better for years to come and not just when you are young. Being a teenager is a vulnerable time, when young boys and girls are finding their footing in the world and getting to know themselves, so if they set down good skin & body care foundations, their personal journey will be a happier, more confident one. Simple, effective skincare is part of getting to know yourself and what works for your skin and I think it is something parents should try to help their children understand through dialogue. By knowing your skin, you will be able to respond to the negative environmental impact, lifestyle, hormonal and dietary changes. The ultimate goal is not just to look good, but to feel good as well.
Q & A with Catkin Wemyss Bodmer, founder of BRYT skincare
What inspired you to launch BRYT skincare and how did you come up with the unusual name for your beauty brand?
CWB: I was struck by the lack of affordable premium quality skincare products available to young adults and did not feel it was right or ethical to be selling harsh and extremely sensitising products to a young audience, wishing for a quick fix for their skin. I also felt the need to educate people on the importance of starting and maintaining a healthy skincare regime when young, as the benefits one gets later in life are very marked, both from a healthcare perspective and from the beauty side. Thus BRYT Skincare was born… BRYT originally stood for Bright Young Things inspired by the 1920’s and the young post Great War generation who took life to heart and wanted to live it to the full, being innovative and creative, pushing the boundaries of society for a better world. It stands for an attitude of mind, rather than an age group and today in the world in which we live in, it is even more important that we inspire and aspire to a better, cleaner and more peaceful planet, where we can be more in touch with nature and our very being.
Dr. Pauline Hili on the subject of Teen Skin:
The age of thirteen to nineteen marks a period of change, it is a time when hormones, which lead to maturing changes in our bodies & as a consequence, our skin, are released. Sadly, Acne vulgaris is a very common disease when an adolescent reaches puberty – 85% of people develop acne at some point between ages 12 to 25.
Facial skin contains many sebaceous glands that release sebum: when in balance, sebum makes the skin soft & supple, as well as offering a protective function. When over-secreted, it makes the skin look oily and can lead to acne. The oils in the skin carry dead skin cell debris to the hair follicles but sometimes end up blocking them. This results in formation of an enlarged hair follicle & leads to the onset of formation of a pimple or acne. The main cause of acne is often attributed to hormonal changes, but factors like diet, cleansing habits and stress can often contribute to this skin condition.
At Nourish our approach to helping the skin through teenage years is to use a combination of active, plant-based ingredients and vitamins that help manage the cause and the symptoms of acne.
=&0=& ( another name for Vitamin B3 ) is an essential vitamin found in our body and skin, that promotes cell communication, elastin production and healthy skin barrier function & has been clinically proven to reduce acne. Vitamin B3 is also important for reducing age-related degradation of NADH & NADPH enzymes in the skin layers, which are important to cell growth and maintaining a healthy support barrier in the skin.
=&1=&is a natural preservative and moisturising agent that protects the skin from free-radical damage and reduces the inflammation caused by acne. It also increases cell regeneration and protects skin barriers.
Bloom Remedies is a niche, family-run natural skincare company that draws on Marie’s knowledge and qualifications as an aromatherapist and creates products for babies, men, women and young adults. Marie lives and works in West Cornwall, which allows her to not just appreciate nature but draw on its secrets in order to create skincare that will benefit the skin & work with it, rather than against it. Marie’s products are made in small batches, using certified organic ingredients where possible, as well as herbal extracts, floral waters and essential oils, including unusual ones like Palmarosa & Plai.
As well as running a business, Marie is a mother of three daughters on the cusp of teenage years, so research on this subject is quite close to the heart, thus I am incredibly grateful for her generosity in sharing her knowledge on the subject.
Marie Hall, founder of Bloom Remedies on Teen Skin
”Skin can be a tricky customer at the best of times: it is the largest organ in our body; it reflects our inner
– GP is based on the concept of ‘Phyto science’ – plant performance without the compromise;
– Green People products combine nature and science;
– Green People is dedicated to buying fair-trade ingredients whenever possible;
– Green People products are made with at least 90% natural & organic ingredients, are 100% vegetarian and 100% cruelty-free.
– Green People products make a promise to you as consumer that their products don’t contain nasties, alcohol or synthetic fillers.
When I got in touch with the brand they have kindly sent me their ‘Clear Complexion Control Kit’ and deodorant for my teen volunteers. Let me give you a quick overview of the products, before I hand over to my lovely teen volunteers, Max & Madeleine, as yours truly is sadly and gratefully way past her teen years.
OY! Roll On Deodorant ( 75ml, £7.95 ): The subject of deodorant is one of the most common that comes up in conversations that I have with people who are parents of teenagers. We all use deodorant daily & it’s worth remembering that our armpits have a lot of lymph nodes, giving rise to natural concerns over the long-term effect its use will have on the health. Sadly many antiperspirants contain ingredients like Aluminium chlorohydrate & aluminium zirconium which temporarily blog sweat ducts & the flow of sweat ( and as a consequence the smell ) to the surface. We sweat to control our temperatures & to get rid of toxins among other things. There is increasing concern that aluminium compounds can collect in our bodies, leading to all kinds of health issues. When you make the switch from antiperspirants to a natural deodorant ( of which there are more and more on the market, so you don’t have to use rock crystals or lemon juice ) your glands go back to working normally but initially you might notice a stronger body odour. Be patient and give your body a chance to cleanse itself !
Green People deodorant was developed in order to have multiple actions, notably:
– restrict bacteria that cause body odour
– prevent bacteria from forming in the armpit due to alum, mineral salts found in volcanic rock, while still allowing the skin to breathe.
– supports skin’s own natural bacterial flora
Clear Complexion Control Kit ( 50/30/10ml, £20.95 ) contains three skincare products that are targeting acne, blemishes and skin that tends to misbehave. The natural anti-blemish system was developed in order to help you achieve a clean, clear & naturally beautiful complexion.
Step 1: Cleanse & Moisturise it gently cleanses your skin from daily dirt and pollution ( it should be able to remove make-up and mascara according to the press release ). When your skin has been cleansed, you can re-apply it, this time as a moisturiser. Notable actives include Green Tea, Prebiotics and Willow Bark.
Brain-teazer games ( Aly Peli & IQ Link )
My kids were given those by their godmother via Father Christmas and since then they have steadily kept kids & adults
As I started my research on the subject I didn’t know much, but then brands started emerging and recommendations from colleagues poured in, making me breath a sign of relief that there is actually something for the teenagers to use.
Skin is our biggest organ and personally I hold the opinion that we shouldn’t overload it. We have hormones in our food & water and chemicals imbedded in the materials from which our clothes are made all which can interrupts our body’s hormonal balance. So my focus was and is on the brands that are natural, that won’t disrupt your child’s body functions and will work alongside their skin in order to solve the problems that they might be experiencing. Ultimately, no matter what the age or gender, we want beautiful, healthy skin and that is what is at the centre of this mini-series. I read a lot, asked experts for opinions and researched the brands, so let me start with some of the brands that you might consider if you are a teenager or a mother of teenager who is asking for advice.
Nourish Skincare ( Balance range )
Elements ( formulated for boys and men )
Of course there are many others, but the ones listed above are the ones that came on my radar and that I feel happy to put forward for your considerations and would happily use on my own children. Remember that as Bobby Brown says in her book ‘Teen Beauty‘ ‘it’s never too early to start caring for your skin’.
When we enter our teens our hormones kick in with a vengeance ( hair starts growing in armpits and groin and on boys faces; girls start having their periods ). The moods change and sulkiness and grumpiness emerge on a major scale. The skin revs up its oil production, leading to pimples, blackheads and acne. Before we hit puberty the skin’s PH tends to be more alkaline, making the skin more prone to infections and irritations.
It is also important to keep in mind that it is never too early to start protecting the skin against the damage that is caused by strong sun rays and the environmental pollutants.
Looking back on my own teenage years and observing modern teenagers ( so much smarter, taller and more mature than my generation was ) some things haven’t changed and that is the approach that I will definitely take with my own children:
– Make sure you drink enough fluids, particularly water. Please don’t drink fizzy drinks, like Coca-Cola or energizing drinks, they will have a negative impact on your digestion, your teeth and will make you feel more jittery. Try coconut water or adding your favourite sliced fruit or veg to water ( oranges, strawberry, blueberries, cucumbers, mint, ginger – it will add freshness and make plain water more enticing). Herbal teas with ice, fresh juices and smoothies in particular might appeal.
– Eat a varied diet, with different food groups and colours. Don’t look in the direction of ‘fat-free’ labels, instead focus on the food that will help you nourish your body and assist the active growth process you are going through. Women are more prone to osteoporosis in later life, so do make sure you have enough calcium in your diet if you are a girl. We are all different and unique, so the best thing you can do at this stage of your life is to get to know your own body and what fuels it. It will serve you well in the future!