|You, Your Life, Your Dreams: A Book for Adolescents (FCI, 2000, 213 p.)|
|CHAPTER 5: BASIC BODY CARE|
During puberty, the oil glands in your skin become more active, and they start producing an oily substance called sebum. You have these oil glands throughout your skin, all over your body. They are especially numerous on your face, neck, shoulders, upper chest and back.
Sebum is a good substance because it helps keep your skin soft, elastic, and young-looking. However, during adolescence, your oil glands can produce too much sebum, and the excess sebum can block the pores (small openings) in your skin. This can cause problems, like pimples.
The oiliness of your skin and how much excess sebum you produce during puberty determine how vulnerable you are to these skin problems. Having some pimples is normal and very common. In fact, at least 8 out of 10 teenagers have pimples sometime during adolescence. Pimples are most common between the ages of 14 and 17, but they also happen to older and younger boys and girls.
Some teenagers have a lot of pimples - a problem called acne. Acne tends to run in families. If your parents or older brothers and sisters had acne, you may be more likely to develop it. For a few people, acne continues to be a problem even after their teens.
Stress may be a factor in getting pimples. Many teenagers find that they get a lot of pimples just before an important event like a big date, a match or exams, or anything they are very nervous or excited about. Some girls notice that they get more pimples just before their menstrual periods.
There are many myths about pimples, and some people say wrong things such as: "Pimples are a sign that a girl or boy is longing for sexual encounters." This is not true! Sex does not cure pimples!
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT PIMPLES?
Pimples are a normal part of adolescence, and unfortunately, there is no way to avoid them altogether. Nor are there any miracle cures for acne. However, there are a few things you can do to take care of your skin that may help.
Keeping your skin clean is very important, especially if you live in hot, dusty or humid places. You can use a bathing soap and warm water to gently wash areas where your skin is oily - your face, neck, shoulders, back, and upper chest. Washing these places at least once a day will help remove the oil from the surface of the skin and keep your pores clean and open.
But do not wash your skin too much or use strong, harsh soaps because they can irritate your skin and make pimples worse. Never use strong laundry soaps, detergents or bleach, as these will damage your skin. You should also try to make sure that any oils that you put in your hair do not get on your face because these oils and hair tonics can also block the pores in your skin. Lastly, be careful about using face creams and skin lighteners. Even though the packaging may promise to give you clear, beautiful skin, some creams may actually make things worse. In addition, many skin lighteners contain substances that are very unhealthy.
Although it may be tempting at times, it is not a good idea to squeeze pimples or pick at them. If you do this, the pus can spread the infection to other pores. You can also get permanent scars.
Pimples are a nuisance. They can be painful and sore, and they can be embarrassing at times. But, they are a normal part of adolescence. A lot of teenagers feel as though they are the only person with bad skin problems, but that is mainly because they don't notice that their peers have them too. Your pimples are much more noticeable to you than they are to anyone else. You may think that everyone is staring at them, seeing only bad skin and not you. But this is not true. Other people have many other things to think about and what they really notice is who you are - not what your skin looks like.
Even if you think your pimples are very bad, other people probably don't even notice them.
So, take courage and don't let a few pimples depress you! You will not have them forever.