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It’s no secret that most teenagers pay close attention to their appearance.
In addition to making sure that every hair is in place and that clothes, shoes and accessories are in style, your teenager will likely spend more time in front of the mirror than you think they should.
That’s why this is the perfect time to introduce your teen to the idea of developing a healthy skin care routine.
“A healthy skin routine will not only help teenagers look their best, but also teach them healthy habits they can continue throughout their lives,” says Richard Price, M.D. of Price Skin Care Clinic, Madison, Mississippi.
In this blog post, we’ll help you do that by sharing seven of the most common teen skin problems and how you can teach your teenager to develop a healthy skin care routine that keeps pimples, burns and flakes at bay.
In Part I, we cover acne, athlete’s foot and sunburn. In Part II we’ll cover cold sores, dandruff, eczema and dermatitis, and excessive sweating.
Acne: The Dreaded Pimple
The most common teen skin condition is acne, which occurs when excess oil traps dead skin cells in the pores. The result is the dreaded pimple. This can produce skin bacteria in the clogged pores, resulting in redness, swelling and painful inflammation, resulting in acne cysts and nodules.
Acne appears most often on the face, neck, chest, back shoulders and upper arms.
It can be unsightly (a teenagers worst nightmare!) but also painful.
Your teen’s best weapon against acne is a daily regimen of face washing and applying a facial cleanser.
If your teen needs more advanced treatment from a trained skin doctor, treatment options may range from topical ointments and treatments that reduce oil production to antibiotics or even professional acne removal.
Athlete’s Foot: The Fungus Among Us
If your teen is an athlete he or she may become afflicted with ‘athlete’s foot’ (tinea pedis), an infection caused by the growth of fungus.
This ‘fungus among us’ usually occurs on the toes, feet and ankles when feet sweat, a common occurrence with most athletes.
Athlete’s foot can present as:
• A red, inflamed rash, often starting between the toes
• Itching that is worse just after removing shoes
• Dry, scaly, hard skin with a white coloring on the soles and sides of feet
• In the most severe cases: blisters or ulcers
To prevent exposure to the fungus that causes athlete’s foot, your teen should wear water-friendly shoes such as flip-flops or shower shoes in locker rooms, swimming pools and other moisture-prone areas.
If your teen develops the condition, he or she should keep it from spreading to other parts of the body by avoiding the urge to scratch and by not wearing clothes that have been in contact with the fungus.
Your skin care doctor might recommend the following treatment:
• Be thorough in washing and drying feet before putting on socks and shoes
• Regularly apply topical antifungal ointment to feet and toes
• Sprinkle antifungal powder in shoes and on socks
• If prescribed, take antifungal medications as directed
Sunburn: Burn free
There’s nothing more dangerous for your teenager’s skin than overexposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Learning how to live ‘burn free’ is one of the most important healthy skin care habits you can teach them.
Your teen is especially susceptible to sunburn if he or she is an outdoor athlete, enjoys recreational activities such as hiking, swimming or skiing (on the water or snow) or likes to sunbathe.
Sunburn is the leading causes of skin cancers such as melanoma – which can be deadly. Prolonged overexposure to the sun can also produce wrinkles and premature aging – something your teenager might not care about now but certainly will in the future.
As with most skin conditions, prevention is key. To prevent sunburn, your teen should:
• Wear sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher when outdoors. Apply sunscreen to skin from head to toe including: ears, lips, neck, hands and feet.
• Wear protective clothes, hats and eyewear
• Avoid spending time in the sun between the hours of 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
If your teen does get sunburned he or she should:
• Take over the counter pain relievers if needed
• Take a lukewarm bath or apply a cool cloth to the affected area
• Keep burns moisturized with aloe vera or other skin moisturizers
• Don’t pop blisters; clean blisters that break on their own
• Remove peeling skin carefully and keep the area moisturized
• Cover burned skin to prevent additional exposure to sunlight
Be sure to watch the Price Skin Care blog for Part 2 on this topic. And in the meantime, if your teen suffers from one or more of these skin conditions or needs an annual skin exam, give us a call at 601.992.3996 and we’ll make an appointment.