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Teens > Body > Taking Care of Your Body > Tips for Taking Care of Your Skin
Tips for Taking Care of Your Skin

Sometimes it may seem like your skin is impossible to manage, especially when you wake up and find a huge zit on your nose or a cold sore at the corner of your mouth. The good news is that there are ways to prevent and treat common skin problems — read on for some tips.

Acne

How do you protect your skin from the sun?

A pimple starts when the pores in the skin become clogged with a type of oil called sebum, which normally lubricates the skin and hair. Acne is common during puberty when hormones go into overdrive, causing the skin to overproduce sebum. Because many oil-producing glands are on the forehead, nose, and chin, this area — the T-zone — is where a person is most prone to pimples.

Here are some tips to help prevent breakouts and clear them up as fast as possible:

If you're concerned about acne, talk to a dermatologist. Dermatologists offer a range of treatments that help to prevent and acne scars. A dermatologist can help you find the treatment method that's best for you and can also give you lots of useful tips for dealing with acne and caring for your skin type. Some salons and spas have trained skin specialists, called estheticians, who can offer advice and skin care treatments.

Sun and Skin

We all know we need to protect our skin from the sun's harmful rays. Of course, it's impossible to avoid the sun — who wants to hide indoors when it feels so great to get outside? And the sun's not all bad, anyway: Sunlight helps our bodies create vitamin D. So follow these tips when you're outdoors to help manage sun exposure:

Cold Sores

Cold sores usually show up as tender blisters on the lips. They are caused by a type of herpes virus (HSV-1, which most often is not sexually transmitted) so they are contagious from person to person. Once you get this virus it stays in your body, meaning you'll probably get cold sores every now and then throughout your life.

Here are ways you can help prevent cold sores from making an appearance (or reappearance if you've had them in the past):

If you do have a cold sore, here are some tips for keeping yourself comfortable:

Usually, cold sores go away on their own after a week or two. But if you get them frequently or they're a problem, talk to your doctor or dermatologist, who may be able to prescribe medication to alleviate symptoms and shorten the amount of time cold sores last.

Eczema

Eczema is a condition that causes skin to become red, itchy, and dry. If you have eczema, you might notice that you are prone to getting itchy rashes — especially in places like where your elbows and knees bend or on your neck and face. The symptoms of eczema can vary from person to person.

Though you can't cure eczema forever, you can take steps to prevent it from flaring:

If you're having trouble managing your eczema, talk to a dermatologist, who can suggest ways to better control it.

Other Skin Problems

Warts are tiny skin infections caused by viruses of the human papilloma virus (HPV) family. There's no way to prevent warts from occurring (other than avoiding contact with people who have them). But if you do get them, don't rub, pick, or scratch them because you can spread the virus and get new warts.

Some over-the-counter medications containing special acids can help get rid of warts, but it's always a good idea to see your doctor before trying one. If you find warts in your genital area, you should see your doctor, who can recommend the best treatment method for that sensitive area.

Another type of wart-like viral infection is molluscum contagiosum. (It's not as scary as its name sounds!) Like warts, it can be transmitted through scratching and sexual contact.

Fine white or purplish lines on the skin called stretch marks are pretty common in most teens. Stretch marks are formed when the tissue under your skin is pulled by rapid growth or stretching, like during puberty. Stretch marks usually fade on their own over time. Talk to a dermatologist if you're concerned about them.

Because our skin is the most visible reflection of what's going on in our bodies, people equate healthy skin with beauty. But healthy skin is about more than just good looks; it's essential to our survival. So keep your skin glowing with the right skin care techniques and by eating well and getting lots of exercise.

Reviewed by: Patrice Hyde, MD
Date reviewed: February 2011

Related Articles
T    Can Acne Scars Be Removed?
T    Can I Prevent Acne?
T    Eczema
T    Melanoma
T    Stretch Marks
T    Tanning
T    Warts
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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