There are so many things to love about being young. The boundless energy, the promise of a bright future that lies ahead, the sense that anything is possible. But what is not so hot about being a teenager is the raging hormones, teen angst and—ack!—all the stressful and confusing physical changes that come with puberty.
From painful acne to hair-growth in unexpected areas, here are nine agonising woes that plague the typical teenager and how to fix them.
Angry, Sunburnt Skin
Sun damage is cumulative, so all the effects of time spent in the sun unprotected in your youth may only show up 10 to 20 years from now. Which is why the application of sunscreen is often neglected when one is young and feeling invincible.
Teenagers spend a lot of time in the outdoors, which is a good thing—if you remember to apply (and reapply) your sunblock. But when you don’t, it means redness, sunburns and peeling skin. To reduce the pain and make the redness and flakiness less obvious, apply 100 per cent pure aloe vera gel to help soothe and heal the skin.
Prevention, however, is the best medicine in this case. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 and reapply every two hours.
The hairs on the arms (and legs) can be a very sensitive issue for a self-conscious teenager. So when puberty bestows on you a generous amount of hair growth on your otherwise flawless arm, things can get … well, pretty hairy (pun intended).
Shaving isn’t the recommended form of hair removal for the arms as the stubble that grows out will feel rough and appear thicker. If you are truly uncomfortable with the amount of hair on your arms, you may wish to consider a depilatory cream, where your hair is removed with the aid of chemicals. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to do a spot test before using it all over.
You have a first date with the boy of your dreams and as luck would have it, you have an angry, stubborn zit right on your nose. While your immediate instincts may be to pop it, don’t. All you will do is make it worse. Instead, gently wash with a mild cleanser and then apply a cream containing salicylic acid (sloughs off dead skin cells) or bacteria-zapping benzoyl peroxide. Follow up with an oil-free concealer that won’t clog pores (it’s usually labelled noncomedogenic).
Freckles are adorable and very on-trend. Embrace it! If, however, freckles make you uncomfortable, a good concealer is a quick remedy. Also, note that your freckles will fade as you grow older.
In the meantime, the religious application of sunscreen can help to prevent more freckles from developing. Face creams with vitamin C can serve as skin brighteners too.
Warm weather and humidity make the perfect cocktail for frizzy hair. In order to avoid looking like you’ve just been struck by lightning, use a moisturising shampoo and conditioner. Then apply a frizz-control spray or serum on your damp hair, before your blow-dry. You may even want to invest in a good quality electric thermal brush that makes your hair look like you just had a blowout at the hair salon.
Use a hairbrush with natural boar bristles, which helps to disperse your natural oils from the scalp down the hair shaft. Because boar bristles are malleable, they are less lightly to snag on or break your hair strands.
The white flakes that pepper your hair, shoulders and back can be awfully annoying and mortifying. Dark-coloured tops are out of the question as the dandruff is all the more obvious on them. To keep dandruff in check, use a shampoo and conditioner that contains the active ingredients selenium sulfide, pyrithione zinc or coal tar. Use the shampoo three times a week until the flakes clear up. If the problem persists, your doctor may be able to provide alternative options.
When you are expecting your date to lean in for your first kiss, the last thing you need is dry, cracked lips. It is almost instinctive to lick your lips, but all that does is actually dry them out more. For kissable lips at the ready, pucker up and apply a fragrance-free lip balm that offers sun protection and natural moisturisers such as lanolin, beeswax and petrolatum.
Note. For hygiene reasons and to avoid spreading viruses and cold sores, never share lip balm!
Dry, Cracked Feet
There’s nothing attractive about cracked heels when you are traipsing about town in your brand new sandals. For seriously cracked feet, you may want to purchase a cream that contains glycerin. Just before bed, apply a generous amount of the cream over your feet. Then wear a pair of cotton socks and leave this treatment on through the night for smooth, rejuvenated feet.