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Teen Girls' Health

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5 Embarrassing Body Changes for Teen Girls

Your period, acne, body odor, unwanted hair, and more.

5. Acne

Boys tend to get worse acne than girls, because their skin makes more oil, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be spared. Almost everyone gets acne at some point during their teen years.

With acne, as with sweat, it’s bacteria that are causing the problem. So for most mild to moderate cases of acne, you can keep it under control by:

  • Washing gently twice a day with a cleanser that’s specifically for the face. Scrubbing your face can worsen acne and irritate the skin.
  • Using a topical (applied to the skin) over-the-counter acne treatment containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid
  • Using makeup with the label “non-comedogenic.” That means it doesn’t clog the pores, which can aggravate acne
  • Not avoiding sunscreen. It’s a myth that baking in the sun will dry out your acne (it’ll just put you at risk for skin cancer), and there are plenty of non-comedogenic sunscreens that don’t clog your pores.

Talk About It

Through all of these changes, what you really need is someone to talk to. Yeah, bringing up your period to mom might seem like as much fun as walking through school with a giant zit on your nose, but you might be surprised how much she’ll understand.

“To get past the embarrassment factor, one thing you can do is bring it up in the car,” Madaras says. “It’s much easier because you don’t have to look at each other. And try introducing the subject by asking about their experiences first, rather than plunging into yours: ‘When you were my age, were you nervous about getting your period? Did Grandma ever talk to you about using deodorant?'"

If your parents are totally useless, or you're not comfortable going there with your Mom, that doesn't mean there's no one you can talk to. Try a favorite teacher, your aunt, a cool guidance counselor, or maybe your best friend's mom.

Madaras also recommends thinking about strategies for how you’ll manage the embarrassing stuff ahead of time. What if the hot guy from chemistry class sees you buying a box of sanitary pads? What if you realize you’re sweating up a storm after gym class and you don’t have any deodorant? “What would you do if that happened? How would you survive the experience?” Madaras asks. “It’s easier to handle things if you aren’t taken by surprise.”

Remember, all your friends are worrying and wondering about these things, too. “I get letters and e-mails all the time from girls asking if the size of their nipples is normal, if their period is normal, if their pubic hair is normal,” Madaras says. "And you know what? Almost every single time, it is.”

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Reviewed on June 17, 2011

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