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Helping teens tackle common skin care problems

As if teens didn’t have enough to worry about, dealing with chronic skin problems can become not only a daily irritation for them, but a serious emotional issue as well.

Teen looking at warts

Experts on skin care and health offer a variety of options to tackle teenage skin problems, from conventional approaches that address symptoms to natural treatments that focus on solving the underlying causes.

Finger warts

These flesh- or dark-colored lumps and bumps are caused by a virus and can grow under fingernails, on fingers, on the backs of hands or even on the soles of feet.

“Warts are very common in teen years, and happen at a time when even a minor imperfection can seem to cause major problems,” says Joel Schlessinger, M.D., President Emeritus of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery.

Tips for treatment: The best way to avoid warts is to avoid biting your nails or injuring your hands. Skin that is injured appears to be more susceptible to the wart viruses. Most warts go away without any treatment within about two years.

There are many treatments, says Schlessinger, such as freezing the growths with liquid nitrogen, burning them off with a laser or a chemical treatment. While the treatments sometimes work, warts can come back.

Eczema/atopic dermatitis

These patches of dry, scaly, reddened skin tend to be more common in young children, but can follow kids into their teen years.

“Many teens involved in sports find their childhood eczema grows worse, frequently aggravated by trauma or by sporting equipment worn on the knees or ankles, for example,” says Schlessinger.

Tips for treatment: Sometimes applying a non-perfumed, heavy-duty moisturizer after showering does the trick. This is particularly important after sports and being in cold weather, which can dry and irritate skin. Apply moisturizing lotion immediately after showering, bathing or swimming.

“If a moisturizer doesn’t help — or if the skin begins ‘weeping,’ oozing or becomes significantly red or itchy, it’s time to see a dermatologist who can prescribe medications that can help,” says Schlessinger.

Natural health practitioners attribute many chronic skin reactions to food or environmental allergens that need to be addressed internally (healthy eating and healthy gut) and externally (eliminating or minimizing allergens).

Up next: Oily skin

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