Teens Worry over Good Looks, Acne, Depression,
Skin, Hair, Behavior & Health, etc...
Teenage Health Issues of the Month
Acne in Teenage Children
Acne is one of the most common problems in teenage children affecting almost 20-million teens in the United States. Acne is a skin disorder involving sebaceous glands and hair follicles. Acne results from the clogging of sebaceous glands leading to the formation of pimples and cysts. The condition usually begins with the onset of puberty. Going by the facts, as teens attain puberty the androgens also called male sex hormones are produced in high number leading to sebaceous glands becoming over active which results in sebum being produced in high proportions.
Sebum, which is nothing but body oil is produced by sebaceous glands which travel to the skin surface through hair follicles. But, skin cells block the follicles which results in oil also being blocked. When these hair follicles are blocked it results in the development of skin bacteria known as Propionibacterium Acnes within the follicles which in turn results in swelling of the skin called Acne. If the hair follicles are partially blocked it results in blackheads. If the follicles are completely blocked they result in whiteheads. But if these plugged follicles are not treated they ultimately burst causing the oil, bacteria and skin cells to spill all over the skin resulting in irritation and formation of pimples. Acne can be shallow as well as deep in various individuals depending on the nature of skin and amount of oil produced.
There can be various causes why Acne Rosacea starts in teenage children. Apart from rising hormone levels due to puberty it can also be attributed to other factors like intake of drugs which contain lithium, barbiturates and corticosteroids. Acne can also be caused due to excess grease and oil in the scalp, due to cooking oil and use of some cosmetics can actually alleviate the acne problem. Acne rosacea problems sometimes can be inherited too. Acne is worsened if the pimples are squeezed or scrubbed too hard.
Acne rosacea may be located at most any place in the human body but they most commonly form in bodily areas where there sebaceous glands are present in high proportions like on the face, chest, shoulders, neck and upper back. The symptoms may differ from person to person but commonly seen symptoms are: formation of blackheads, whiteheads, lesions filled with pus and which are very painful and lastly nodules. One may get confused sometimes as symptoms of acne may be like some other skin condition and it is always advised to consult a doctor in this scenario.
There are lots of acne treatments available today to treat acne. The primary goal of the acne treatment is to reduce scars and better appearance. There are various treatments and the doctor decides which specific treatment you need based on: the extent of acne problem, age, medical history, overall health, tolerance to specific medications and procedures, expectations and last but not the least what teenage patients prefer.
Treatment of acne is classified into topical and systemic drug therapies which are given based on extent of severity. In some instances the combination of both the methods might be the way to go for acne treatment. Topical medication is nothing but creams, gels, lotions, solutions etc. prescribed to patients for acne treatment. Some of the examples of topical medication are: Benzoyl Peroxide which kills the Propionibacterium Acnes bacteria, antibiotics helps in stopping or slowing down the growth of the bacteria and also reduces inflammation, Tretinoin helps in stopping the formation of new acne lesions and Adapalene reduces formation of comedo.
Systemic drug therapies involve prescription of antibiotics primarily for the treatment of an acne problem which is moderate to severe in nature. The examples of antibiotics prescribed are Doxycycline, erythromycin and tetracycline. In some cases an oral drug called Isotretinoin is prescribed for teenagers with severe acne problem which shrinks down the sebaceous glands that produce oil. The results are pretty good and almost ninety percent of the adolescents have success with this oral drug. But the drug has some serious side-affects and thus it is very important that one consults a doctor before use.
Hair-Care & Skin-Care are Important for a Teenagers Self-Respect
1. Wash your hair regularly, but only as often as you need to. Washing too often can strip away the natural oils that give teenage hair its nice shine and body.
2. If you see white flakes in your teen hair or on your shoulders, try a shampoo which treats dandruff. Dandruff shampoos are sold near other hair-care products.
4. Try different hair styles and looks. But be careful about using hair products to color or perm hair at home. They have chemicals that can damage your hair. Excessive hair styling with hair-dryers or curling-irons and hair flattening irons can cause your hair to dry out or break.
5. Protect your hair and face (facial and neck skin too) from sun damage by wearing a scarf or wide hat to cover the back of your neck and face.
6. Protect your hair from chlorine (found in most pool water) by wearing a swim cap or rinsing/soaking your hair soon after swimming also helps.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Teenage Children
Obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD starts from adolescence onwards. OCD is feeling of strong obsessions and compulsions which result in intense discomfort and affects daily functioning. Obsessions are thoughts which are persistent and recurrent. They even include unwanted images and impulses which lead to distress and anxiety. These feelings and thoughts are usually irrational or unrealistic. Compulsions are repetitive rituals or behavior such as checking something again & again, or mental acts such as counting. These obsessions & compulsions cause intense distress and anxiety and can interfere with the daily activities, relationships, social activities and academic functioning. The person with OCD thinks that he has no control over his actions. OCDs are relapsing and chronic illness.
The thoughts change as the adolescent and teen grows. Often times younger children suffering from OCD often have thoughts of harm befalling on them and their family such as thief getting into the house through an unlocked door. This will make the children to recheck the door and windows again and again fearing that they might have left the door unlocked accidentally. Teenagers suffering from OCD fear that they might get fall sick due to germs, contaminated food and AIDS. The adolescent develops certain rituals, such as washing hands innumerable times, in order to get over the fear. These rituals help them to think that they have overcome the problem for the time being and give temporary relief. If they do not perform these rituals, they become more and more anxious.
OCD is a sign of brain circuitry’s unusual functioning and it involves the striatum part of the brain. The brain activity patterns of such people differ from normal people and people with other mental disorders. Researchers have concluded that OCD is usually a family problem and is a disorder of the brain. Streptococcal bacterial infection can create or worsen the condition of OCD.
Adolescents with no family history of OCD can also develop it. Most of the adolescents feel embarrassed to talk about their OCDs. They think that people will label them as crazy and this will make them feel ashamed. This will make it difficult for the parents to talk to their children about their OCD, in order to solve them. Parents need to develop good communication skills for this purpose. Parent’s support is also very important to the adolescent. Cooperation is extremely important along with treatment, because if the problem is not treated the adolescent will grow into a disturbed adult.
Most of the adolescents with OCD can receive effective treatment. The treatment can include psychotherapy and intake of medications such as fluoxetine, clomipramine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline and other serotonin reuptake inhibitors. When OCD is caused due to streptococcal infection, the adolescent can be given antibiotics to kill the bacteria which is causing it. Exposure and response prevention behavioral therapy is very useful in solving OCD. In this therapy, the adolescent is wontedly exposed to his/her fears which give him/her obsessive thought. After that he/she is trained to avoid these thoughts and the rituals which he/she carries out to tackle the anxiety.
An adolescent having OCD can also have depression, substance abuse, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, teenage eating disorders, and other types of anxiety disorders. When a person with OCD and other mental illness, is treated, OCD becomes more difficult to treat and even diagnose.