The skin of a baby is something everybody loves and they wish if they could have got such skin all through the life. But that is not the reality and as a boy or girl moves into adolescence the skin starts to show various problems. Such skin problems can be real worrisome to these young people who are going on to be adults.
These have their sources in the various hormonal changes that the teenagers go through, the change in eating habits and change in their lifestyle as well. Almost all these problems are preventable. The common problems to worry the adolescents are acne, warts, scabies, impetigo and herpes. However, these are not the only worries, there may be other skin infections too and it is best to stay away from practices like sharing clothes and drinking and eating from the same utensils if one wishes to stay away from the contagious problems.
Acne or commonly termed as pimples is undoubtedly the one thing that is a common problem faced by almost all of the adolescents. Since acne can affect any part of upper torso and face, it automatically becomes the worst nightmare of the generally appearance conscious teenagers. It has to be so because the main reason behind the cause of acne is the bodily change that a young girl or boy goes through in the adolescent years.
The hormonal changes makes the sebaceous glands produce more sebum in the skin and this emerges from the skin pores. Acne sets in when these pores get clogged and the skin surrounding the pores gets inflamed. The initial reddening may turn to black heads, white heads, pimples, zits, papules and pustules. Those having a generally oily skin can suffer from acne even at the later stages of life.
The common misconceptions about acne are that they are caused by dirty skin or eating certain types of food. But the fact is that the over secretion of sebum overwhelms the pores in the skin and when they join the overproduced normal skin cells, they plug the pores. This is the ideal environment for overproduction of Propionobacterium acnes, a normal bacteria living in the skin and the cause for redness and swelling in cases of acne.
To stay away from acne, the best measure is regular washing off the oil with plain water. This can be done infinite number of times whenever the skin feels oily. Sometimes holding a hot wet flannel on the face and then gentle washing off with normal soap can prove more beneficial. Avoid pricking, scrubbing and squeezing of acne as these can cause infection and cause permanent marks on the face and body. Any non-oily cosmetics are safe and the over the counter washes and soaps containing sulfur, salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can control mild acne.
Warts are another of the skin problems to disturb the adolescents. These are the small fleshy lumps, colored or black and occur generally on the fingers, under the nails, back of hands and on feet and soles. There are quite a few varieties of warts like the common warts, flat warts, filiform warts, mosaic warts, plantar warts and genital warts. They are caused by any of the 100 odd human papilloma virus or HPV.
The incubation period of these viruses are between one month and one year while some forms of virus may remain dormant for over three months. Warts are contagious and spread by direct contact. Almost two-thirds of the warts go away without treatment. However, topical treatments with chemicals like salicylic acid, formalin and topical retinoids, injections and oral drugs are also administered in some cases. In cases of severe warts, electro-surgery may also be suggested.
Though anyone can get warts, the people who are more likely to get warts are those who frequently wets their hands, who sweat heavily in the hands and feet, those having a habit of biting nails, those swimming in public swimming pools, those with a broken skin surface and those staying in proximity of wart affected.
Scabies is another of the common skin problems that plague the adolescents. It can be called an infestation rather than an infection. Scabies is caused by very small mites called Sarcoptes scabiei which burrow into the skin and lay their eggs. The new mites hatch from the eggs and then spread to other parts of the body. Such spreading is increased by scratching.
Scabies spread with prolonged and direct skin contact lasting about 20 minutes. Since the scabies mites can live away from human skin for 24 to 36 hours, using the infected articles and linen or clothing can spread it. The common symptoms are intense itching which worsens after bath or at night, pimple like rashes and bumps and small clear liquid-filled spots and lesions.
Treatment of scabies involves application of creams or lotions which are specifically made for treating scabies. These are best absorbed after showers and a thin film needs to be applied to the whole of the body for better results. Another important thing is disinfecting all the members of the family as it can spread through them.
Impetigo is skin rashes having red or white pustules that generally appear in the face, neck and hands. It is caused any of the two bacteria, the Staphylococcus aureus and the Streptococcus pyogenes or the group A streptococcus. It is rarely a serious problem apart from creating a bad look. It clears in about two or three week’s time. However, to prevent any complication the doctor may suggest oral antibiotics or ointments.
Herpes is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus or the HSV. This is an infectious disease that can spread even from people who show no visual signs of the condition. One form of the infection is genital herpes and it is generally classified as a sexually transmitted disease. Though some people may show no symptoms, those who show the symptoms show sores near the area where the infection has occurred. These sores may sometimes turn into itchy, painful blisters before healing. Outbreaks of herpes can occur several times in a year and those having repeated outbreaks can sometimes grow immunity to the virus.