Self awareness for teens
Now, more than ever, self-awareness is an important factor in a teenage girl’s life. With the advent of social media – especially the likes of Instagram (and I mean that in both the ‘kind of’ and the ‘heart’ sense!) – first impressions and what they look like really count. They feel the pressure to be accepted and to ‘comply’ with how society expects them to be.
Thankfully, we did not allow social media to infiltrate into Grace’s life until she was at the legal age of being able to use the platforms, aged 13. And even now it is starting to have a minor impact.
Grace has become more aware of a few things which have made her a little self-conscious, as she has gotten older. She had several birthmarks when she was little. The majority of these have faded over time but she still has a couple under her nose which flare-up when she is tired or ill.
Grace suffered from eczema when she was smaller which I managed in various ways. I always ensured that I moisturised her skin after a bath. Over the years, the eczema has reappeared sporadically – and it has recently come back over lockdown.
One of the things that Grace has had to manage for the whole of her life is her Keratosis Pilaris. She deals with it brilliantly and has always been very accepting of the condition. I can recall the time that the doctor finally gave us a name for what it was. We were always aware that she had a skin condition. When she was 3, she suffered from a major skin problem when her hair follicles became infected and she had itchy sores all over her body. She needed antibiotics and was very poorly. We have learned since that this was her Keratosis Pilaris spots becoming infected.
HOW TO MANAGE KERATOSIS PILARIS
Believe it or not, Keratosis Pilaris is a very common and harmless condition where small bumps appear on your skin. They happen when your hair follicles become blocked with a build-up of keratin, a substance found in skin, hair, and nails. You usually get patches of small bumps on your arms, thighs, or bottom, but they can appear in other places. The bumps can be red, white, skin-toned or darker than your skin. As a result, your skin can feel itchy and it tends to worsen in the winter.
It can last your whole life, but there are things you can do which may improve your skin and its appearance.
Firstly, you can moisturise your skin. This is something Grace does regularly using Epaderm. We know that, because it is suitable for sensitive skin, it will not hurt her to use it regularly. It is important to use mild and unperfumed soaps and, as Epaderm can also be used as a soap substitute, we know that if her spots are particularly bad then it is the perfect solution.
You could also gently scrub your skin with a washcloth or exfoliating mitt, ensure you have cool or lukewarm showers and baths and pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it after washing.
ECZEMA DUE TO STRESS
Grace certainly takes after her mum. During lockdown, we both realised that we had eczema on our hands and understood that this was down to stress. As a result, we were both able to track it using the Epaderm eczema tracker and apply the cream or ointment, as necessary.
A LITTLE HELP FROM EPADERM
The Epaderm eczema tracker is a great tool which supports parents and helps them to monitor routines, enabling them to keep track of on their child’s skin over time, and see when flare- ups take place, and, in turn, recording progress on the tracker in a, ‘diary style’.
We have been able to monitor our eczema and found that it worsened if either of us used hand sanitiser when entering shops. We also realised that, with the increased washing of our hands, the eczema became more apparent.
As a result of the tracker, we were able to identify potential flare-ups and predict when we may experience a problem. We have continued with our routine of cream in the morning and ointment in the evening and it certainly seems to have kept any major issues at bay.
A TEEN’S FUTURE SELF
Grace is very much at the beginning of her teenage years, I understand she will face many more challenges in the years to come, especially with her self-awareness and self-esteem. With the skin issues she deals with, she feels far calmer and more confident thanks to Epaderm.
You can find out what my fellow ambassador, Kate at Counting to Ten Blog, thinks here.