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Win the battle against acne

In conversation with Dr Rashmi Shetty, dermatologist, where she shares some tips and tricks to win over pimples.

What is acne?

On the skin there are many glands, one of them is an oil gland called a sebaceous gland. The mouth of a sebaceous gland is what you see as a pore. The gland produces an oily content called sebum, which the pores secrete.

If the sebum is not secreted, it becomes a white head. It is called a closed comedone. If the pore secretes oil but it gets stuck because your sebum is thick, then it gets mixed up with the dead cells. The content inside gets oxidized. It becomes a blackhead or an open comedone.

What happens if any of them get infected?

If any of these get infected or inflamed, then it becomes an acne or a pimple. Now it is red, angry, if it is infected it is also filled with puss. It becomes a full-blown acne. Some of them burst, some of them stay inside. They can also become cystic when two or three of them come together.

Is acne and pimples the same thing?

I have lots of teenagers coming and telling me that I don’t have acne but I have pimples, but here is the truth: acne and pimples is the same thing!

When do teenagers start getting pimples?

When you are 13, and whenever your hormone go through change.

What are the other factors involved in having acne?

Hereditary plays a big factor in how things go. Other aspects like your lifestyle, dandruff, body weight, functioning of the ovary, among others. All of these factors contribute to acne.

If a teenager has lots of acne, how does that teenager feel?

I see there is a lot of beating on the confidence, which you guys shouldn’t. I know it is easy said than done. Only a month or two months ago, I met a mom who sat here and cried because her daughter had acne and she returned from school abroad. The young teenage girl had no confidence. I could see the trauma in that kid, therefore the trauma in the mother’s face.

What should a teen do if he/she is fed up of acne?

Firstly, you will grow out of it. Two, go to the doctor. But when you go to the doctor, don’t expect magic to happen.

What is your take on taking tips from fashion bloggers online?

You guys go on the Internet and take tips from bloggers. Some of these bloggers are not even college graduates. Do not take their tips. These are the things that make the situation worse.

At what stage do you need treatment?

You need treatment from day one. Most acne leave the mark back, the acne might go away but the mark will stay. Then you will hate it the rest of your lives and even the best of gadgets cannot erase it away. It is easy to fix is what I am trying to tell you. So go and seek help.

Does exam tension lead to acne?

Any tension leads to acne. Any tension secretes hormones, which helps our body cope with stress. Most of those hormones cause hairfall and acne.

What is the connection between faulty food such as fried food and acne?

The type of oil that you have used to fry it with, the saturated and the unsaturated depending on what it is that you have used. For example; the strips of cinnamon that you dip with chocolate, those are the lethal combinations. There is sugar and fried, that is something you should avoid.

Many teens complain not getting good selfies because they have acne!

SELFIE is not normal. The distance between the camera and your face is not normal. You look fish-faced, which means your nose, lips and eyes look big. That is why your face looks distorted. A phone camera with which you take a selfie is so different from the camera with which models take photo. Do not compare your selfie with a professionally-clicked photograph of an actor or a model. So if your friend or a neighbour has put up a great photo, do not feel bad about it. Second is that all of us have bad days, after all we are humans. Third, don’t stress over it. There are no two people alike. How can you expect two skins to be alike either. You are a teenager, you have your whole life ahead of you. You are beautiful.

What about a platform like Teentalk India?

At our age, we did not have a platform like this. All we had is a mom, dad or an aunt who used to give us advice. Teentalk India is giving you an opportunity to ask experts. It’s even more sophisticated where you know who is answering your question. There is a team who is putting together content and without getting too afraid, follow their advice. When you have a platform like that, you know that you can trust the advice. 

 

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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Expert Speak: Tips to deal with suicidal thoughts

Hvovi Bhagwagar, psychotherapist with a special focus on trauma work.

Could you share an experience of a teenager who has experienced suicidal thoughts?

I have had many cases where teens drop out of college or return to India if studying abroad due to the academic pressure and competition.:

  • They cannot cope with the academic stress
  • They face tremendous peer pressure; the issue of not “fitting in”
  • They realise that their chosen field of study is not for them

There can be many more reasons why teens decide to leave college. But when they do, they feel ashamed for coming back. This can lead to anxiety and depression. Some symptoms to watch out for:

  • They face difficulty in getting out of bed.
  • Have little or no interest in normal activities such as going out with friends.
  • Erratic eating schedule.

Depression and anxiety are reasons why a teen might feel suicidal.

What are the symptoms of depression?

1.It starts slowly. A negative thought pattern takes root in the mind where gloomy thoughts persist. A teen can become negative about the past, present and the future.

2.Restlessness and agitation.

3.Sleeping too little or for too many hours.

4.No hunger pang or over-eating. Teens become irritable.

5.These symptoms do not abate on their own; rather become worse.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

1.Mind pangs of fear, it can manifest in several ways. One might be that they do not want to write exams or do not want to meet a friend.

2.Panic attacks, clammy/sweaty hands. For example, “I do not want to approach situations, they start avoiding new situations.”

3.Problem with sleep.

4.Nausea and frequent headaches.

5.These persist for a pro-longed period of time.

How do you help teenagers cope with suicidal thoughts?

1.Diagnose the problem- Talk to the teenager and understand the depth of depression or anxiety.

2.Tests: Several tests including blood tests.

3.Psychiatrist- If the teen has not eaten for days, lost a lot of weight or is crying continuously, then I refer them to a psychiatrist.

4.Therapy- This involves scheduling activities in an attempt to change their lifestyle.

5.Thinking patterns- The mind is the one who keeps depression where it is. Working with those negative thoughts is the key. The premise is that you can eliminate negative thoughts. The brain can balance out negative and positive data. However in a depressed person, the mind only retains negative thoughts and rejects positive aspects.

I try to make the negative thinking rational. Eg: I did not score 95 per cent and did not meet my expectations, but I did score 80 per cent and topped in English. I try to help them to view positive data.

Are there any side-effects of anti-depressants?

The benefits far outweigh the side-effects. Medicines cannot become addictive. You do not pop a pill and get instant gratification. It takes 4-6 weeks for anti-depressants to settle in the system. Addictive things give you immediate results. Antidepressants enter the blood stream and take time. Also, nobody gives medicine without prescription.

How can parents help their kids who are depressed?

Parents who are very educated also sometimes cannot understand what their kids are going through. A common response from parents is “padai pe dhyan nahi de raho hai, isliye yeh ho raha hai.” Parents can help their kids by being more compassionate and accepting of the fact that depression and anxiety are real problems that need professional help.

How can we combat the stigma surrounding mental health?

Awareness and education are the two ways to combat the stigma surrounding mental health. Teenagers are reading stuff on the internet that makes no sense. Teentalk India is one website that covers all issues and gives well-researched content.

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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Disclaimer: TeentalkIndia does not offer emergency services and is not a crisis intervention centre, if you or someone you know is experiencing acute distress or is suicidal/self harming, please contact the nearest hospital or emergency/crisis management services or helplines.