May 2012

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live with family Ask Doctor Mom Exposing skin health for teens By Kari Hegemon Our skin is our largest and most visible organ and deserves delicate care. But when it comes to teens, many need guidance in creating healthy habits to protect their skin from damage, acne, skin cancer and more. One of the fi rst areas of defense? Sun Schaefer's Q& A 24 BRAVA Magazine May 2012 Insider Top Reads for Tweens What books does this author recommend for tweens? Try "What the Dog Said" by Randi Reisfeld, "When You Reach Me" by Rebecca Stead, or "Breadcrumbs" by Anne Ursu. How local author Laura Schaefer speaks the language of tweens While many associate the tween years—from about ages 8 to 12—with sassy attitudes and rocky transitioning, Madisonian Laura Schaefer has channeled the more wholesome side of growing up. As author of "Th e Tea Shop Girls" and its sequel "Th e Secret Ingredient," two novels following girls working in a tea shop and baking up a storm, she tackles issues such as friendship and young love without all the catty drama. Now busy with a growing series of lively travel e-books written for a young audience, she continues to inspire tweens to see the world through a different lens. What kind of message do you hope to offer your young, mostly female, audience? At the time I started conceiving my books I saw how [particular teen] books like 'Gos- sip Girl' glamorized clothing designers and mean behavior. My books are saying, 'Here's another way. Here's what I think girls should know about it.' It's about good local food, supporting local restaurants and being healthy in terms of health—not just skinniness. What has your writing taught you about tween life today? I think tweens are looking for positive things in culture that refl ect them. Tween culture really varies and we should respect that. There aren't many travel guides like yours—written for tweens about locations from New York City to Disneyland—on the market. What do you hope to accomplish? It's really about empowering kids to be involved in planning trips. Th ese are written in the right language so that kids can get excited about upcoming trips and have a say in what the family does. And as e-books they can check the guides on phones or a laptop to make sure they've seen everything they wanted to. protection. With summer knocking at the door, there's no better feeling than letting our skin soak in some rays. And even though small amounts of sunlight are important for getting vitamin D, it is still crucial to enforce sun protection for the health of skin. Teens don't often think about future skin damage and cancer. In fact, they often seek out a healthy glow all year long with the use of harmful indoor tan- ning booths. Tanning beds are considered class-1 carcinogens, meaning they could cause cancers such as malignant melanoma, the most common cancer in 25 to 29 year olds. Encourage your teen to limit tanning exposure and always wear sunscreen with a high SPF. Another common issue is acne. I try to address skin care at every adoles- cent physical, but acne, in particular, can be like the elephant in the room. They know it's there, but they usu- ally don't want to talk about it. When acne is an active problem, I stress the importance of prevention, plugging for sun protection and advising even those with clear skin to start a simple skin care regimen of a gentle, daily cleanser followed by a noncomedogenic, oil-free facial moisturizer with SPF 15-30. I also encourage teens to keep their hair pulled back and hands off their faces. The goal is to recognize acne early, treat it appropriately, and minimize the need and duration of oral treatments such as antibiotics, contraceptives or Accutane. Once teens have acne scars, it is often too late to make their skin perfect again. And no matter what the skin problem, prevention remains the best medicine of all. Dr. Kari Hegemon is a pediatrician at Dean Clinic and mother of six. Photo by Laura Malischke Photography

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