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Kids Health

Taking Care of your Skin

It keeps your insides from falling out. It helps you warm up when you're cold and can cool you off when you're hot. It lets you feel things by touch. It protects you.

What is this wondrous stuff? Your skin, of course! And what does your skin ask for in return for all the wonderful things it does? Just a little care and consideration. So let's learn how to take good care of the skin you're in.

Why Be Nice to Your Skin?

Like the heart, stomach, and brain, your skin is an organ. In fact, it's the largest organ in your body, but it's still easy to take skin for granted. Unless there's a problem, you may not think about your skin very much. But skin has an important job to do.

Your skin is constantly protecting you. Your skin keeps infections out of your body and keeps you from getting sick. When you take care of your skin, you're helping your skin do its job. And taking care of your skin today will help prevent future problems, like wrinkles and even skin cancer.

Clean Skin Is Happy Skin

One simple way to take care of your skin is to keep it clean. Keeping your hands clean is especially important because your hands can spread germs to the skin on other parts of your body.

When washing your hands, use water that's comfortably warm. Wet your hands, then lather up with a mild soap. You should lather and rub everywhere, including the palms, the wrists, between the fingers, and under the nails. Rinse well, dry thoroughly with a clean towel, and you're done!

You'll also want to use water that's warm, not too hot, when you take a shower or bath. Use a gentle soap to clean your body. Don't forget under your arms and behind your ears! Your face needs attention, especially as you enter puberty and the skin on your face gets more oily. It's a good idea to wash your face once or twice daily with warm water and a mild cleanser.

If you look in the drugstore, you'll see shelf after shelf of skin care products, but kids don't usually need anything more than a gentle soap. Talk to a parent or your doctor if you have questions about what to use on your skin.

If you have dry, flaky, or itchy skin, you might use a moisturizing lotion or cream. When choosing a moisturizer, pick one without a lot of colors and perfumes. Petroleum jelly can work for some kids. If you are worried about pimples, look for a moisturizer that is non-comedogenic (won't cause pimples).

With pimples, you might think that scrubbing your face is the way to get rid of them. But actually, your skin will be less likely to break out if you clean it gently, using your fingertips, not a rough washcloth. If you have trouble with pimples, talk with your doctor about which cleansers are best to use.