Q My son feels embarrassed because he sweats excessively. How can I help him to handle this?
A Excessive sweating (ES) or hyperhidrosis is a disorder whereby the body sweats excessively in areas such as the hands, face, feet or torso. Kids are particularly susceptible to ES at the armpits after the onset of puberty. ES is embarrassing as it can stain clothes and complicate even simple social interactions, such as a first date. Severe cases can also have serious consequences, making sufferers unable to even hold or shake hands. ES can appear inexplicably even in healthy persons. Heat, nervousness and anxiety can trigger aggravated sweating. Get your son to wear loose-fitting clothes or apply an antiperspirant. If the problem gets out of hand, bring him to a doctor — there is a wide range of treatments available, ranging from medication to surgery.
Q My daughter is plagued by foul body odour. What should she do?
A Body odour (BO) is caused by the release of foul-smelling chemicals when bacteria feeds on sweat and breaks it down. Areas such as the armpits and genitals are more likely to produce BO as glands at these places produce substances that bacteria feed on. These glands usually become active after puberty. BO sufferers can get so accustomed to their own smell that they don’t notice it. This can be quite embarrassing in a social context. However, BO is easily treated (you don’t need any medication) and your child can reduce it with simple lifestyle adjustments:
• Wear fresh clothing every day, no matter how “cool” yesterday’s outfit looked.
• Take regular showers — at least once a day.
• After a shower, apply antiperspirants and deodorants to stem the onset of BO.
• Wash clothing under high temperature, then dry quickly.
Q My son’s face is a pimply mess. Is there anything that will help?
A Acne is caused by many factors, such as an overproduction of sebum, inflammation of the skin due to a bacterial buildup and hormonal changes. Young people going through puberty and hormonal changes are prone to pimples. Acne can dampen a young person’s confidence, make him withdraw from his peers, and even give him poor self-esteem. Get your son to manage the problem by being extra-vigilant in his regular cleansing and skincare regimens. Medical treatments include topical treatments like benzoyl peroxide and antibiotics, oral treatments such as hormonal therapy, and in severe cases, dermatological procedures to improve the sufferer’s quality of life. But note that while all these methods help to clear acne, there is unfortunately no quick-fi x solution that can clear pimples straightaway.