20 biggest body Qs in GL's history
Got a super awkward bod sitch too embarrassed to tell Mom or Dad? Um, been there. That’s why for the past 20 years, GL has been solving your most blush-inducing Qs. We thumbed through our old issues and picked our 20 fave. From boobs to B.O. and everything in between, here are the answers to your biggest body blunders…
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POSTED IN body, period 101, when will I get my period, tampons, how to use tampons, stress, skin problems, get rid of acne, bust breakouts, sleep, I can't fall asleep, sleep tips, get more sleep, hair problems, my hair is falling out, breasts, boobs fact or fiction, my breasts are too small, my breasts are too big, when will my breasts grow, uneven boobs, sweat, eyes, glasses 101, contacts 101, disease, discharge, what is discharge, dealing with discharge, Your Bod, STDs, braces, In the mag, GL's 20th birthday,
I am going into eighth grade, and I haven’t started
growing breasts yet. When my sister was my age, she already had some. What if
something’s wrong with me?
Lucky for you, this is
nothing to worry about. Girls develop breasts at different times, even until
their late teens. This is even true for those who come from the same gene set,
like sisters. The tougher prob? Learning to stop comparing yourself to your big
sis. The two of you are going to have different interests, different friends,
different bodies. Your life will be a whole lot easier if you accept yourself
the way you are (even if you do end up an A-cup) and save that competitive spirit
for the Mathletes and the soccer team.
Ew, I have little bumps on my arms. My guy pal put
his arm around me and freaked!
Chill. What you probably
have is a harmless condition called keratosis pilaris. It looks like little
dots that are usually white but sometimes red. As your guy friend found out,
the area feels bumpy, dry and sandpapery. It strikes the upper arms, buttocks
and thighs. Why? The genetic condition happens because dry skin doesn’t flake
off like it should. Instead, it gets plugged up in hair follicles and forms
little bumps, explains Dr. Irwin. Moisturize your arms with Vaseline after you
shower. If it doesn’t clear up within a week, move on to stronger stuff. After
bathing, slick on a glycolic acid lotion (Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Lotion
or any 10-percent solution at stores like Sephora) mixed with a dab of
hydrocortisone (the .5-percent kind sold over-the-counter at drugstores). If
that doesn’t do the trick, see a dermatologist for an Rx.
I know that it is normal to have white stuff in your
panties, but is it normal for it to have an odor? And can other people smell
It’s 100 percent normal for
discharge to have a slight odor (and to be super self-conscious about it). So
breathe easy—the smell isn’t strong enough to be detected by anyone. Still, you
can offset any odor by always wearing cotton undies and breathable clothes.
Showering regularly (duh!) and washing the outside of your vagina with mild
soap and warm water helps, too. Keep in mind that the color, texture and amount
of discharge fluctuates throughout the month, so figuring out if something is
truly off can be a little tricky. But if the odor is all of a sudden really
nasty, a color other than clear, white or off-white, or it’s accompanied by
itchiness, it could be a vaginal infection and you should see a doctor right
away. When you’re dealing with down there, it’s always better to go with a pro.
(And don’t worry—they deal with this sort of thing all the time.)
I hate the shape of my boobs! They’re not how boobs
should look. I want them to be perfectly round. How can I change them?
There are so many kinds of
boobs: perkies, droopies, grandés, teenies and lopsies. Hmmm. But there isn’t
really a category for perfectly round. Why? Because they don’t exist in nature!
Like eyes, feet, hips and booties, boobs are different on every female, Dr.
Nardone explains. Yours are unique—totally you. In order to have “perfectly
round,” you’d have to have plastic surgery. And is that what you really want?
Fake breasts are expensive—five grand and up. And when you hug them, they’re
like hard, gel-filled balloons. Plus, the surgery hurts! (Chop, chop—yikes!)
Another point: Not many good, reliable surgeons will even consider doing boob
jobs on girls under 18. So give your boobs a break—they’re still getting used
to this puberty thing. For more shape, try a flattering bra with molded cups,
like those by Le Mystère. And don’t be such a boob to your boobs.
I’m 11 and want to get contacts. My mom says I’m too
young. She thinks contacts will ruin my eyes. Is this true?
Your mom has the final say,
but “most kids start wearing them around age 11 or 12,” says optometrist
Jonathan Goulart, Northwest Eyecare, Freeport, Ill. “As long as you’re
committed to following the care instructions, they are perfectly safe,” he
says. True, dirty contacts or ones worn longer than recommended can cause
infections and even scratch delicate tissue. Your mom might worry that you’re
too young for the responsibility, but a three-year study at Indiana University
found that kids ages 11 to 13 handled contacts carefully and understood how
important it is to keep them clean. Everyone, kids especially, needs to see an
eye care professional to be fitted. Web sites offer contacts, and some drug
stores even sell them. Stay away from these. Ill-fitting lenses can scrape
corneas, while the wrong prescription can make your head hurt. Want
color-changing or wacky-pattern contacts? Those are cool as long as you get
them from a reputable center. More good news is that stories about contacts
getting “lost” in your peepers are purely myth. Plus, the prices keep getting
cheaper—glasses and contacts now cost about the same. Maybe that’ll have Mom
seeing things your way.
Do you have to have intercourse to get an STD?
Nope. The scary truth is that
herpes, gonorrhea, Chlamydia and HIV can be contracted through oral sex (mouth
to genital contact), and you can get herpes and genital warts through touching
(hand to genital contact) and skin-to-skin genital contact (intimate stuff
without intercourse). One way you can't
catch an STD? A toilet seat, that’s just a myth. If you’re worried that you may
be among the 25 percent of teenage girls with an STD, contact Planned
Parenthood (plannedparenthood.org) or your doctor for free, confidential
Every night I lie in my bed for hours unable to
sleep, even though I’m tired. How can I finally get a better night’s rest?
What you’re describing is a classic
symptom of insomnia, or the inability to fall asleep. This can be brought on by
anything from stress to what you had to drink or eat during the day. To catch
some much-needed zzz’s, first try nixing naps and caffeine, which can make you
wired at the end of the day. Then, go to bed and wake up at the same time every
day. If you toss and turn for more than ten minutes, get out of bed and sit in
the dark (sorry, no TV or Internet!) until you get sleepy, then lie back down.
Tried everything? Consult your doctor. He or she can make your sweet dreams
My feet tend to smell really bad. Is there any way to
help this? I’m so embarrassed!
Blame the stink on sweat.
After all, your feet contain 250,000 sweat glands, so perspire more than any
other body part, says Dr. Susan Adham, a pediatrician in Brentwood, Calif. And
the sweatier your feet are, the greater the chance of stinky bacteria parking
itself inside your damp shoes and socks. Ax the odor by wearing fresh cotton
socks and letting your shoes dry for a day after you wear them. Wash your
tootsies with a strong anti-bacterial soap and let ‘em breathe by going
barefoot whenever you’re at home. You’ll have fresh feet in no time.
I’m getting braces soon
and I’m so scared! Everyone keeps telling me how awful they are. What should I
First off, just ignore your
older siblings and cousins’ stories about goin’ the metal-mouth route. That’s
because, just like cell phones, braces have gotten way cooler in the last five
years, says Dr. Katie Graber, an orthodontist near Chicago. The rickety metal
railroad tracks of the past have morphed into colorful, clear, plastic, and
even removable ones. “People who have braces now aren’t telling bad stories,
it’s just older people trying to get them worried,” says Dr. Graber. You—and
your smile—will be more than fine!
I’m having trouble inserting a tampon. When I try
looking down there, I can’t seem to find an actual hole! What’s wrong with
Good news: You’re getting
your period, so there’s definitely a hole down there. All girls are born with a
thin veil of tissue called the hymen, and yours might be covering up part of
your vagina, says Dr. Linda Bradley, Vice Chair of Ob-Gyn at the Cleveland
Clinic. Try spreading your labia (the “lips” of your vagina) wide enough to find
the opening. Still not working? Ask a gyno to help you figure things out.
My hair is thinning and falling out. What should I
Freaked about becoming bald
by 16? Chill. It’s normal to shed up to 100 hairs a day. That said, your
strands should shed individually, not in clumps. Do you use a very hot blow
dryer? Do you dye, straighten or perm your hair often? All these practices make
locks weak and brittle. No? You might suffer from alopecia areta, which 4
million people in America suffer from. “It’s an auto-immune disorder where hair
suddenly stops growing and falls out in a circular pattern,” says dermatologist
Dr. Robert Greenberg. “Hair loss is also caused by severe illness, fever or fad
dieting.” So if you’re shedding daily, relax—no need for Rogaine. If you
experience serious clumping or loss, see a dermatologist.
I have really bad acne scars on my face from popping
pimples. Can I get rid of them?
Now you know not to pop a zit! It almost always makes
the imperfection worse. Say you have a school dance, and a big red honker
appears on the tip of your nose. Don’t squeeze it to death. A dermatologist can
inject a hydrocortisone-like cream to reduce redness and inflammation. Or she
can open up the pimple. Neither procedure leaves scars. Keep that in mind next
time you get the urge to squeeze. Dr. Ronald Davis, clinical professor of
dermatology at University of Texas Southwestern says many scars improve with
time. “Some scars are more noticeable initially because they are red,” he says,
“but they fade in time. They will improve as you get older.” In cases of severe
acne scars, Dr. Davis recommends microdermabrasion, a procedure that removes
the outer layer of dead skin cells to gradually fade the scars. Also, a laser
treatment is now being developed to stimulate collagen that helps fill the
scars in and make them less prominent.
I’m 15 and have gotten my period a total of three
times over the course of a year and a half. I can go as much as nine months
between each period. Is this normal?
There’s really no such thing
as a normal period, period. “It can be normal to be irregular. It depends on
how long it’s been since you started your periods,” says Dr. Endrika L. Hinton,
a gynecologist at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. “Generally, if it has been
more than two years, you should be getting more regular.” If after two years
you are still not on a stable schedule, Dr. Hinton recommends seeing a
gynecologist. “Some of the most common problems can easily be addressed so I
wouldn’t worry, but make sure you see your doctor.”
I have really dark circles under my eyes. I get
plenty of sleep. What gives?
Dreaded raccoon eyes are
often attributed to fatigue and good ol’ heredity. You say you’re getting
enough sleep, but is it quality rest? Are you a light sleeper? Do you go to the
bathroom, like, five times a night? If that’s the problem, a change in your
sleep habits is in order. Skip caffeine six hours before bedtime (even
chocolate!), and establish a relaxing bedtime routine, like reading or taking a
bath. Otherwise, check out your kinfolk for under-eye action. Could be those
pesky circles run in your family. But now for the good news! Under-eye darkness
is way more noticeable to you than to anyone else, and it can be covered with a
concealer that’s a shade lighter than your skin tone. Apply gently under the
eye, blending into skin. Adios, circles!
I have these new lines on my breasts and hips. Why do
I suddenly have them, and how can I get rid of them?
Those lines are stretch
marks. If your body fills out really quickly, sometimes your skin can’t renew
itself fast enough to keep up. So the dermis, the thicker, deeper layer of
skin, thins in the spots where it’s stretched out—like on your breasts, hips
and behind. At first, the new streaks look red. With time, they naturally fade
and turn a translucent whitish color. Now, here’s the good part: If you start
smoothing on creams that contain alpha-hydroxy acids or vitamin C (acne and
anti-aging lotions often have them) while the marks are still pink, they’ll
fade faster, says dermatologist Dr. Karen Grossman. Sure, you might still have
tiny, pale reminders of those marks, but who cares? They show that you’re a
healthy, growing girl!
Whenever I have to talk in front of class, I blush. I
try practicing speeches in front of a mirror, but it doesn’t help. Once I start
blushing, I get even more nervous and it gets worse. What can I do?
Thank your mom or dad for
passing you that gene! According to Dr. Jim Garza, facial blushing is a genetic
condition that can worsen over time. But don’t be so self-conscious about it.
“Blushing can be a big issue to the person, but no one else notices it,” says
Dr. Garza. “Doctors prescribe medications, but they do not work.” If turning
red keeps you from talking to people, your blushing may be a symptom of a more
serious problem called social phobia. See your doctor because there is a cure.
If it’s not holding you back, don’t worry about it. The plus side? You’ll save
money on blush.
I can’t stop biting my nails. I’ve tried bad-tasting
polish and rewards. I’ve even spent my allowance on manicures. Nothing works!
Really wanting to break this
bad habit is the first step to stopping. You already know nail-biting hurts and
looks awful, but did you know it can cause skin infections and make you catch
more colds because you expose yourself to germs? Try the following tips from
real readers who’ve licked the habit for good. Kellie, 14, bought herself a
ring, and she says wearing it keeps her from gnawing her nails. Rosemary, 12,
talked to her mom about her anxiety and went to a doctor to find out how to
manage it. And Alison, 13, carries a nail file and clippers in her bag at all
times and uses them instead of her teeth whenever she’s tempted.
Sometimes when I fart, it comes out of my
vagina. Should I be concerned?
Don't stress about this
awkward sitch. Vaginal farts (aka queefs or varts) happen to almost every girl.
When you workout or dance, the walls of your vagina expand and air can get
trapped inside. "A position change can let the air escape, which sometimes
makes the same noise as a fart," says Christine O'Connor, a gynecologist
in Baltimore. No matter how much the noise makes you cringe, remember: It's
just air and doesn't smell!
None of my deodorants work, even when I use the
strongest smelling ones. My B.O. is so bad! Even my friends tell me I smell.
What should I do?
You have puberty to thank
for your new personal scent. Sweat, your body’s way of cooling itself off,
doesn’t usually emit an odor until you hit 10, 11 or 12. That’s when your
aprocrine glands, located under your arms and around your privates, go into
action. These glands regulate your body temperature, but they also produce a
milky, oily kind of perspiration. The problem is bacteria thrive in this type
of sweat, causing offensive body odor, explains dermatologist Dr. David
Leffell, a professor at Yale University. Try his tips for staying stink-free:
1) Wash daily with an antibacterial deodorant soap, such as Lever 2000. 2)
Always wear clean clothes that are free of old sweat and bacteria. 3) Use a
deodorant that’s also an anti-perspirant—it covers odors and dries up moisture. 4) Cut down on caffeine, which sends your
aprocrine glands into overdrive. 5) After bathing, dust your body with a light
talcum powder to absorb moisture. 6) Drink plenty of water to flush
weird-smelling toxins from your system. Still smelly? See a dermatologist. It’s
not uncommon for some girls to need a stronger prescription deodorant to take
care of the prob.
I have bad breath and I hate it! I brush my teeth
when I wake up, after meals, and before I go to bed, but nothing works. Help!
Assuming you’re laying off
the garlic and onions, your bad breath may be a sign of an imbalance in your
bod. Halitosis—the technical term for bad breath—can be caused by everything
from bacteria in your stomach to a respiratory infection. Go to the dentist to rule out any issues with
your teeth or mouth, says Dr. Sandra Moldovan, a dentist near Los Angeles. From
there, you can determine the next steps to freshen up your breath.