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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…

 

 

  • 1boobsgrow.jpg

    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.

  • 2armbumps.jpg

    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.

  • 3discharge.jpg

    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?

    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.)

  • 4boobs.jpg

    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.

  • 5contacts.jpg

    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.

  • 6std.jpg

    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 testing.

  • 7sleep.jpg

    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 come true.

  • 8feet.jpg

    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.

  • 9braces.jpg

    I’m getting braces soon and I’m so scared! Everyone keeps telling me how awful they are. What should I do?

    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!

  • 10tampon.jpg

    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 me?

    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.

  • 11hair.jpg

    My hair is thinning and falling out. What should I do?

    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.

  • 12acne.jpg

    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.

  • 13period.jpg

    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.”

  • 14dark_circles.jpg

    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!

  • 15hips.jpg

    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!

  • 16blush.jpg

    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.

  • 17nailbiter.jpg

    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.

  • 18queef.jpg

    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!

  • 19BO.jpg

    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.

  • 20badbreath.jpg

    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.

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