Don’t you think it is interesting that your 11-13-year-old son is suddenly concerned about any little bump he sees on his face?
Pimples are one of the first signs that he has entered puberty, and most boys are very self-conscious about them. I think it helps if they understand what is happening in their skin and how they can take care of themselves.
The design of the hair follicle is the reason for the appearance of pimples. But that’s not the whole story.
As puberty ramps up, so does testosterone levels in the blood. Testosterone impacts skin glands by increasing the production of these glands. This anatomy figure, from my book I’m a Boy, Hormones!, describes what a hair follicle looks like.
Notice the hair coursing through the center of the hair follicle. Attached to the hair follicle is a gland called a sebaceous gland. This gland produces an oily product that passes through a tiny duct onto the surface of the skin. Frequently, the duct that opens onto the skin becomes blocked by dead skin cells that are flaking off of the surface of the skin. The oil cannot get out and it forms a little bump that we call a pimple. If your son touches his face near the pimple, it can become infected and will turn red.
This is a great time to teach him basic skin care like washing his face regularly. If he understands why the pores get blocked, it will make it clear to him why he needs to wash his face and shake loose the oil that is stuck in the skin.