It helps our sons to have a visual to help them learn new concepts. This is an anatomy figure from my book, I’m a Boy, Hormones! that describes what a hair follicle looks like in the skin.
The reason your 11-years-old and older son benefits from learning about his skin is because many boys have issues with pimples. If they understand why pimples form, they are more likely to take better care of their skin. Here are the highlights.
- The central structure is the hair follicle. A hair grows out of the middle of the hair follicle.
- Attached to the hair follicle is a sebaceous gland. This gland produces an oily substance that flows through a pore in the skin and coats the surface of the skin.
- Old skin cells can block the duct of the sebaceous gland and the oil gets stuck inside. This forms a bump under the skin and that is a pimple.
- Blocking the duct is only part of the problem. If your son touches the pimple, bacteria can get inside and then the pimple becomes red because it is fighting an infection.
- The sebaceous gland does not start producing oil until puberty because these glands need testosterone to make them start working and support them throughout life.
If your son simply washes his face every day, it will certainly help the pores in his skin to stay open and the oil to flow easily out of the sebaceous gland duct.
There is also a genetic component to pimple formation that can go beyond simply keeping his skin clean. But it certainly helps to have good hygiene.