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Say 'no' to snow! (Body).

Why do I have dandruff, and how can I get rid of it?

Snow? Oh, no! Most people think dandruff is caused by dry skin, but here's the real deal: Au of us have a harmless little fungus living on our scalps, explains dermatologist Dr. Hilary Baldwin. Sometimes, this fungus can cause our scalps to shed skin cells too quickly. These cells are really sticky and form tiny globs of skin called dandruff. While these white flakes won't hurt you, dandruff can be embarrassing, especially when you're wearing a dark-colored shirt! Luckily, it is easy to control with anti-dandruff shampoos. They keep that little fungus at bay, making your scalp less flaky. Look for dandruff shampoos that contain ingredients like salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione, sulfur or selenium. After diligently lathering up for a week, you should have a flake-free head--and shoulders. If the flakes come back, you should probably use a dandruff shampoo on a more regular basis.

I've had my period for a year, and it's still irregular. Sometimes I have an 18-day cycle; other times, a 31-day cycle. What's up?

Well, that is sporadic, but it's not unusual! Once you start menstruating, it can take up to two years for your body to adjust. In that time, your period might come and go as it pleases. Why? Your body is not producing hormones at even levels yet, explains Dr. Charles Wibbelsman, author of The Teenage Body Book. While it's annoying now, just be patient. Your body is working hard to get on a more regular schedule, we promise. Meanwhile, carry an emergency stash of supplies for unexpected periods.

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!

All of a sudden, I have an icky odor down there! What is wrong with me?

Every girl has her own unique scent, which no one else can detect (we swear). Your vagina has a lot of sweat glands, which produce a slightly sweet smell. But if the odor is suddenly more noticeable or seems slightly fishy, see a doctor. Embarrassed to talk to a doc about it? Don't be. Your doctor deals with this stuff every day and is there to help you. What you don't want to do is overwash your tender tissues. Odor is almost never due to poor hygiene, explains Dr. Elizabeth Stewart, author of The V Book. Meanwhile, scented soaps, sprays and deodorants can make the problem worse. The chemicals in these products can kill "good" bacteria, Dr. Stewart adds. Washing with warm water and a mild cleanser like Cetaphil is all you need to do to keep yourself super clean.

Stumper of your own? E-mail it to questions@girlslife.com or write to Body Q&A Girls' Life, 4517 Harford Road Baltimore MD 21214.
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Title Annotation:questions on dandruff, menstruation and hygiene
Author:Kemp, Kristen
Publication:Girls' Life
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2003
Words:599
Previous Article:She's a natural.
Next Article:Sweet on geeks. (Guys).
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