Understanding how skin impacts self-image
Good Skin Knowledge helped medical students Erika Malana, BMSc, and Meenu Reddy, BS, foster good skin habits for girl scouts.
Erika’s and Meenu’s story
Using the AAD’s Good Skin Knowledge materials, we were able to work with a diverse group of motivated young children as medical student teachers. This allowed us to create a collaborative and interactive environment for girls to foster good habits on skin care while also addressing common misconceptions about caring for skin.
Our group consisted of Girl Scouts who were particularly interested in the different types of plants and bugs in their state, as well as on expectations when encountering dangerous species. While learning about the health impacts of getting bit by spiders or scratched by these plants, we were thoroughly impressed with their positivity and respect toward the many other life forms in our environment.
Furthermore, building skin models helped the girls understand the skin as a complex organ requiring time and commitment for care. Visualizing the layers of the skin impacted by sun damage and consequent skin cancer helped the girls understand the importance of sun protection. They were surprised to learn that sunscreen is important not just on the really sunny days, but also indoors and even on snowy days! We found this opportune moment with the girls extremely impactful as we believe education on diligent sun protection, especially for youth who are consistently active outdoors, is incredibly important.
The models also helped the girls envision how pores and oil glands contribute to acne formation. When it came time to do the “build a pimple” activity, they realized that acne can be a natural aspect of growth and often, is out of one’s control. While sharing stories about self-image and acne, we were in awe of the maturity and empathy the girls expressed toward friends and family with acne even if they had not yet experienced acne themselves. By the end of the session, the girls demonstrated an understanding that pimples are nothing to be ashamed of and that most everyone experiences it at some point.
We were extremely honored to help the girls learn more about caring for their skin and how skin can impact self-image. In a safe and comfortable setting, we focused our efforts on boosting self-esteem and on providing an important support group. We believe that in today’s environment, it is essential for growing young girls to have the opportunity to express self-conscious sentiments and ask questions about their bodies. We are incredibly grateful to the Good Skin Knowledge program for providing that opportunity and for allowing us to take part in educating and hopefully, making a lasting impact on these young girls!
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The Good Skin Knowledge youth education campaign provides free resources to educators to teach children about acne, skin health, and sun protection. Learn more about how you can get involved.Get involved