Simplifying Science

From the TED Stage

I was thrilled to share my thoughts – and preview my new book – at TEDx Crossroads

We live in a world where we are incredibly sensitive to the needs of our young girls as they enter puberty. Tween and teen girls have found their voice, and the culture hands them a microphone. Meanwhile, our boys tend to go the opposite way, growing quiet as they physically transform. Our focus on the needs and issues of tween and teen girls (a great thing!) has left our boys neglected. In a preview of her forthcoming book, New York Times best-selling author and pediatrician Cara Natterson explains why this must change…WATCH THE VIDEO

Cautionary Tale

This is one child’s story, a cautionary tale. I usually post studies or articles about studies, but sometimes the trajectory of one person speaks louder than statistics about hundreds or even thousands. Or at the very least it speaks in a different tone. And so I am sharing with you, and I think this is one to pass along to your teen and tween kids, too...

Luka Kinard knew his vaping habit was out of control when it started costing him $150 a week.

“I was selling my clothes,” Kinard, a 15-year-old high school sophomore, said. “I would get shoes, sell them, go out get cheap shoes, sell them. I was doing anything and everything to get money.”

His parents noticed when his grades started plummeting. READ MORE


Almost every tween or teen is going to deal with it sometime, somewhere (face, chest, back, AKA bacne). Really, it’s the rare kid who goes completely unscathed. This piece has some good basic info but it totally buries the lead, IMO. Because every kid I know - and that includes my own - is highly motivated to do something about it. They want the basic info shared here, but they also want strategies. So here’s what we do in my house:

1. Face washing and tooth brushing happen together, twice a day - it’s just a habit, so get used to it. We change up the cleanser from time to time. I haven’t found a perfect one quite yet, but I am a big believer in clean products with no colors, perfumes, parabens, you know the list...

2. Sunscreen in the am, and a mild exfoliant in the pm. One of my kids has trickier skin than the other, so we have had to change up the routine with different post-cleansing ingredients. Talk to your pediatrician or dermatologist. The general approach is to try something for a couple of weeks, see if it works, and if not try something else. Annoyingly, this is the gold standard.

3. Steam! Best part of the ritual is a post-cleansing steam every few days that my son - yes, my son, even more than my daughter - loves. No dermatologist has ever recommended it to me but it seems to work wonders. Just pour a little boiling water on a washcloth, covering an area about the size of your hand, and let it cool for a moment. Then wave the steamy (it shouldn’t be so cool that it doesn’t steam) towel over the face, close but not touching the skin. You don’t want to burn the face, and a super hot towel or even high-intensity steam can do that. Once the damp towel cools down significantly, drape it over the face for a few seconds and the gently wipe away the water that has settled on the skin.

4. And finally, water in the body, not just on the skin!! This one gets 2 exclamation points because, again, no one ever mentions it. A clean diet low in sugar is important for good skin, but drinking water is just as critical, maybe more so. When my kids are well-hydrated, I see it on their faces in so many ways. And let me tell you, when the acne crops disappear they are motivated to drink even more.

Got your own tips? Please share!

Acne appeared sporadically at first when Sophia Steinberg was in the eighth grade, but within two years she said her face, chest and back were covered with embarrassing lesions of cystic acne.

“I was very self-conscious, deeply insecure and anxious,” Sophia, a Brooklyn high school student, told me. “I would wake up ashamed for my face. I felt so unattractive all the time. I had to use so much makeup and wear concealing clothing. I avoided doing presentations in front of the class...READ MORE

Plastic Surgery for Kids?

There's a good amount of debate on this topic, though much of it happens in hushed tones. Happily, Grown and Flown has raised the volume by posting a great essay on the topic. Included is a nod to the social media impact here: social media may be driving some of this trend... but it also provides support for those who are struggling and need a self-esteem boost or a sense of community over a surgery.

At the root of this debate, it is important to remember that not all cosmetic procedures are created equal. Sure, some are driven by exaggerated beauty ideals, but many help to correct congenital deformities, hide the scars of trauma, or fix cosmetic issues that have major health implications, too. That said, there are age cut offs for many of these surgeries which parents (and kids!) need to know. Why? Because a breast reduction won't work if the breasts are still growing, for one.

What do Selena Gomez’s nose, Kylie Jenner’s lips, Justin Bieber’s chin, and Ariana Grande’s cheekbones have in common?  They are some of the most gazed-upon facial features in the world, and therefore are some of the most coveted looks, according to both Instagram – and and plastic surgeons.

It shouldn’t be at all surprising that so many of our teens today consider altering their faces and bodies, when they spend hours…READ MORE


Happy new year, from the third week of January. How are those resolutions going?

Statistically speaking, if you have stuck with your resolve, you are doing pretty darned well. By the end of the month, one third will have been broken; by summer it’s well over half. But take heed! Resolutions may be meant to be broken, but goals are meant to be reset. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s a saying for a reason.

New year’s resolutions boil down to a time-driven excuse to make a life change. And topping that list, in some way, shape or form, is health. (Okay, in 2018 the #1 slot was occupied by “saving money,” but “losing weight” or “getting in shape” came in a close second). By the way, there’s nothing magical about changing on Jan 1st. There’s just momentum around it, ritual, and this enhances the resolve. But if you’re reading this on any other day of the year, you can still resolve to make a change. READ MORE

Book Sale on Barnes & Nobles

I am thrilled that B&N has included my books in their “This Year I Will Be My Best Self” recommendations (and at a 50% discounted rate to boot!). Wishing you and your family a year filled with many wonderful moments to cherish... and lots of body talk of course.


An Allergy Revolution

The past several weeks have seen a flurry of breakthroughs on the allergy front. One study looked at how many kids actually have food allergies vs. the number whose parents think their kids do. Another revealed that, though the parental reflex of “cleaning” a child’s dropped pacifier by sucking it may be gross, it also might have real benefits. And a third shows amazing results from a drug trial treating peanut-allergic kids. Taken together, this one-two-three punch signals major progress when it comes to food allergies… READ MORE