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Title: The Bod Squad

CosmeticsAcne ProductsBreath Fresheners
Novelty Contact LensesMiracle Enhancers

Some things to think about before buying stuff marketed to teens.

Cosmetics, Shampoos and Styling Productsnail polish
You don't have to buy an expensive brand to get the best result. Consumer Reports magazine, which tests and compares products, has often found that some of the cheapest brands work as well as the expensive ones. The ingredients are often identical--check the label and see! Don't waste your money on fancy packaging.

Acne Products
boy with pimpleAlmost everybody gets some acne. Don't let it make you so desperate you spend all your money trying every acne product in the drugstore or "miracle skin products" advertised on TV. If you've got a serious acne problem, see a dermatologist. There are prescription treatments that can help. Get more information about acne at AcneNet: www.derm-infonet.com/acnenet/index.html

Breath Fresheners
Before you spend a lot of money on mouthwashes, breath mints and breath-freshening strips, think about how long you brush your teeth. 15 seconds isn't enough. Make it two minutes, and floss! Bad breath can be caused by decaying bits of food caught in your teeth (gross!) Did you know you should brush your tongue, too? Lots of odor-causing bacteria live there too.

Tattoos: Still a Major Commitment
tattooMaybe you've heard that you can "un-do" a tattoo with laser removal, so getting one is not such a big deal.

Unfortunately it's not that easy. Laser tattoo removal is somewhat painful, requires several treatments, and is very expensive. A tattoo you paid $75 to get might cost $2,000 to remove! Also, some tattoos can't be completely removed, depending on what color inks were used and how deep the ink was injected.

Fat-Burners and Performance-Boosters
"Natural product burns fat away!""Improve your stamina and endurance!"
Don't waste your money or risk your life on products that promise to make you thinner or stronger. They can be dangerous.

You may have heard about how Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler died in January 2003 while taking a weight-loss product that contained ephedra, a stimulant that can raise body temperature and increase your heartbeat. Like many athletes and some teens, he was using a dietary supplement to try to improve his performance. He was one of the unlucky ones–and you never know if that could include you.

arrow pointingDid you know that there are no safety guarantees with these products? You might think that because they're sold in grocery stores or health food stores that they've been tested for safety by the government. But they're not. Don't be a guinea pig!

True or False? "Natural" means a product is safe.
False. Many "natural" substances can be toxic (arsenic, lead) or cause allergic reactions. Ephedra is natural.

Tanning parlors may tell you that the type of ultraviolet radiation from their lamps is not harmful. It isn't true. UV radiation from any source can be harmful.

Novelty Contact Lenses
Don't use contact lenses unless an eye doctor has prescribed them for you. Some teens have bought "novelty" contact lenses to change the color of their eyes or to make them look like an alien for Halloween. It's very risky because you can have an allergic reaction, an infection, or develop an ulcer on your cornea, possibly leading to scarring or blindness.

Miracle Creams and Enlargers
Exercise machines, creams, and hormone products that promise to enlarge or decrease any part of your body are preying on your insecurities and making phony promises. Don't waste your money on them.

TeensHealth website, www.teenshealth.org, offers information about health, food and fitness, drugs and alcohol, diseases and conditions, school and jobs, and staying safe.

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