Q: I am a 13-year-old male and I have a visible moustache. Is it normal to be shaving at my age? Do you have any tips for someone just starting to shave?
A: Hair on the upper lip and sides of face (sideburns) is not at all unusual in young adolescent boys. Facial hair begins about the same time as other changes of puberty begin. As far as tips for shaving are concerned, remember that you probably will be shaving for the rest of your life. Therefore, you may want to try to "vacation" from shaving as much and as long as possible. Until you develop a definite beard, perhaps you could shave only when you are trying to look particularly nice. Incidentally, shaving doesn't make your hair grow more quickly or in larger amounts -- it just makes the hair more bristly or stubby.
On the other hand, if you enjoy shaving now, go for it. It won't hurt you -- unless you have bad acne. In that case, you should shave as little as possible.
If you have a father, older brother, uncle or a male teacher, they can also offer tips and instructions.
To have TeenGrowth's board of physicians answer your health question, visit the Web site (www.teengrowth.com) or e-mail feedbackteengrowth.com. TeenGrowth is a non-commercial Internet site that focuses exclusively on the educational health issues of adolescents.