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Puberty causes all kinds of changes in your body as it prepares for adulthood. For the first time, you’ll notice hair growing in new places, your skin and hair may feel greasy and you could start to sweat more. But don’t worry; with a few simple tricks to help stay clean and healthy, you’ll breeze through it.

So, what’s going on?

During puberty, your hormones go into overdrive. Your body is producing more oil, more sweat, and you’ll start growing hair under your arms, on your legs and around your genitals (pubic hair). The result can get quite smelly, so it’s even more important to keep your skin and clothes clean. Your previous personal care routine may no longer be enough to cope.

Puberty can be a sensitive time, and many teenagers are embarrassed to ask for help, so we’ve created some handy tips to make you feel (and smell!) a lot better in no time.

Body Odour

Body odour can be particularly uncomfortable for teenagers. During puberty sweat glands in the groin, armpits and also on our feet become more active, producing more sweat. While fresh sweat doesn’t smell, if left to build up on skin or clothing, bacteria on our skin act on it to cause the characteristic body odour smell. Don’t worry, you can minimise uncomfortable odours by following a good personal hygiene routine:

  • Wash once a day with warm water and soap or shower gel. Pay extra attention to those hairy parts, particularly the armpits and groin where there are many sweat producing glands and where bacteria grow quickly
  • Wear clean clothes every day – especially socks, underwear and anything tight fitting
  • Clothes made from cotton will allow your body breath more easily, which will reduce body odour
  • Take your school uniform and shoes off as soon as you get home from school to give them a good airing
  • Keep sports clothes fresh with a regular machine wash.
  • Change bed linen every week and wash it on a high temperature to kill bacteria and other germs
  • If perspiration is really bothering you, try using an anti-perspirant deodorant on your underarms – it will help mask any odours whilst controlling the amount that you sweat (but remember, it’s natural to sweat a little!)

Greasy Hair

Sweat glands and oil secretions on your scalp can make your hair look lank and greasy. Help control oily hair by washing it either every day or every other day with a gentle shampoo, specially formulated for greasy hair.

  • Massage gently to remove dead skin cells, dirt and excess oil. Don’t scrub too hard as it may damage your hair and irritate your scalp
  • Rinse well with clean water
  • Use ‘oil free’ styling products or ones with a matt finish

Problem skin

Changes in hormone levels can increase oil production and cause greasy skin, blocked pores, pimples and acne. Keep your skin clean and healthy by washing gently twice a day. Rinse off all soap or cleanser with clean water and pat the skin dry with a clean dry towel. Try not to squeeze pimples and make sure you always touch your face with clean hands. Make sure towels and face cloths are laundered regularly so they don’t become a source of germs bacteria.