As your kids hit puberty and begin their tween and teen years, personal hygiene requirements begin to change along with their growing bodies. When is deodorant needed? At what age should a child start shaving? You may have all of these questions and more. Read on for recommendations and guidelines for personal hygiene basics for teens.
An increase in body odor is a normal part of puberty and becoming a teenager. These changes can occur as early as age 8 or 9 for young girls and boys. Luckily, deodorants and antiperspirants can help control sweat production and mask body odor. When you begin to notice that distinctive odor, try to look for a product that is aluminum-free, and encourage your teen to add it to their daily routine.
Due to hormonal changes, teens are the most at risk of developing skin issues such as acne, cystic acne, and blackheads. Acne can be as painful as it is unsightly, so proper skincare is crucial. Teens should be taught a basic skincare routine, including facial washing with products formulated for oily or combination skin. Booking an appointment with a dermatologist can also help, as a prescription may be needed in severe cases.
Hormonal changes also tend to create issues with oil and odor on the scalp and in the hair. Showering daily is especially important for teenagers — even those who may have been able to get away with skipping a bath here and there as a child. Teens may need to be encouraged to shower and change into fresh clothes after daily activities such as sports and exercise. For some teens, washing their hair can be done every other day in order to avoid stripping the hair of too much oil.
Teenage boys typically begin growing the first signs of facial hair around the age of 15, although it may take quite some time before a daily shaving habit becomes necessary.
Most girls will begin to show an interest in shaving their leg hair around the age of 13. In addition to their legs, teenage girls may begin experiencing peer pressure to groom other areas of body hair, such as their eyebrows, upper lip, underarms, and bikini area.
While trimming all new hair growth is not medically necessary, teens may feel more comfortable fitting in with their peers if they remove hair in unwanted places. All teens should be taught about safe razor use and the importance of never sharing razors with others. Shaving alternatives such as special bikini trimmers, waxing, and other hair removal products can be shared with your teen as well.
While some teens may have slacked off on caring for their baby teeth, it is now crucial to understand the importance of oral hygiene. Many teens have braces, retainers, and other orthodontic appliances that require special care and attention to cleanliness. Brushing and flossing should occur at a minimum of twice a day, ideally after every meal, and a visit to the dentist at least annually can help identify and prevent any issues early on.
Along with puberty comes the necessity for teen girls to learn the basics of understanding and caring for their bodies during their menstrual cycle. Teens should be taught how to track their periods, how to safely use sanitary pads or tampons, and what to expect during their monthly cycles.
To encourage good hygiene in your tweens and teens, start the conversation early and model the behaviors you wish to see. Keeping a clear and open line of communication with your teen is important to prevent feelings of body shame or embarrassment.