Healthy lives for young people
My Body

Keeping clean

Puberty causes all kinds of changes in your body and you may need to change the way you keep yourself clean and take care of your body.

Your skin and scalp may suddenly get greasy. Every day you seem to have new hair growing in different places. Sometimes, you seem to sweat for no reason and you may notice new smells from your body.

Spend some time looking through these pages and if you can’t find the information you’re looking for here, you can find your nearest Brook service.

Oily hair

The hormones that create spots and acne are the same ones that can make your hair oily. During puberty, when the sebaceous glands (which are mostly found on the face and scalp) produce extra oil, it can make your hair look shiny, oily, and greasy. You may need to wash your hair more often, or try out hair products specially formulated to help control oily hair.

Sweat and smells

In puberty, your sweat glands become more active than before and they begin to secrete different chemicals into the sweat that has a stronger smelling odour. You might notice this smell coming from your armpits, your feet or your genitals.

The best way to keep unpleasant smells away is to bathe or shower every day using a mild soap or shower gel and warm water. This will help wash away any bacteria. Wear clean clothes, socks, and underwear each day to help you feel clean. If you sweat a lot, you might find that cotton or other natural materials will help absorb sweat more effectively than man made fibres and be less smelly.

If you’re worried about the way your underarms smell, you can try using a deodorant or deodorant with antiperspirant. Deodorants get rid of the smell of sweat by covering it up, and antiperspirants actually stop or dry up perspiration.

Body hair

Whatever your gender, you can expect hair to start growing on your body – particularly under your arms and on your legs. Some people prefer to remove body hair, including pubic hair. There are lots of different methods of hair removal, including waxing, shaving, electrolysis, sugaring and lasering. Or you might feel more comfortable just leaving it. Always remember that your body is your own and it’s up to you what you want to do with it, and that includes how much or how little hair you’d like on it.

Men can expect to start growing facial hair when they are about 16 or 17 – sometimes it starts a bit younger, and sometimes it starts a little later. If you have dark hair, and even after you’ve shaved you might be able to see a shadow of darkness where the stubble is going to grow back. If you have lighter hair, you might not really see any stubble or hair on your face.

If you do decide to shave you have a few different choices. You can use a traditional razor with a shaving cream or gel or you can use an electric razor. If you use a regular razor, make sure the blade is new and sharp to prevent cuts and nicks. Shaving cream and gel are often a better bet than soap because they make it easier to pull the razor against your skin. Some razors contain shaving gel right in the blade area, making even beginners feel comfortable shaving.

Shaving is tricky on areas of your body with lots of curves and angles. It’s easy to cut yourself if you move too fast. Follow the instructions carefully.

Some young women may also find that they have more facial hair, and can find it really worrying. There are lots of products made for facial hair, from bleach that lightens the hairs to reduce their visibility to facial hair removers. There are oil-free facial moisturisers that contain substances to make facial hair softer and less noticeable.

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