Taking Care of Your Body

Skin

During puberty, your skin might get pretty oily. All that extra oil can block your pores (tiny holes in your skin) and cause pimples or blackheads (zits). Most young people get pimples at some time during puberty. Some people get a severe case of pimples and blackheads which is called acne. Acne usually clears up after puberty.

To reduce the onset of pimples:

  • Wash your face with a mild soap and water.
  • Keep your hair clean and brushed off your forehead.
  • Avoid using makeup or use it only lightly and wash it off daily.
  • Don’t use someone else’s make-up (bacteria can spread).
  • Try not to squeeze, pick or shave over pimples. This can cause them to spread, make them last longer, or leave scars. Sometimes if acne is a problem, you might want to see a doctor. If you are concerned about acne talk to a parent/guardian or another adult you trust.

Teeth

Brush your teeth at least twice a day; morning and evening are best, using toothpaste (with fluoride). Floss once a day to remove plaque between your teeth. Remember to brush your tongue. It picks up odours from foods and drinks causing bad breath. It is a good idea to have a check-up with a dentist at least once a year.

Hair care

Just like your skin, your hair might be oilier than it used to be. Wash it regularly to keep it clean.

Body Hair

Both boys and girls will start growing hair in new places: their legs, under their arms, in the genital area (parts between your legs) and on their face. The amount of new body hair that grows and when it starts is different for every person.

Shaving

Not everyone shaves. For some it is a personal choice. For others it is cultural. When to shave, how to shave and how often to shave are things you can talk about with an older sibling, a parent/guardian or another adult you trust.

Body Odour

Both boys and girls start to sweat (perspire) more during puberty especially when active. The changes to your hormones will give your sweat a stronger smell. This is especially true for your underarms and feet. Some things you can do are:

  • Try to wash, bathe or shower and put on clean underwear every day.
  • Use deodorant or antiperspirant. Deodorants cover odour. Antiperpirants prevent sweat from reaching the surface of the skin. Less sweat means less smell.
  • Try to wash your feet and put on a clean pair of socks every day to reduce foot odour.

Taking Care Down There (genitals)

It is important to keep your genital area (parts between your legs) clean. This helps to prevent rashes or infections and to reduce odours.

Boys:

  • use soap and water to wash your penis, testicles (balls)and anus (bum).
  • wash under and around the foreskin (loose skin at the tip of the penis).

Girls:

  • Wash the inside of the vulva (lips) and anus (bum) with soap and water. The inside of the vagina cleans itself naturally. The vagina’s natural cleaning can leave a slight creamy yellow, odourless mucus (vaginal discharge) on your underwear. This is perfectly healthy. Taking regular baths or showers should leave you feeling clean and fresh.
  • Girls should try to wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom. This will stop harmful bacteria from getting into the vagina and causing an infection.

Both girls and boys should wear cotton underwear. Cotton is a natural fibre that allows the skin to breathe and prevents the trapping of moisture that can lead to infections. If you choose underwear that is made of something else, make sure it at least has a cotton crotch.

 


The information contained in this section of the site is from the booklet Growing Up Okay! 
Reprinted with permission from Healthy Child Manitoba Office, 2013.