read Personal Hygiene: Useful Tips for Adolescents

Personal Hygiene: Useful Tips for Adolescents

personal hygiene for adolescents

Adolescence is a transitional growth phase where a child hits puberty and experiences physical, emotional, cognitive, sexual, and social changes on their way to adulthood. This age typically falls between 10 to 19 years. Piloting through these years can be challenging, especially when the body is experiencing hormonal changes. The physical changes happen quite rapidly and may be overwhelming at times. To help them have a smooth transition, parents must give them sound guidance. 

Personal hygiene is important and teenagers must understand how good hygiene practices can lead to better health. Here are some tips that you might find helpful. 

Bathing every day

1. Hormonal changes in teens lead to overactive oil and sweat glands. This generates body odor and also increases the risk of infections. To avoid this, adolescents must shower daily with a mild soap and clean all body parts, especially the face, hands, feet, underarms, groin, and bottom. 

2. Washing your hair daily has its pros and cons. However, if you have an oily scalp (most teens are likely to have an oily scalp because of overactive sebaceous glands), it is better to wash it daily. This can also prevent acne.

3. Make sure you wash your fingernails and toenails too.

4. As a parent, if you notice your child being excessively conscious about sweating and using too much deodorant or antiperspirant, explain to them that it is normal to have body odor. You may also advise them about wearing clean cotton clothes as they absorb sweat.

5. If your child experiences smelly feet, encourage them to thoroughly wash their feet and dry them before wearing shoes. Advise them to wear cotton socks instead of synthetic ones.

Also read: Hot or Cold Shower: Which One Is Better

Oral hygiene

1. Teens are likely to consume coffee or sugary acidic drinks, which may lead to tooth decay and bad breath. Brushing twice and flossing once every day can help them maintain oral hygiene. 

Acne control

1. About 85% of adolescents suffer from acne. Due to increased activity of sex hormones called androgens, the oil glands produce excess oil. This oil clogs hair follicles and bacteria start multiplying, which causes acne.

2. Acne can appear anywhere on the body — on the face, neck, shoulders, back, and chest. To prevent breakouts, wash your face at least twice a day and take a bath daily. This will wash off excess sweat and oil from the body. If you do suffer from acne, you can also use medication under supervision.

Hair removal

1. Both boys and girls start growing hair on the face, peripheral body, armpits, and pubic areas. As a parent, you should acquaint your child with hair hygiene and with different hair removal methods. 

2. You must also tell them that hair growth is natural and to shave or not is an individual choice.

Understanding body changes

1. Girls need to understand about the development of breasts and how to take care of them. They also need to be told about menstruation, menstrual hygiene, choice of menstrual hygiene products, and frequency of changing and disposing them.

2. Boys need to understand about erections and wet dreams. They also need to be advised on cleaning their genital area and body fluid secretions.

3. Many teens could get sexually active either out of curiosity or to explore their sexuality. Parents must educate their child on the importance of safe sex practices and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. Unless you educate your child on these subjects, they might get confused and curious, turn to their peers or unreliable sources for information. 

How can you inculcate good hygiene practice in teenagers?

Try to make personal hygiene a habit. You can achieve this by doing the following:

1. Children should be introduced to personal hygiene early on and latest by the age of 10. Talk about personal hygiene and its importance from an early age

2. Support your advice with solid information from reliable sources. Do not impose “rules”, which might be counter productive

3. Busting the following teen hygiene myths is important so that they do not succumb to peer pressure:

  1. Shaving makes hair grow faster and thicker
  2. Eating oily causes acne or tanning cures acne
  3. Girls should douche or else they will smell bad
  4. Masturbation causes blindness, hairy palms or health conditions

4. Respect their privacy. This will help develop trust and your child will feel comfortable confiding in you

5. Be a role model to your kids by practicing good personal hygiene yourself

6. Praise and reward them when you see positive changes, and be firm and strict when they don’t

7. Get professional help in case you observe erratic behavior in terms of personal hygiene as it could be an indication of mental health issues

Personal hygiene is vital for good health and must be a part of the daily routine. The earlier children learn this, the better. Adolescent years require increased cleanliness and hygiene because the body at that time undergoes several transformations. As parents, you need to remember that your teen is undergoing hormonal changes, and so be patient while helping them develop healthy habits. 

References

1. Csikszentmihalyi M. Adolescence. Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/adolescence (accessed Apr 5, 2021)
2. Stuebe A, Auguste T. ACOG committee opinion. Obstet Gynecol 2018; 131: 140–50.
3. Remschmidt H. Mental health and psychological illness in adolescence. Dtsch. Arztebl. Int. 2013; 110: 423–4.
4. Griffin RM. Teen Hygiene Tips. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/teen-hygiene#1 (accessed Apr 5, 2021).
5. The Importance of Teen Hygiene. John Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/ACH-News/General-News/The-Importance-of-Teen-Hygiene (accessed Apr 5, 2021).
6. Adolescent mental health. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescent-mental-health (accessed Apr 5, 2021).
7. Stages of Adolescence. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/Pages/Stages-of-Adolescence.aspx (accessed Apr 5, 2021).
8. Checkup on Health. UC Davis Health. https://health.ucdavis.edu/welcome/features/20090909_teen_acne/ (accessed Apr 5, 2021).
9. Teens and Acne. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/what-is-acne (accessed Apr 5, 2021).
10. Hygiene: pre-teens and teenagers. Raising Children Australia. https://raisingchildren.net.au/pre-teens/healthy-lifestyle/hygiene-dental-care/hygiene-pre-teens-teens (accessed Apr 5, 2021).

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