Teens go through lots of changes during their puberty years. These include physical, emotional and mental changes that can sometimes be overwhelming for both teens and parents. Early on, some of the most frustrating physical changes can be managed with good daily habits of personal hygiene. In this week’s On Call for All Kids, Jasmine Reese, M.D., an adolescent medicine specialist and the director of the Adolescent and Young Adult Specialty Clinic at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, shares helpful tips for parents about teen hygiene.
Puberty for tweens and teens includes hormone level changes that can lead to oily skin, acne, increased sweating, facial hair, leg hair and other changes. It’s a good idea for teens to start practicing the basics of good hygiene and self-care in order to feel fresh, clean and confident, especially when they are headed off to school each day.
Some helpful tips include:
- Daily showers and deodorant use: Showers can be done in the morning or evening but making sure to focus on areas of increased sweat such as the feet and arm pits is a good way to prevent odors and any build of oily skin. People have different habits when it comes to washing their hair. In general, teens tend to have very active sweat glands so washing hair at least every other day can help prevent oil build up and also help prevent acne breakouts. Using deodorant or antiperspirant daily (or more when needed) also will help keep your teen feeling and smelling fresh. Remember to keep an extra deodorant in your backpack or gym bag. For teens who have started or will soon start their menstrual cycle, be sure to have extra personal hygiene products in your bag as well.
- Brushing and flossing: Oral hygiene is super important in order to prevent gingivitis, cavities and the ever noticeable bad breath. Brushing should be done at least twice per day, in the morning and at bed time.
- Washing the “T zone”: There are certain parts of the face that tend to get oily, the forehead, nose and chin. Using face soaps that are non-comedogenic or facial products that are mild cleansers can help keep skin clear. Remember to wash your hands before touching your face to prevent the spreading of germs and bacteria.
- Shaving correctly: Parents should talk to their teens about the right time and right way to shave. Timing is going to be different for everyone depending on their maturity level, how much hair growth they have and how much of a physical burden it is having on the teen. To prevent infection and skin irritation, be sure to never share shavers (not even with family members), avoid dry shaving and use a mild shaving cream.
- Fingernail and toenail care: Ingrown nails can be painful and frustrating. Be sure to trim nails using a clean nail clipper and using the straight across technique. Prevent spreading bacteria and germs by not biting your nails.
If you feel that you are doing the best you can with the above tips and still struggling with oily skin, severe acne, ingrown nails or other hygienic problems, be sure to reach out to your pediatrician who can help you decide on the best next steps to keep you healthy.
On Call for All Kids is a weekly series featuring Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital medical experts. Visit HopkinsAllChildrens.org/Stories each Monday for the latest report.