When you’re a woman, you are constantly exposed to scrutiny about appearance. Hair, skin, weight, height – it’s all under the radar because magazines and society make us feel we should look a certain way to be beautiful. When you’re a teenager – and especially a teenage girl – that kind of exposure can cause all sorts of self-esteem issues at a rather vulnerable time of life. Teenagers are melting pots of hormones and angst. Body changes, social pressures, and schoolwork are all combined to make a person in life’s biggest ‘in between’ feel insecure and frightened. Teenagers are dealing with all the pitfalls of puberty while trying to cope with friendships and balancing relationships at home – it’s by no stretch an easy thing to cope with!
If you are dealing with a teenager at home, it’s going to be up to you to make sure that they are coping well with the changes in their body during puberty. It’s a confusing time in life and hormones on top of the changes that they will experience make everything an awful lot harder. One of the biggest changes that a teenager has to cope with is the new rules with personal hygiene. They’ve gone from getting in the bath once or twice a week with daily face and neck washes to dealing with smells and greasy skin and hair! Getting your teenager into the habit of daily showers, more regular hair washing, and an acne skincare routine won’t be easy, but it’s a definite necessity if you want them to be presentable. It’s also a necessity if they want to look and feel good about themselves. Coping with a teenage daughter can be far easier, as girls can be more conscious about body odors and how they appear at school and to their friends.
Creating a routine for your teenager for their hygiene is so worth the time, as a good routine will instill that ‘feel good’ factor they so crave. During puberty, the body can sometimes mature faster than the mind, which isn’t always easy to deal with. Turning a blind eye to the changes isn’t the best plan, but it is one that most teenagers do so that they don’t have to face the realities of growing up. These changes aren’t always easy to discuss – in fact, it can be downright embarrassing to talk about! The thing is, these changes have to be addressed early so that your teenager doesn’t add insecurity and unhappiness to the broad range of emotions they’re about to experience. So, what do you need to sit down and talk about with regard to their hygiene?
The body is a marvelous thing, but it doesn’t always smell the nicest! As we move into puberty, we produce more sweat and oil that can clog up pores. This, along with an increase in exercise and activity, can lead to body odor that simply doesn’t smell of roses! Deodorants and antiperspirants on the market look like a good idea, but you have to help your teenager choose carefully. The chemicals in deodorants block the pores and react with the sweat, making the smell worse and staining clothes in the meantime. Choosing an antiperspirant that is good for sensitive skin is the first step, but really the routine for the shower should be established early! Even the most reluctant teenager will notice if they smell, and if you get them into the habit of a daily shower in the morning before school, it’s one that will continue through to adulthood.
We talked about the oils that produce in abundance with puberty, and it’s these oils that clog up the pores that are responsible for skin conditions such as acne becoming prevalent. Spots are one of the hardest things for a teenager to deal with, purely because of the way they can be picked on at school for them. Encouraging good hygiene, and in some cases, a visit to a dermatologist is the way forward. You should also encourage them to clear makeup off their faces properly every day if they use any, and only encourage a light layer at any time. Have a chat about why makeup can make things worse, and the importance of a good cleanse, tone and moisturize routine.
Excess Body Hair
It’s usually in the teen years that extra hair sprouts up all over the body of a teenager, from leg hair in girls darkening in colour, to underarm and pubic hair sprouting in patches early on. Hair removal needs to be discussed, as the last thing you want is for it to go unchecked! Educate on the products available, how to use them and the best times to shave legs and underarms. You should also explain why they shouldn’t shave every single day and the damage that can be done to skin when doing so.
Since they had teeth, you’ve been drumming it into them why they need to have a good routine for every morning and every evening. The thing is, teenagers are notoriously lazy. The idea of having to wake a little earlier to brush teeth and use mouthwash over staying asleep is one that most teenagers don’t want to have to do. Being busy with school work, a social life and the extra junk food that teenagers tend to get their hands on means that oral hygiene tends to go down in importance. Nag if you have to, but good oral hygiene can mean avoiding having teeth pulled, braces and extra dentist appointments.
Teenagers often draw the short straw when it comes to discussing personal hygiene. No one likes to be told that they have an odor about them, least of all a volatile teenager, but being able to discuss puberty as a normal part of life is so important. There are some warning signs that your teenager doesn’t want to look after themselves, including having a lack of underwear and uniform to wash each week, unwillingness to get in the shower each day and a general preference for staying in bed. The trouble is, bad hygiene draws the wrong kind of attention from peers and teachers, and it can make your teenager feel self-conscious and unhappy. It isn’t uncommon for personal hygiene to be a struggle, especially when they’ve grown up with their parents doing everything for them. The changes that puberty brings can take adjusting to, which isn’t the easiest thing to do.
Self-esteem is a huge issue for a teenager. They want to feel accepted, included and welcomed by their friends. Children and teenagers can be cruel, which means that anyone who is slightly different will stand out like a sore thumb. It’s up to us to make sure the teenagers in our lives feel equal, secure and wanted by those around them. For the most part, good personal hygiene habits can make the difference between happiness and self-loathing in your teenager. With the rates of teenage depression and anxiety rising, the last thing you need is to have a teenager holed up in their bedroom embarrassed to talk to you about any issues that they are having. Establishing an open line of communication with your teenager early on and encouraging that relationship is so important. Ideally, you won’t have to make too much effort to encourage them to take care of themselves, but even if you do being able to do it in a sensitive and happy way is a good start.