When children begin puberty, the changes that occur are often oblivious to the child but very apparent to everyone else. Body odor, the result of a maturing body, is part of the developmental process and teens who smell bad are prone to rejection and humiliation from peers. Parents can help a teen understand that sweating is a means by which the body excretes waste, and is an important part of health. Nonetheless, offensive body odor is undesirable and there are several things you can do to help your teen. Begin by talking with your teen. Explain to your teen that while body odor is part of a natural process, the offensive smell can be dealt with in a variety of ways. Assure your teen that you are there to help.
- Encourage your teen to shower or bathe daily. Stepping in and out of the shower will not suffice. Explain that your teen needs to wash his or her entire body including the armpits, and that drying themselves thoroughly is equally important, as bacteria grow best on damp skin. Washing with an antibacterial soap or body wash can help control body odor.
- If your teen participates in sports during the school day or perspires heavily, they can keep moist wipes in their backpack for a quick wipe down. They may even wish to carry a change of clothes.
- Encourage your teen to use a deodorant or antiperspirant daily. If commercially available products don’t help reduce your teen’s body odor, there are prescription antiperspirants available. Have your teen talk to his or her healthcare provider.
- Use odor-fighting detergent to remove the smell from clothes. Make sure linens are changed on a regular basis.
- For a more natural remedy, there are various herbal and crystal deodorants available. These can be found in most organic food stores. Vinegar can help kill bacteria on the skin’s surface, as it is a natural antiseptic. Have your teen fill a spray bottle with white or apple cider vinegar and spray on the offending areas and wipe dry.
- Diet can affect body odor. If your teen eats a lot of spicy food, a review and change in diet may help reduce body odor. Make sure your teen drinks an adequate amount of water daily, as the water helps wash out toxins that may be causing body odor.