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Dealing With Embarrassing Body Changes

What teen guys should know about body odor, sweat, acne, and other body changes.

Boy Breasts

During puberty, some guys experience breast growth. This, too, is normal! It’s called gynecomastia, and it happens when the body converts of some of the male hormone testosterone into the female hormone estrogen.

Usually, it amounts to no more than half an inch of growth around the nipples, but in some boys it might be more pronounced.

D’Angelo says that most boys will have to live with it for a year or two before things settle down to normal size. That may sound like a long time, but the important thing to know is that nothing is wrong with you.

Inconvenient Erections

Is there anything more embarrassing than getting caught with your penis standing at attention when walking down a crowded school hallway? Sure, getting caught in gym class. Rest assured that all your guy friends are also getting involuntary erections at awkward moments, no matter how much they're pointing and laughing when it happens to you.

Erections can happen anywhere and anytime and for any or no reason. It is an unfortunate but completely normal part of puberty. 

And for guys worrying about what a sudden erection in the locker room might mean, the answer is: It means nothing. “It has nothing to do with erotic thoughts,” D’Angelo says.

Body Hair Where You Don't Want It

When puberty kicks in, hair begins to sprout up in all sorts of places. Facial hair announces to the world that you’re that much closer to manhood, and guys often take pride in the fact that they now have to shave.

Few guys, however, feel the same sort of pride about the hair that’s growing on other parts of their body, like their shoulders and their back.

“Different people have different amounts of hair growth,” says Lucas, “and they often get it in places that they don’t like.”

Leaving it alone is one option. But for guys who want to get rid of embarrassing body hair, there are options.

The most obvious one is shaving it off. However, there are creams available that do a good job of cleaning up trouble spots. You can use these sometimes. But read the directions and be careful when using them. “Otherwise, they may end up with a chemical burn," Lucas says. Ouch.

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