Sweating Through Puberty
Your body starts sweating more during puberty. When sweat combines with bacteria -- under your arms, for instance -- it causes body odor. To control odor, bathe or shower every day with a deodorant soap and use an antiperspirant. "The higher the aluminum chloride content, the more antiperspirant activity it will have," says obstetrician-gynecologist Holmes. (If you develop a rash under your arms, you may be allergic to aluminum and should use an antiperspirant that doesn’t contain it.) Also, clothes made of fabrics that wick moisture will dry faster and don't show armpit stains as much.
Your feet may get sweaty too. Wear cotton socks to absorb moisture, and rotate your shoes, so they have time to dry out. Avoid shoes made of plastic, rubber, or other manmade materials. If you have sweaty palms, skip hand lotion. Use a hand sanitizer to keep your hands drier.
Acne -- whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples -- is caused by surging hormones. If you have it, try cleansing with a gentle non-soap cleanser and use over-the-counter acne products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. It also helps to use sunscreens, moisturizers, and makeup that are labeled “oil free” or “non-comedogenic.” If these things don’t get your acne under control, a dermatologist can use other treatments that will help.
Making Your Body Work for You
At some point during puberty, you will probably look at your face, hair, or body in the mirror and not like what you see. At those times, Holmes says, it can help to appreciate the great things your body can do -- like playing the piano, doing a back flip, or climbing a mountain. If you hate your body most of the time, talk to a school nurse or counselor who can help you learn to see your body differently.