How soon should your child start wearing deodorant

Parents are often the most critical of their own children. Naturally that involves everything from academics and appearance to behavior. However, body odor is one…

Knowing the difference between antiperspirant and deodorant is important when you go to the store, especially when buying for a child.(Clean Wal-Mart/Flickr)

Parents are often the most critical of their own children.

Naturally that involves everything from academics and appearance to behavior. However, body odor is one area where moms and dads are keenly aware when changes are needed. Invariably, we’re talking about the concept of kids, tweeners and teenagers wearing deodorant. So when should your child start wearing deodorant?

SEE ALSO: Make your own deodorant? Why not!

Cleveland Clinic Children’s Pediatrician Dr. Miriam Perez tells Voxxi that most kids develop body odor when they begin puberty (usually between ages 8 and 13 for girls and 9 and 14 for boys).

“That’s the time we usually start to notice very peculiar body odor that bothers them and others around them,” Perez said. “It happens because there’s an overproduction of bacteria. The sweat glands are producing more sweat than usual. That comes from all of the hormonal changes.”

As far as the type of deodorant, she stressed allowing the boy or girl to pick out their own plays into the adolescents desire to have control over their own bodies. One area parents do need to pay attention to involves kids using deodorants with aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum zirconium.

“Pediatricians really don’t recommend the use of antiperspirants because those are the ones that will be blocking the production of sweat, and we don’t want that,” Perez said. “We don’t want to clog or block the sweat glands. What we want is to minimize the over-production of bacteria so deodorant is what we prefer as pediatricians.”

Naturally, deodorants come in various types, with roll-on sticks and gels allowing simple and easy application. These days there are body sprays made popular by advertising but Perez said the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sticks over cans.

Another deodorant option may not be popular at first with the kids until they realize it allows them the ultimate control of their body scent.

Natural deodorant alternatives

“You can also do them homemade, which is what I advise parents,” Perez said. “You can use baking soda and corn starch in equal proportions. Then they can add their favorite fragrance with lavender, rose pedals. Just add some drops of the oil of the scent to it and use it twice a day. So that’s another easy way to minimize body odor without using deodorant.”

For parents considering deodorant for younger kids, Perez recommended making sure they’re wearing breathable clothing such as 100 percent cotton, which absorbs sweat better, thus reducing the body odor. Also, there’s a benefit to starting out each day by taking a bath or shower using antibacterial, deodorant soap.

The other major development with puberty involves the shaving needs for teenage girls and boys. Basically, Perez said this comes down to personal choice, pointing out all kids are different.

“Usually the first three years in boys, the hair will be very thin and there’s no reason to be exposing the skin to the effects of shaving,” Perez said. “But if it bothers them and they want to take care of it, the best way is to use an electric razor.

“Or if they’re using a disposable one, make sure they’re changing razors every single time they shave otherwise they can get a bacterial infection of the hair follicle.”

SEE ALSO: Home remedies to banish dark armpits

As for girls shaving, Perez said most are ready to get rid of any hair as soon as it’s visible.

“What we ask is make sure they get an electric razor,” Perez said. “It minimizes bacteria infection of the hair follicle, which we see constantly.”

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