How to Teach Your Daughter About Puberty | Lesson 3: Pimples and Body Odor
These first three lessons of the series are particularly useful if your daughter is 8-10 years old and just beginning puberty.
In the first lesson, I talked about basic female anatomy, including the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes and vagina.
Next we talked about breast buds, the small lumps that form under the nipple and that are one of the first signs of puberty.
Now let’s talk about another change your daughter will notice as she enters puberty; something is different about her skin. She might starting having pimples and body odor!
She might be surprised to see pimples (acne) forming on her face. Not all girls have pimples, but those that do find it to be a very unpleasant experience. We know this is true because the “clear up acne” part of the drug store is booming!
Very few young girls know much about their skin.
In this illustration from my book, I’m A Girl, Hormones!, notice that hair grows in a hair follicle. Attached to each hair follicle is a gland, called a sebaceous gland, which makes an oily fluid. A gland is a clump of cells that makes a product.
Sometimes the fluid gets blocked from getting out of the hair follicle and that is how a pimple forms. Keeping the skin clean is important and it is also important not to touch pimples. They can become infected and then they will look red and even more unpleasant.
During puberty, your daughter will also notice a change in her body odor.
This is because of another gland that empties its fluid into the hair follicle called the apocrine gland. This gland makes a fluid that is very tasty to certain bacteria that live on the skin. The bacteria eat the fluid and then produce a gas. That gas is your body odor.
Don’t worry about these bacteria. It is okay for them to live on our skin. Apocrine glands are not everywhere. You find them mostly in your armpits and on your vulva (private parts).
These two skin glands need puberty hormones to produce their fluid and so once your daughter notices these changes in her skin, she is definitely in puberty.
Pubic hair starts to appear.
One final change your daughter will notice in her skin is that hair will begin growing on her vulva (private parts). Initially it will be very thin and then gradually it will become darker and curlier. This hair has a special name, pubic hair.
In the fourth lesson in this series, I will help you teach your daughter about her first period.
After the early signs of puberty are obvious including breast buds, pimples and body odor, her period will come some time in the near future. I would love to be able to tell you exactly when this will happen but it is different for each girl although it might be similar to your experience.
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