Adolescent Girls' Hygiene

Adolescent girls need a little bit of help and guidance as they begin to take more responsibility for bodily hygiene.

A ten-year-old girl may be more interested in playing in mud than putting it on her face as a beauty treatment. But by age twelve or so, many girls have begun to develop an interest in feminine hygiene. This may stem in part from school health classes or commercial advertisements on television or in pre-teen magazines. Parents, and especially mothers, need to be ready to explain certain bodily functions that will occur at this stage of development, as well as provide information about basic hygiene and self-care.

1. Daily routine care becomes essential during adolescence. Young girls should be taught how to wash their face in the morning, how to comb and arrange their hair neatly, and how to brush and floss their teeth. Using a clean washcloth and soap along with toothpaste and mouthwash is likewise an important part of the morning and evening cleansing rituals. Skin eruptions that can herald the onset of acne make skin care absolutely vital at this time of life.

2. Frequent body bathing should be encouraged. Showers or baths ought to be taken daily or every couple of days so girls can feel fresh and clean. The proper soap can protect youthful skin from drying or breakouts. Wearing clean underwear and outer clothing each day should be taught as well. Girls will want to wash their hair, using shampoo and perhaps conditioner, every day or two, and they can learn how to style their own hair, whether short or long, using hair management tools like a blow dryer, rollers, and headbands.

3. Shaving the underarm area and the legs might be undertaken at this age. Some cultures do not attach particular emphasis to this custom, but others do. Girls should learn how to lather the area first, use a razor safely, and clean up afterward.

4. The use of fragrance takes on a whole new meaning for adolescent girls. Scented deodorant, body wash, cologne spray, and other types of fragrant cosmetics can help them learn the value of subtle scents over overwhelming perfumes. A touch makes a better impression than a huge amount.

5. Hygienic care revolving around the monthly cycle needs to be conveyed. Girls must learn how to anticipate and prepare for their menstrual cycles so they won't be caught by surprise. Daily bathing and special padding must be undertaken for this cyclical phase of their development.

6. Wearing proper underclothes is another important part of this maturing stage. Getting the proper size and support of a bra, underwear, and even socks or stockings, along with the possible use of a slip or camisole, can make a difference in how a girl's clothes fit and feel.

If you are not sure how to train your daughter in these areas, get a book from the library or bookstore, or talk to your child's teacher. This is an important stage in your daughter's growth, so make the most of it in a positive way by helping her learn to do exciting "grown-up" things that will instill good habits for life.

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