Yes, that's yourself you just got a whiff of. You're not that sweet-smelling little kid anymore.
As your hormones rage and your body plays tricks on you, your sweat glands are getting in on the act. Glands you've always had suddenly get a lot more active, and they add new chemicals to the sweat that makes it smell more. The specialized apocrine glands in your armpits now release a fatty sort of sweat that's a favorite food of some bacteria. When those bacteria start to feast on the sweat you produce when you're active, hot or stressed, they release a bad odor.
That new hair you have in some of those same places provides more nice, warm and moist places for the bacteria to feast.
The best defense is to get rid of the sweat and bacteria before they have time to interact. That means regular showering or bathing, with a mild soap, maybe one with antibacterial ingredients. Use clean washcloths and towels. Wear clean, comfortable, loose and absorbent clothing.
You may want to use a deodorant or antiperspirant. Antiperspirants suppress the production of sweat by plugging the sweat glands. Many of them include aluminum salts, which some people think may be linked to health problems. Deodorants fight the bacteria rather than suppressing the sweat. They may also include scent. Read the directions --some products, for example, work better while you sleep.
For more information on adolescent skin care, see the links below.
- "Acne." Mayo Clinic. (Accessed May 17, 2010)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acne/DS00169
- "Acne." The Journal of the American Medical Association., Vol. 292, No. 6, Aug. 11, 2004. (Accessed May 17, 2010)http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/292/6/764
- American Medical Association Family Medical Guide. Fourth Edition. "Adolescent Health." John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, N.J., 2004.
- Goldman, David R., and Horowitz, David A. "American College of Physicians Complete Home Medical Guide." DK Publishing, Inc. New York, 2003.
- Kelly, Kate. "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Teenager." Alpha Books. New York, 1996.
- KidsHealth. "Everything You Wanted to Know About Puberty." (Accessed May 17, 2010)http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/changing_body/puberty.html
- KidsHealth. "Teens Health: Hygiene Basics." (Accessed May 17, 2010)http://kidshealth.org. http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/take_care/hygiene_basics.html
- McCoy, Kathy, Ph.D., and Charles Wibbelsman, M.D. "The Teenage Body Book." Hatherleigh. New York, 2008.
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) Information Clearinghouse. "Questions and Answers About Acne." National Institutes of Health. (Accessed May 19, 2010)http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/acne/#acne_d
- Numaderm. "Teenage Skin Problems and Remedies." (Accessed May 17, 2010)http://www.numaderm.com/teenage-skin-problems-and-remedies
- BeautyAdvice.org. "Teen Skin Care -- How to Care For Your Skin at Teenage." (Accessed May 17, 2010)http://www.beautyadvice.org/skin-care/teen-skin-care.htm
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