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- An Awkward Topic
- Sister Squabbles
- Sweating and smelly, what's a girl to do?
- Boys on the Brain!
- Family Break-ups
- Understanding Cancer
- BROTHERS: why do some bully?
- Girl Talk - PERIODS
- Sisters - same genes, just not the same 'jeans'
- Sometimes I really DON'T LIKE my Mom!
- How Come I'm Not Allowed?
May 2009 Blogs
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- We hate being JUDGED, ...but do WE do it too?
- Splish Splash, time for a bath?
- Turning a Challenge into a SUCCESS!
- Fencing, en garde!
- Elemental Connections Part 4 of 4: AIR
- Ask a Girl - sneaky thing, change a law, allergies, slang
- Ask a Guy - sneaky thing, change a law, allergies, slang
- Sniff, sniff... bad breath and B.O.
- Focus on HABITS
Splish Splash, time for a bath?
ASK LORI AND LIANE, May 2009, by Lori Clemente and Liane Knowl-Kowk
time for a bath?
Dear Lori and Liane,
It's too embarrassing so I'm not saying why, but how often should girls shower when they get to a certain age?
~ Anonymous, Airdrie, AB
LORI: This is a great question, and one we just don't often talk about. First of all, if you can think of a question, the chances are that someone else is going through the EXACT SAME thing and could also use the information. So, even though it is embarrassing, thank you for asking.
Everyone is different when it comes to how often they need to shower. It depends on your hormones, activity level and just you. Even what you eat can affect odours, like garlic and strong spices.
LIANE: It also depends on your habits, your personal preferences and how particular you are about your appearance. Some girls would rather sleep in and forgo the daily shower than get up early to ensure a perfect hair day. Pulling your hair back into a ponytail, washing your armpits and adding a little extra deodorant is always an option.
LORI: Once you reach puberty, you develop sweat glands. Oil production increases in the skin as well. Body odours generally start with sweat which is actually just salty water and doesn't have much of a smell at all. It starts to smell if and when bacteria that normally live on the skin feed on it and break it down. This is true especially for the armpits and groin because they have glands secreting proteins and oily substances that bacteria love to feed on. In other areas of the body there isn't as much bacteria so the sweat just evaporates off without smelling badly.
Girls or young women with armpit hair will find they get smelly more quickly. This area could be washed more frequently (daily and after exercise) then an antiperspirant or deodorant should be used. Often times shaving this hair can reduce odour.
LIANE: Interestingly, you can’t really smell yourself the way another person can. So giving your armpits the old sniff test may not be as accurate a test as you think!
LORI: Also, around puberty girls often develop more vaginal secretions as well. This is completely normal and necessary. It is how the vagina cleans itself. In Europe they use special cleansers intended only for "the intimate area." It’s not necessary and you can use very gentle soaps to clean the delicate vulva, like baby soap with no perfumes or dyes, and gently dry well. Wearing cotton underwear will help too. Just like with the armpits, cleaning daily, as well as after sports or exercise should be plenty. If you don't want to have a full shower every day, you could just wash those areas alone. Frequent, hot showers are not only harmful to the environment, but can also REALLY dry out your skin, particularly in our cold and dry Canadian winters. And remember that antibacterial soaps aren't necessary. They are harsh on your skin and don't make you any cleaner than if you use a gentle moisturizing soap. Afterwards, be sure to put on some fresh, clean clothes. Although you may be clean, if your clothes smell...you will too.
LIANE: This is great advice to stay clean and fresh, but remember too that all people have a ‘natural human scent’ that we really shouldn’t be ashamed of. Sometimes we spend so much time on our hygiene routines that we lose perspective. Good hygiene is important but so is having fun, working up a sweat and sometimes smelling a little ‘rank’. Play hard and then follow Lori’s suggestions for cleaning yourself afterwards. Don’t be embarrassed by your body and its natural aroma. Humans spend a lot of time and money covering up what they’re intended to smell like.
LORI: Don’t forget feet! They are usually covered in socks and shoes making them warm and moist, which is a perfect place for bacteria and fungi to live. When it comes to foot odour, and this goes for all body odour, try to avoid wearing synthetic fabrics that don't breathe well and create warmth and moisture that bacteria love. Be sure to wash and dry well. Special powders and creams can help too if this doesn't seem to be enough.
You will know if it is time to wash more regularly. If you are worried that you won't know until someone points it out, check in with someone you trust once in a while.
LIANE: Good idea. Body odour is a sensitive subject. If someone does point out that you smell, consider the source and the manner in which they tell you. A trustworthy girlfriend will put it to you in a nice way and try not to hurt your feelings. A person trying to make you feel bad about yourself may tell you publicly and may leave you feeling embarrassed and grimy. A person like that may be trying to humiliate you for other reasons, so as Lori advises, check it out with your BFF first before heading off to the showers.
The same goes for making someone else aware that they have B.O. It’s responsible to tell the person if the situation is ongoing, severe enough and your reason for telling them is to help them out. Think before you tell someone they stink. If you’ve put some thought into it and it’s not easy for you to tell them, chances are you are telling them for the right reasons. Make sure you do it privately. Good friends don’t publicly humiliate each other. Consider getting a teacher or coach to break the news if you don’t know the person all that well.
LORI: I really hope this helps and that it answers your question.
LIANE: It’s great to feel good about your self and to have good personal hygiene but if looking and smelling good becomes too important, you’ll lose sight of what’s really important and forget to have fun. Remember to love the body you have. Don’t be afraid to get a little smelly. Everyone sweats and you can always shower later!
BTW, check out Brittney's Teen Stuff article on Bad Breath and B.O.