Body Odor in Kids — How to Get Rid of it Naturally

Body Odor in Kids

The first time I got a whiff of my daughter’s body odor, I was shocked! There was this awful smell coming from her. I couldn’t believe that my 7-year-old daughter could have body odor. Body odor in kids doesn’t come on until puberty, and I “know” my little girl couldn’t be headed there. She’s too young, isn’t she?

Oh, but she could. And she was.

Her pediatrician told me that body odor in kids is quite normal. Puberty is beginning earlier for many kids. It’s normal for girls to begin experiencing some changes as early as 7 years old, and for boys, as early as 9 years old. Kids at this age who are starting to develop puberty begin to sweat more, especially from the apocrine sweat glands. These glands are located in the armpit and groin regions. They secrete an oily substance that the bacteria that is normally on our skin love. Once the bacteria digest this oily substance, it leads to stinky body odor. This is why toddlers and much younger kids don’t stink. ***The sweat glands in the underarms remain undeveloped until puberty, so body odor does not generally occur in children. ***

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Parents can help combat body odor in kids by controlling both the bacteria and sweat. There are some tips to keep your kid BO-free:

1. Help your kids maintain good hygiene. One of the best ways to prevent body odor in kids is to make sure your kids take a bath daily and with soap. An extra rinse of the 4 problem areas known to have the worst body odor — around the neck, the armpits, the back, and the groin region — with a washcloth at bedtime (for morning bathers) or in the morning (for nighttime bathers) is a great way to get rid of the bacteria. Hint: A body pouf with a liquid antibacterial body wash is much easier for little hands to handle than a face cloth and a bar of soap.

Body Odor in Kids

2. Make sure your kids change into clean clothes daily to fight bacteria, and dress them in natural, breathable fabrics, such as cotton and wool. These absorb sweat more readily while allowing the skin to breathe.

3. Introduce your kids to deodorant. Taking a bath daily may not be enough to prevent body odor for some kids, especially if they’re active during the day. For body odor in kids, natural deodorants are recommended over antiperspirants. Deodorants cover up the stinky sweat but don’t stop the sweating. This is preferred in children because kids don’t sweat a lot so no need to limit how much they sweat. Antiperspirants stop or reduce the amount of sweat produced and can irritate sensitive skin.