Your tween’s sweat-stained top and the pungent smell coming from his/her direction are indicators that puberty has hit. And everything’s changing! Not only are there mood swings and menstrual cycles, hormonal changes result in increased sweating. This can lead to body odor. Tween body odor can be an embarrassment to kids who are already self-conscious and don’t want to stand out from the crowd. In addition, he/she might not always be aware that they stink.
If your tween doesn’t think personal hygiene is a priority, encourage him/her to practice good hygiene so as to reduce tween body odor.
Talk About It
Oh no…This doesn’t have to be THE TALK…
And it doesn’t have to be awkward or long either. A brief explanation of the changes occurring in his/her body and what causes tween body odor will do. Explain that body odor is caused when bacteria on our bodies digest an oily substance that’s secreted onto the skin. Seriously? Yes! Even tweens don’t like the fact that our bodies are teeming with bacteria. This may gross them out enough to eliminate any argument about a daily shower. Let them know that body odor is normal, and everyone (including adults) deals with it. Explain to him/her what he/she needs to do to avoid being the smelly kid at school.
What Causes Tween Body Odor?
Tween body odor, like most body odor, comes from the apocrine sweat glands.
These glands are mainly located in the underarms and groin region. They secrete sweat plus an oily substance in your groin region and underarms. The sweat itself is odorless (it’s mostly water). But a wet, closed-off environment that’s a perfect breeding ground for bacteria plus the bacteria digesting that oily substance on the skin leads to funky body odor.
8 Home Remedies That Get Rid of Tween Body Odor Naturally
1. African Wild Cucumber
African Wild Cucumber is an incredibly powerful odor-blocking botanical found in tropical Africa. It’s a natural antibacterial. It gets rid of body odor by eliminating bacteria. When applied to the skin, it stops body odor in its tracks by getting rid of bacteria on the skin’s surface that cause funky odor.
How to Use: Wash your body with an antibacterial body wash that contains African Wild Cucumber. Pay special attention to the armpits and groin region. Spray with an antibacterial body spray after showering to keep bacteria and funky body odor at bay all day long.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is acidic in nature plus it has antibacterial properties. It makes the environment in the armpit and groin regions less desirable for bacteria. It gets rid of the odor-causing bacteria. Using apple cider vinegar regularly can also prevent the accumulation of bacteria.
How to Use: Add some apple cider vinegar to a bowl. Dip a cotton ball in the apple cider vinegar and apply it directly to your armpit and groin regions.
3. Essential Oils – Lavender & Tea Tree Oils
Lavender oil is the most versatile of all essential oils. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties which can help to treat various skin and health issues. Its pleasant fragrance helps mask tween body odor, and its antibacterial properties kill odor-producing bacteria found on the skin.
Tea tree oil has antibacterial and antiseptic properties which make it one of the best remedies to combat tween body odor. It helps reduce pores in your armpits and fights odor-causing bacteria in that region.
How to Use: Add a few drops of either essential oil to a bottle of water and use it as a spray.
4. Witch Hazel
Thanks to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, witch hazel is a great remedy that works as a natural antiperspirant. It acts as an astringent, lowering your skin’s pH, thereby killing the odor-causing bacteria and combating tween body odor.
How to Use: Mix a few drops of witch hazel in water, add it to a sprayer bottle and use it as a natural antiperspirant.
5. Baking Soda & Lemon Juice
Baking soda is a natural antibacterial that kills odor-causing bacteria without interfering with your body’s natural sweating response. It keeps armpits dry and sweat-free and fights bacteria that causes tween body odor.
Lemons are very acidic and have bactericidal properties. They reduce your skin’s pH, making it undesirable for odor-causing bacteria.
Please note: Prolonged exposure of baking soda to the skin causes rash, redness, and dry, cracked skin. If you are experiencing a rash, discomfort or any other reactions to baking soda, stop use right away.
How to Use: Mix baking soda and lemon juice in equal quantities. Apply the mixture directly to your armpits and leave it on for about 2 to 3 minutes. Take a shower. Alternatively: Mix the juice of half a lemon with half a cup of water and apply the mixture to your armpits using a cotton ball.
6. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a type of acid that’s widely used for its antiseptic properties. It kills odor-causing bacteria, making it an obvious choice to get rid of tween body odor. However, it can cause severe side effects such as dermatitis (eczema), burns, blisters, hives, redness, itchiness and irritation when used on your skin. Please use caution.
How to Use: Add a teaspoonful of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a cup of water (make sure the concentration isn’t higher than 3%). Soak a cotton ball in this solution and wipe your armpit and groin regions with it. Alternatively: Wipe your armpit and groin regions with 3% hydrogen peroxide wipes.
7. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a natural antibacterial and antifungal agent that gets rid of odor-causing bacteria and restores the pH of your skin. It’s also an excellent moisturizer, and…it smells like cookies! Yum!
How to Use: Apply some coconut oil directly to your armpit and groin regions. Leave it on until it is absorbed. Do this 1 to 2 times daily, preferably just after taking a shower.
8. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a powerful antibacterial that’s a rich source of antioxidants. This makes it one of the best remedies for getting rid of tween body odor. Aloe vera juice can detox your body and decrease stinky body odor, while aloe vera gel gets rid of the bacteria responsible for causing stinky body odor.
How to Use: Apply a little aloe vera directly to your groin and armpit regions. Leave it on overnight and wash it off the next morning.
How To Stop Tween Body Odor
Take a Shower. At Least Once Daily, or More!
Younger kids can skip a day or two and only mom and dad will know. But if your tween skips a daily shower, everyone will most probably notice. Proper hygiene is so important at this age to get rid of the odor-producing bacteria. Be sure your child takes a shower or bath once a day at the very least — especially in warm weather, if they sweat excessively, or are involved in sports. In these cases, two showers a day may be needed.
Explain to your child why daily showers are now required. Take the time to show your child how to wash thoroughly from head to toe. It may be uncomfortable and you both may be squirmy, but explicitly discuss proper cleaning of under the arms, and in the groin and pelvic areas. Just breathe…it’s going to be okay. Be sure he/she also scrubs around the neck, the feet, and back, problem areas known to have the worst body odor.
To encourage your tween to take a daily shower or bath, let them pick out body washes, shampoos, and other products that they’d like to use. Simple soap and water is usually sufficient, but if the problem persists use antibacterial body soap once or twice a week to keep the bacterial levels down.
Clean Clothing and Fresh Towels
Your tween’s clothes may look clean, but if he/she is a sweaty kid, then it’s likely the clothes aren’t as clean as you think they are. Clothes can harbor odor-causing bacteria so clean underwear, pants/shorts, T-shirts, and socks every day are a must. Make sure they don’t just toss on yesterday’s clothes. (It happens.) Cotton or other natural fibers cause less odor because they absorb sweat more readily and keep it away from the body.
Fresh towels daily? Really? Yes! It’s important that your tween uses freshly laundered towels after each shower. Why, you ask. Doesn’t taking a shower every day mean all the odor-causing bacteria is washed off? Not exactly—only some bacteria is washed off. The rest stick around, and they get on your towel when you dry yourself. Once the bacteria gets on the towel, they start to multiply. And they multiply even faster when you use that towel over and over again. And since bacteria love dark, moist environments, they’ll thrive in a steamy bathroom with the door closed. So fresh towels are a must to help get rid of tween body odor.
Purchase a Natural Deodorant
For some kids, showering isn’t enough to prevent tween body odor throughout the day, especially when they’re active. So at some point in the tween years, you’ll have to introduce your child to deodorant and/or antiperspirants. Deodorants work by neutralizing the smell of sweat. Antiperspirants, on the other hand, cut down on body odor by actually stopping or reducing the amount of sweat produced. They can irritate skin, though, so it may be best to start with a deodorant and see how it goes. Upgrade if need be.
There are a number of brands with a variety of fun scents and packaging, so let your tween choose one that he/she likes. If your child has sensitive skin, a natural, unscented antiperspirant or deodorant might be the best option. It’s perfectly fine to purchase two sticks and keep one at home and one at school in the gym locker or backpack. And don’t be afraid to have your tween reapply deodorant or antiperspirant before gym class, sports activities, or other physical activities.
Trim Underarm Hair
Body odor is caused by bacteria and, as mentioned above, bacteria love moist environments. They thrive in the damp area of armpit hair. Trimming underarm hair may reduce sweating, though there isn’t any clear evidence to support this. While shaving your tween’s armpits won’t make his/her armpits cooler—or produce less sweat—there’ll be less space for bacteria to breed. Not only that, no one wants to see hair poking out from an armpit. And with less hair, your tween’s deodorant/antiperspirant will be more effective.
Think About the Feet
Check your tween’s shoes. Tweens have a habit of running around in sneakers or shoes with no socks. While they think it’s comfortable, going without socks can lead to some serious foot odor. Wearing cotton socks or socks made of materials that breathe or wick away moisture or perspiration reduces odor. Every now and then, check your tween’s shoes. If they smell nasty, throw them in the washing machine, or deodorize them with baking soda or deodorizing shoe spray. Charcoal deodorizing shoe inserts also reduce funky odors.