Help your child prevent body odour
Having a bad odour can be unpleasant and discomforting for people around you. This, if not properly managed in childhood, can become a norm in adulthood and be chronic.
In children, body odour is an early sign that puberty has begun; usually from eight to 13 years old for females and nine to 14 years for males, but could start earlier or later. Hence, it is key for parents to help their children manage body odour, which is mostly generated from sweats.
It is important to note that our bodies contain two kinds of sweat glands. The eccrine glands are spread all over the body and help to cool us down when we are too hot because of the weather, a fever, exertion or spicy food. Sweat, which is mostly a combination of water and salt, cools the body as it evaporates.
The apocrine glands are located under the arms and in the groin, and they produce oils as well as sweat after puberty begins. They also cause sweating when we are hot, as well as when we are stressed.
This therefore means that good hygiene is key to maintaining freshness and children need to imbibe this habit early. Regular bathing is the key to prevention, including a thorough, scrub under the arms.
Children who are approaching puberty may no longer want a parent to bathe them, but probably need some encouragement to do a thorough job themselves. So, get them a body scrubber with a handle to reach hard-to-see places and children-friendly body wash. Make your children wash their bodies, including the groin, armpits and feet every day.
You should also introduce them to deodorants and antiperspirants as bathing won’t be enough to prevent body odour throughout the day for some kids, especially when they are active. Deodorants work by covering up the smell of sweat, while antiperspirants actually stop or reduce the amount of sweat produced.
It is also important to have conversations with your child on the importance of hygiene and keep to cleanliness tips including ensuring that your child wears clean clothes every day. Discourage him or her from wearing the same trousers, jeans or skirt for more than a day. Check if his clothes are clean and smell fresh. Sometimes, wet weather and moisture can make clothes smell musty even after they are washed. Dry the clothes under the sun and use a fabric conditioner to make clothes smell fresh.
Ensure your child wears clothes of breathable fabric such as cotton. Some synthetic fibers don’t allow air circulation and trap sweat. Ensure that the child’s clothes and shoes are completely dry before they wear them. Drinking plenty of water helps in eliminating toxins from the body and reduces the chances of body odour.
If your children drink cow milk, replace it with organic, soy or almond milk. That can help at times; however, consult with your pediatrician before doing so. Avoiding certain foods that cause body odour and increasing the intake of green leafy vegetables usually solves the problem. The chlorophyll in plants is a natural body cleanser.
With these, your child is sure to grow into a happy adult who is conscious of his body smell.