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When Should My Child Start Using Deodorant?

Children should start using deodorant around the start of puberty.
A stick of kids' deodorant.
It's important to consider a child's comfort level and reaction of his peers to body odor.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2014
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Children begin to start producing body odor around the same time that they begin puberty. Age of puberty onset varies, and may be from 8 to 14 in girls and about 9 to 15 in boys. These are broad averages, and body odor production does not necessarily begin at the very first signs of puberty. In the first few years of puberty, body odor may not be prominent, and if a child showers daily, deodorant may not be needed.

Body odor tends to increase with increased activity or with a raised body temperature, however, so one may note the need for deodorant for children who participate in sports, or for kids in warmer weather. Children may also produce body odor without noticeable sweating. Although antiperspirants are considered safe, a child who does not have noticeable sweat marks can easily get away with wearing a deodorant instead.

A lot depends upon a child’s comfort level and also the reaction of peers to body odor. If a child notices a body odor smell, or if peers notice this, it can cause unnecessary isolation, and children can be introduced to several deodorants that might be appealing. Children who have sensitivities to strong fragrances may prefer an unscented or very lightly scented products.

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There are also a number of products marketed for teenagers with smells that may be more appealing to the teen. The packages are generally designed for teens as well, so they may be more visually appealing. A child who should use deodorant and is reluctant to do so may prefer a more kid-friendly product.

As body odor increases with age, older teens may find that kid-oriented products are not strong enough, and may need to switch to ones marketed toward adults. Usually at this stage, teenagers wish to be identified as adults, so choosing an adult deodorant is often appealing.

If children are using deodorant, and not antiperspirant, it may need to be applied after activities like physical education. A child should have access to deodorant at school so it can be applied after gym class. Most middle and high schools have lockers where a child can keep items for such a purpose. Scents chosen should be light so they do not affect more sensitive kids who will be changing in close proximity.

Skin sensitivity can affect choice of deodorant. Some children do much better with products with natural ingredients. Some are particularly sensitive to propylene glycol, and parents can usually find a few choices without propylene glycol in natural foods or health food stores. Otherwise, they can choose products that are marketed for use on sensitive skin.

Girls have the additional problem of needing to shave the underarms, in many cases. Applying deodorant directly after shaving can cause irritation, but there are a few products on the market that can be used after shaving. These products tend to work well directly after shaving and may prevent itching and irritation.

When a child begins puberty, discussions about personal hygiene are important. Not only is cleanliness good for the health, but it also promotes healthy attitudes about peers. Children are likely to feel badly if other kids consider them “smelly,” so a discussion of hygiene can also be an opening for discussion into peer relationships during the puberty years.

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anon927358
Post 23

Natural Skincare has an amazing roll on deodorant.

anon321333
Post 22

@anon87188: Ask your parents for some deodorant. They will be pleased you've asked and I'm sure they will get you some.

anon268976
Post 21

My son is a special needs eight year old. He has Anhidrosis (a person who doesn't sweat or sweat enough to cool themselves), however, he has just recently started to sweat a little. No beads of sweat by any means, but he is finally to feel a little bit clammy. I haven't really noticed a smell as of yet, except maybe his feet now. He has extreme sensitivities and have had to use special soaps, shampoos, etc. his whole life to prevent breakouts and rashes.

When the time comes in the next couple of years (I am sure), what would be a recommended and safe deodorant product for my son? I thought about Tom's Natural Deodorant, which is the same company I go through for his toothpaste.

anon213752
Post 19

Children who have sensitivities to strong fragrances may prefer an unscented or very lightly scented deodorant? There is no such thing as an unscented deodorant.

axillarymike
Post 18

When the parents start to find their kids' underarms are perspiring, the odors can be very offensive. For nine to 12 years, these kids have been eating foods adulterated with processed fillers, unlike their grandparents whose foods were not genetically modified, nor with soil additives to the fields or food coloring from alum salts. Include the alum residuals from the vaccines and all this breaks down into body fluids that need to pass through the lymph nodes before going out the underarm.

I highly recommend a cleansing with a detox deodorant to flush out the odors and use a non suppressive deodorant from Herbalix Restoratives. Marina Curry explained the process online for kids and adults.

anon153626
Post 17

To the person who asked why girls "need" to shave their armpits: For the same reason they should wear deodorant if they smell, which is to be accepted by their peers. This is *the* most important thing in the world to teenage girls, and if there is an easy way to prevent your kid from being teased then by all means do it, no matter what your own feelings may be on the matter. Your personal opinions on this are not worth having an unhappy child.

anon129701
Post 16

where can i find growing basics(sport A) and Junior varsity's kids deodorant?

anon129089
Post 15

you should check out pure coconut oil. it has lots of good effects on the body and it's 100 percent natural. As i don't know all the effects by heart. i recommend you look it up on internet. it's an oil recommended by cultures such as philippines who are, for example, well known for their soft, unwrinkled skin.

may you all smell nice with a smooth skin, as in the philippines.

anon106608
Post 14

My son just turned seven and i notice that he has an odor under his arms. I am not sure what I should do when it comes to using deodorant.

steve805
Post 13

I found Varsity Naturals natural teen deodorant to be very effective with amazing scents.

anon98553
Post 12

My kids used to smell terrible because they were active but I never wanted them to use deodorants with aluminum in them. Natural deodorants never did the trick until they started using In Love deodorant. It works miracles, and it's actually good for the body. I recommend this to anyone who uses deodorant and especially to moms like me who need to solve the odor problem without compromising their children's health.

anon87188
Post 10

I'm 13 but I'm too shy to ask for some and i sweat like a pig.

anon86836
Post 9

Arm & Hammer makes a natural deodorant that works well. My daughter is eight and loves it. Just two swipes on each underarm at night works for her all day. It smells like oranges.

You can call the company to find a store in your area. We buy it at Kroger's. Sometimes, Walgreen's has it. You can also try a rock deodorant as well. There is a liquid form at Wal-Mart that is recommend for women who have had breast cancer. It is in a clear bottle with a blue top. It also has the breast cancer ribbon on the top.

Hope this helps. We need to make sure our little ones use the safest deodorant products.

anon82607
Post 8

Why do girls "need" to shave under their arms? Forget that.

anon81933
Post 7

I used to carry deodorant at school. my undergarments would be wet with sweat. i wear deodorant so that girls will not laugh at me. I sweat a lot.

anon64176
Post 6

Body odor does not usually appear until the onset of puberty, typically as young as eight years old. If you are noticing it as young as five I would consult your pediatrician to make sure there isn't anything else contributing to the body odor, such as metabolic disorders.

anon61301
Post 5

My daughter is six years old in kindergarten and yesterday I noticed a pretty bad under arm odor on her. I am totally freaked out about this. Is this normal? What kind of deodorant would be the best kind for her to use?

anon50695
Post 4

I have discovered that natural deodorants are the way to go, especially when it comes to children.

Prior to discovering that there are deodorants made for children, i used my own on my six year old son. that didn't go too well because at the back of my mind i was constantly worried about what the late effects might be.

I have since began to use a natural deodorant called Growing Basics. it works fantastically and it is made for kids and young teens.

it contains no harsh chemicals, aluminum, paraben or synthetic ingredients.

I would recommend Growing Basics (Sport A) to parents.

anon31903
Post 3

Thanks for you article. I have now ordered some of the above deodorant.

steve805
Post 2

A few years ago my wife and I had a serious debate on whether or not to allow our 8 year old daughter to wear deodorant. Alzheimer’s runs in my wife’s family so she is concerned about the aluminum contained in most deodorants.

Parabens have been linked with breast cancer which is also an ingredient in most deodorants.

Propylene Glycol is a main ingredient also contained in even so called “natural deodorants” which is also used to make anti freeze. Propylene Glycol enters the skin so quickly that the EPA has warned factory workers to avoid skin contact in order to prevent brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities.

So in my opinion it isn’t when kids or anyone else should use deodorant but what deodorant to use.

I have done a lot of research on when kids should start using deodorant. In my opinion if the kids are using a safe natural deodorant it should be whenever the children begin to develop odor that showering once a day will not contain. This can be 5 years old or earlier in some cases. I have spoke to preschool teachers who year after year have a large percentage of students who do have body odor. I have read many conflicting articles that link or do not link body odor with puberty. I honestly think that it has very little to do with puberty at all. Instead I think it has more to do with diets. Not that an unhealthy diet will make a child smell and a healthy diet will not. I think it has a lot more to do with spices that are used in the meals. It also has to do with how active the children are.

In conclusion kids should start using deodorant whenever they need to. However, be very careful about the deodorant you choose. Find a deodorant that has no Aluminum, Parabens, or Propylene Glycol. I have found Junior Varsity’s Kids Deodorant to be a great option.

nasturtium
Post 1

It is so important to notice your child's body odor before their classmates do! If you don't tend to be around your child while he or she is exercising and sweaty or in a warm atmosphere, it's a good idea to make a point of checking that out. If your child starts to smell, you are basically ensuring that he or she is teased mercilessly.

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