How to encourage good hygiene habits in your teenager
It can be a tricky time
The days of washing your child’s hair over the edge of the bath are over now that they've hit puberty, but sometimes tweens and teens can be quite lax about personal hygiene (to say the least).
While this is normal as your child transitions into the next stage of their life and body, instilling good hygiene habits in teenagers is important both for their physical and social wellbeing.
We've compiled a list of helpful tips on teen hygiene to help you through this awkward time – and to hopefully produce some lovely-smelling teenagers while you’re at it.
Talk to your teens
Sit down with your teen and communicate with them. Explain that now they're becoming an adult, they need to shower more frequently and use products like deodorants and facial wash daily. Share your hygiene routine with them and explain that cleanliness is key to having a healthy body. Don’t discourage them by using phrases such as ‘you smell’ – true as it may be, nobody wants to hear that – but instead encourage them to try new products and wind down in a relaxing shower.
Wash every crack and crevice
If you've ever spent a significant amount of time on the internet, you might have realised that there are some people who genuinely don't know what a full shower scrub consists of. Make sure you tell your teen they need to wash everywhere – and we mean everywhere. Behind the ears, in the bellybutton, between the toes, all round the undercarriage and between the cheeks.
Encourage your child to regularly change their underwear and explain to them that wearing the same t-shirts day after day is a no-can-do now that they're sweating more. Ensuring that clean clothes and uniforms are always available and purchasing some nice new undies will encourage your teen to change more regularly.
Clean and rotate
Clothes and undies aren't the only things your teen needs to change. Everyone needs to change their bedsheets regularly to practice good hygiene. Bacteria, grime and odours stick to the fabric fibres of sheets and pillowcases, so washing them and throwing on a swap set is good for your teen's scent and skin.
Speaking of skin, it's also important that teens who use makeup brushes or beauty sponges clean them regularly. As these tools are being applied to the face, they should be washed out with warm water and soap to get rid of any germs or dirt.
Teens also need to be aware of period hygiene and changing tampons/pads either every couple of hours or as needed, depending on flow. Leaving a pad on for too long can cause infections (such as a yeast infection) or rashes. Not changing a tampon often enough can also lead to infections as well as the risk of it getting stuck. Even toxic shock syndrome can develop from a tampon left in too long, due to toxins entering the bloodstream through the uterus or vaginal lining.
Teen skin goes through a wild time thanks to fluctuating hormones. Whether your teen suffers from dry, oily, combination skin or acne, encourage a regular skincare routine and tell them how this can do wonders for healthy-looking skin.
Thoroughly cleansing, toning and moisturising is important in limiting spots. It's best to identify what type of skin your teen has to help them understand what products to use. For example, those with dry skin would greatly benefit from products containing Hyaluronic Acid, but might find acne-fighting products containing Salicylic Acid too harsh. Even those with oily skin need to moisturise, as if the skin isn't moisturised enough your oil glands will go into overdrive and actually produce more oil.
While the likes of YouTube and TikTok is full of great skincare tips for teens, make sure they're not hopping on any dangerous trends.
Bring your teen shopping
Involve your teenager when you go shopping for hygiene products. Allow them to pick up skincare bits recommended to them by friends or that they've seen online, and help them choose their own deodorants, shower gels, facial washes and shampoos. If your teenager is embarrassed about shopping with their mam for products you can always send them to the shop with a list or shop online. Regularly purchase your teen some new products to keep them interested.
Compliment your teen
Compliment your teenager frequently. Tell your teen that they smell lovely after a shower or that their hair is looking really nice today. It'll boost their confidence and motivate them to keep it up.