In young children, sweat practically does not smell, although it can stand out very plentifully. But when a child’s body enters puberty, things can change dramatically. And then the question arises of choosing a cosmetic product that can eliminate unpleasant odors without harming the growing body.

MedAboutMe offers some helpful tips to help you make the right choice.

Body odor or a waste product of bacteria?

Body odor or a waste product of bacteria?

In a healthy adult, sweat itself does not smell either. The smell appears when something in the body “breaks down”, and together with sweat, substances begin to be released that should not normally be there.

The second reason for the appearance of an unpleasant odor of sweat is the activity of bacteria that multiply in a humid, warm environment of profusely sweating areas of the body. Sometimes even frequent washing does not help, and without special means it is not possible to get rid of the repulsive smell.

The industry produces several different forms of sweat products. Deodorants mask odor, antiperspirants inhibit or block the activity of the sweat glands. Neither of these can be considered ideal. With heavy sweating and an intense smell of sweat, adding a deodorant scent can only aggravate the situation by adding new notes to an unpleasant bouquet.

Constant use of an antiperspirant can lead to clogged sweat glands and inflammation. And it’s not the right decision to stop sweating. This process is important for the body, normal and completely natural. With sweat, harmful substances are removed from the body, evaporation helps in regulating body temperature, so it should not be the goal to completely stop sweating.

Why does the smell of sweat become noticeable with the onset of puberty?

When a child grows up, under the influence of hormones, apocrine glands, which previously did not work, enter the process of sweat formation. The sweat secreted by the apocrine glands is thicker and contains many substances that serve as an excellent breeding ground for microorganisms living on the skin. The result of their activity is an unpleasant odor.

If the child does not like hygiene procedures too much, the situation is aggravated. Therefore, it is necessary to teach children to hygiene from an early age.

Sometimes some pathological processes in the body become the cause of a strong smell of sweat and heavy sweating, so you should consult a doctor if neither hygiene procedures nor the use of deodorant help solve the problem.

Harmful substances in sweat products

Harmful substances in sweat products

Not all components of deodorants are harmless, there are quite dangerous ones. Among them are called:

  • farnesol and triclosan — antibacterial agents;
  • parabens;
  • alcohol;
  • aluminum salts and zinc oxide, which are part of antiperspirants.

There is especially a lot of controversy regarding aluminum salts: there is an opinion that these substances «clog» the ducts of the sweat glands, accumulate in them and can cause breast cancer.

It should be noted that there are no grounds for fear. The conclusion about the potential danger of aluminum salts in sweat products was made by the British researcher Philippa Darbre, who discovered aluminum in cancer cells and suggested that this metal can cause the development of tumors. Other scientists have repeatedly expressed doubts about the purity of her experiments and conclusions. But “fear has big eyes”, and aluminum salts in the eyes of consumers have not yet been rehabilitated.

Proponents of eco-cosmetics prefer to use «more natural» alum to reduce sweat. Although these are also aluminum compounds, which is clear even by the name: aluminum potassium or aluminum ammonium alum.

Alcohol dries out the skin and should really be avoided. Like parabens, replacing synthetic fragrances with natural essential oils or other fragrances. And instead of triclosan and farnesol, you can also choose products based on natural plant extracts or minerals that inhibit the vital activity of bacteria.

Spray, ball, stick, gel or cream?

The spray is applied easily and evenly, but at first it is better to control the process so that the child learns how to use the product correctly.

The stick is a convenient and compact form. But in the heat and with increased physical exertion, the substance can roll into lumps, spoil clothes and cause irritation.

It is convenient to apply deodorant from the package with a ball. But the composition often contains alcohol, so it is necessary to check the composition of the product.

Deo-gel and cream are well suited for delicate skin and can be used after epilation. The inconvenience may lie in the method of application: it is inconvenient to type the cream from a jar. In addition, these are the most expensive options.


Do not choose long-acting deodorants and antiperspirants. Teenagers sweat profusely, they need to shower frequently and wash sweat and dust off their skin. Applying anti-sweat products to dirty skin is strictly unacceptable.

Therefore, deodorants that last from 8 to 24 hours can be considered the most suitable options.

Deodorant or antiperspirant?

Deodorant or antiperspirant?

Antiperspirants should be used only in cases of excessive sweating, not constantly and in compliance with all application rules. Excessive use of antiperspirant can cause blockage of the sweat glands and inflammation — hidradenitis, a very painful and extremely unpleasant disease.

Deodorant with an unobtrusive smell is the best choice. But also subject to the terms of use.

How and when to use antiperspirants?

  • All deodorants and antiperspirants should only be applied to clean, dry skin.
  • Do not use antiperspirants for 3 days after shaving or epilation. Deodorant can be applied every other day, provided there are no wounds.
  • Antiperspirant should be applied in the evening if intense physical activity is planned in the morning. Deodorant is applied in the morning, immediately after a shower.
  • If the smell of sweat has already appeared, neither deodorant nor antiperspirant should be applied. First you need to wash off the sweat from the skin.
  • If redness, itching, burning, rash or swelling appear at the application site, stop using all antiperspirant products immediately. After the disappearance of unpleasant symptoms, the deodorant will have to be changed to a hypoallergenic one.

Are home remedies better for the skin?

Maybe even more useful. Some even effectively eliminate the smell of sweat for a while. But ready to use is much more convenient. However, you can try to prepare a «home» deodorant, it’s easy.

Here is one of the recipes.

Mix the following ingredients in a cup or jug:

  • 1/4 cup baking soda;
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot — arrowroot starch. Can be replaced with more affordable corn.
  • 4 large spoons of coconut oil
  • 1-2 ml essential oil: lavender, tea tree, bergamot, orange, peach, etc.

After mixing, heat in a water bath or in the microwave until the coconut oil is completely dissolved. Pour into chilled containers. It can be a test tube, a glass, or any other container from which a frozen piece can be easily removed and conveniently applied to the skin.

In addition, with increased sweating and a strong smell of sweat, a teenager can be advised to rinse the most sweating areas of the skin with a decoction of oak bark, string grass, chamomile, sage.

Proper nutrition, excluding spicy seasonings, fried, smoked foods, chips, and an excess of sweets, will also help reduce sweating and odor.

It is also useful to wear natural fabrics, change underwear regularly and keep the temperature in the rooms not too high.

Important: a teenager should have his own deodorant if it is a roll-on, pencil or cream, that is, such forms that come into contact with the skin when applied. The spray can be used by several people.

Expert comment

Evgeny Komarovsky, pediatrician

With the onset of puberty, body odor changes. With boys, this occurs at the age of 9 to 14 years, with girls — at 10-13 years. But the beginning of the use of deodorant should not be tied to age. The use of such funds does not begin at the age of 10 or at 14, but when the smell of sweat begins to cause discomfort either in the teenager himself or in those around him.

At the same time, I do not recommend the use of antiperspirants for children at all. Quite enough the usual hygiene procedures and deodorant. Showering 1-2 times a day, thoroughly rinsing all sweaty areas with good soap, and a light deodorant is all a teenager needs.

Clinical evaluation of an antiperspirant for hyperhidrosis / Celleno L, Mastropietro F, Tolaini MV, Pigatto PD // G Ital Dermatol Venereol 2019

Precocious puberty in children / A.V. Solntseva, A.V. Sukalo // Educational and methodical manual Minsk, BSMU 2010


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