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Health & Parenting

Teen Hygiene Tips

As a parent, it’s your job to help your kids and explain the teen hygiene basics. But where do you start?
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Combating Teen Hygiene Myths

Talking about the importance of good teen hygiene also means discussing what's not important. When you're a teenager, your understanding of how the body works is bound to be riddled with misconceptions and myths. Some common teen hygiene legends include:

  • Shaving makes hair grow back faster and thicker
  • Girls need to douche or else they'll smell
  • Greasy foods cause acne
  • Getting a tan will cure acne
  • Masturbation causes blindness, hairy palms, madness, and other health calamities

So when you're talking about what's important for good teen hygiene, tell your kids to be skeptical of what they hear from their friends. You may be surprised by some of the outlandish things that otherwise sensible teenagers believe.

Getting Your Kids to Practice Good Teen Hygiene

Altmann says that many kids are receptive to advice about good hygiene. After all, they have a vested interest.

"Teens don't want to smell," says Altmann. "They don't want to have terrible acne. So many don't mind bathing and practicing good hygiene because they don't want people making fun of them at school."

But peer pressure isn't always enough to get kids to adopt good teen hygiene, experts say. Wibbelsman says that he finds boys more prone to bad hygiene habits.

"When it comes to hygiene for guys, there can be a steep learning curve," says Wibbelsman. "Some guys just don't care." They refuse to shower -- even after exercise. As a result, they can smell pretty rank and may start developing rashes and other problems, Wibbelsman says.

So what can you do? Here are a few tips on getting your kid to adopt better teen hygiene habits.

Make good hygiene a responsibility. If your teen is resistant to basic teen hygiene -- like showering after practice or using deodorant -- don't just nag or plead. Explain that taking care of himself is a responsibility, and start treating it like his other household duties. Just as he is supposed to take out the trash and keep his room clean, he now has to look after his hygiene. If he doesn't, there should be clear repercussions, like revoked privileges. 

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