Puberty: that magical time in life we all go through. For us to become adults, our bodies need to change. And that’s a great thing! Puberty doesn’t have to be scary. You can be prepared for all the changes your body will go through by having the right supplies on hand.
Making a puberty shopping list can make you feel more prepared to handle these developments as they come. Don’t know what you’ll need? Pure Freedom is here to help!
During puberty, our sweat glands become more active. Even when we’re not exercising, our bodies will produce sweat throughout the day. Sweat itself doesn’t smell bad, but when our sweat collects and stays on our bodies, it collects bacteria. Bacteria causes that body odor we all want to avoid, and deodorant helps repel that bacteria while antiperspirant reduces the amount of sweat our sweat glands produce.
Like we said before, our sweat glands become more active during and after puberty. Deodorant helps throughout the day, but we still need to wash our bodies to clean the skin of all sweat and bacteria. As kids, we can usually get away with taking a bath a couple times a week, but now that our sweat glands are more active, it’s important to shower or bathe pretty much every day, especially after exercising. Using a bar soap or body wash in the shower helps get rid of that sweat.
Not only do our sweat glands become more active, but so do our oil glands. Oil glands keep our skin moist throughout the day, which is a good thing. But just like sweat, when that oil collects and stays on the body for too long, it attracts bacteria. Washing our hair with shampoo and conditioner helps keep unhealthy amounts of oil away from our scalps, and keeps our hair looking and feeling fresh. If you have thinner hair, you may need to wash it pretty much every day. If you have thicker, coarser hair, you may need to wash it less. Ask your family members how they take care of their hair, and what sort of products they like to use.
The oil on our face can collect bacteria can cause acne, often called “pimples” or “zits.” Using facewash helps to refresh the skin and prevent bacteria from collecting. Everyone’s skin type is different, and some people experience more acne than others. Some have more dry, flaky skin, and others may have very oily skin. It may take some time to figure out which acne products work best for your skin type. Those of us with more severe acne can go to the dermatologist (the skin doctor) and get medicated products to help clear up the skin.
If you want to start shaving, you’ll need razors and some sort of shaving cream or body wash. During puberty, our bodies start to grow hair on the legs, under the arms, and in the pubic area (the underwear zone). Males also start to grow hair on their faces. There isn’t any reason to shave as far as health goes, but each culture has different expectations about shaving. Other countries may practice it differently, but typically in the US, men do some sort of facial hair grooming, and women shave their legs and underarms. If you want to start shaving, don’t just go at it on your own! Have a trusted adult show you how so you don’t hurt yourself with a sharp razor.
An athletic cup is worn over the male genitals to protect them during sports. During puberty, the male genitals grow larger and more sensitive, and it’s important to guard them from any damage that could happen during an athletic event. Find a trusted male adult to help you find an athletic cup that fits you, and have them explain how to use them.
Throughout puberty, a female’s breasts will start to grow. A bra is worn over the breasts to support and protect them. At first, a female might wear a training bra, which is more like a cami and often doesn’t have any padding. As her breasts get larger, she’ll start wearing adult bras, which come in all shapes and sizes and styles. Bra shopping can be lots of fun! Find a trusted female adult to go with you and help you find the right fit for your body.
Once a female starts her menstrual cycle, she’ll start having her monthly period. For about five days out of the month, blood will flow from her reproductive system and that blood flow will need to be contained. Pads, tampons, and menstrual cups are all products that keep the period flow from getting on clothes. There are all sorts of brands, styles, and sizes of these products, so take time to figure out what works best for your body! See our Menstrual Cycle Q+A for more details on periods and feminine hygiene.
You really can survive puberty. If you don’t believe us, check out our other Puberty Survival Tips. your first step to getting prepared is to talk to a trusted adult. Ask them to help you make a shopping list, and don’t be afraid to ask more about what to expect during this time. Any trusted adult you talk to has gone through puberty before, and they can be your coach as you navigate all these physical and emotional changes.
By Kath Crane