At what age should children start using deodorant

Some children do not like washing, others want to shower every day during puberty: which is crucial for personal hygiene.

Ms. Ilschner, what is the best way to teach children about hygiene?
It is worthwhile to introduce rituals early on and to exemplify them positively as a matter of course, not as a chore. This applies, for example, to daily washing in the morning and evening. Otherwise the threshold will eventually be too big and the children will ask themselves when they get older: “Why should I wash at all? I don't look dirty at all. "

What can parents do if the child is vehemently opposed to water?
Best to include. So let the child choose, for example: which towel will we take today, the white or the pink one? Painting soap can also be a nice thing every now and then: it makes soaping more visible and most children find that exciting. It is important that the washing rituals at home are the same or similar to those at daycare, so if the following applies in both places: hands are washed before meals. It is ideal when personal hygiene becomes an automated process like brushing your teeth.

Carola Ilschner coordinates the project “Hygiene Tips for Kids” at the Institute for Hygiene and Public Health at the University of Bonn.

Which hygiene rules are really important in the family?
Hand washing should be really thorough because it is the most important measure of infection prevention. Short fingernails not only prevent injuries, but also prevent the dirt from sticking. Each family member should have their own towel and hang it up so that it dries quickly. Always wash towels at at least 60 degrees and with heavy duty detergent. 30 degrees and liquid detergent are not enough.

Should children shower or bathe better?
Showering is better for the environment because less water is usually used, and it also has a greater mechanical effect: germs and dirt are washed away immediately. It's best to work your way from top to bottom. By the way, you don't have to completely lather the entire body. A small amount of shower gel is sufficient.

And where exactly should the shower gel be used?
There are particularly many germs where skin lies on skin: armpits, perineum, anal folds. Always direct the water jet from front to back when cleaning the intimate area. The sweat line on the back should also not be forgotten, i.e. the area where athletes typically sweat a lot. Many people do not think about their feet when showering, they should also be soaped thoroughly and the spaces between them should be dried off well later.

Some teenagers want to shower every day. Is this okay?
Yes, if the water is not too hot and the skin is not rubbed vigorously. The body care products should be tailored to the skin type and should not contain any allergenic perfumes, dyes or fragrances. Showering three times a week is a guideline (see box on the right), it always depends on the individual case: whether the child sweats a lot, whether they have done sports, whether they have neurodermatitis, whether it was very hot that day or not. For girls, of course, monthly hygiene is also important. In the end, more frequent showers are primarily about feeling good in your own skin.

When should children start using deodorant?
According to personal feelings. The unpleasant body odor is caused by bacteria that break down sweat, which begins with the change in hormones during puberty or pre-puberty. With girls it can be as early as nine or ten years old. Deodorant is not yet necessary in elementary school age.

Many teenagers like to fog themselves excessively in deodorant clouds.
Yes, especially after school sports because they don't want to use the showers there or because there is no time for it. A replacement T-shirt is then recommended in any case. From a hygienic point of view, it is important not to exchange deodorant rollers with each other, just as little as lipsticks or labelless. Otherwise germs or herpes can be transmitted.

Have we not long since got into the hygiene craze? The drug store shelves are full of shower gels and body lotions.
There is an ambivalence. On the one hand there are so many personal care products, on the other hand it is said that the children should play more in the dirt again. But farm children also wash their hands after playing in the stable and that is exactly what is crucial. Mudling is fine, of course, but we should teach our children early on that there are hygiene rules like washing hands. And that they do not hold their mouth, eyes or nose with dirty hands, because this is the way infections are transmitted particularly often.

Tips on personal hygiene in children

There are no general recommendations that apply to everyone, since personal hygiene is always individual and also depends on skin type, state of health and other factors. But it makes sense for all children and adults to wash their face and intimate areas every day.

Babies and toddlers
Bathe if necessary, otherwise once a week is sufficient.

Elementary school children
Bath or shower if necessary, otherwise it is
once or twice a week sufficient.

If the face, armpits and genital area are washed daily, it is sufficient to shower three times a week and as required (e.g. after exercise).