It's not always easy to determine at what age your child should begin wearing deodorant. There are many factors to consider and since each child can develop differently, the age can vary. Discover some ways to tell if it's time to start, what health experts suggest, and how to choose the right products.
When Your Child Might Need Deodorant
The onset of puberty is typically associated with a change in body odor. According to the Nemours Foundation, most girls begin going through puberty sometime between the ages of eight and 13. For boys, the average age is nine to 14 years. However, recent studies are showing some children may begin experiencing puberty even earlier. According to U.S. News and World Reports, a study in Pediatrics revealed some girls are beginning to show signs up puberty by age seven.
This may seem very young to many parents but according to Healthline, it's actually not uncommon for a child of eight, nine, or ten years to need deodorant. The Connecticut Children's Medical Center also states there is no specific age at which children should start wearing deodorant, but it's important to maintain good hygiene practices and follow the directions when a child does begin to use one.
If your child is bathing or showering daily, using good hygiene practices, and wearing clean clothing every day, and you still notice a strong body odor, it might be time to introduce deodorant.
Considerations in Deodorant for Children
Your child's health and safety are important, so it's good to consider the products and ingredients you'll allow him or her to use.
Deodorant Versus Antiperspirant
Although at first glance deodorants and antiperspirants might seem the same, they are actually different products. The primary difference is antiperspirants prevent perspiration while deodorants target bacteria to control odor.
Healthline suggests children and teens can safely use both antiperspirants and deodorants, but only antiperspirants contain aluminum zirconium. This ingredient has been linked to some health concerns, such as neurological damage related to Alzheimer's disease.
Other Ingredients of Concern
There are also some ingredients in deodorants parents may want to avoid. According to biology expert Heather Patisaul, Ph.D. and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Toxicology, Philip Harvey, Ph.D., in an article on Time.com, other potentially toxic ingredients to watch out for include:
- Parabens: Used as a preservative in some deodorants, this can affect how the body regulates hormones and may be linked with some cancers.
- Triclosan: This may be used in products because it's effective at killing bacteria on the skin, but it has been banned by the FDA in hand soaps and could be linked with unusual hormone activity.
- Phthalates: This ingredient may be used because of its ability to make products adhere to the skin, but it may be related to the way the body produces and uses hormones, and it could have a link to a higher risk of asthma and eczema.
- Fragrances: Certain chemicals in the fragrances used in deodorants could be related to allergic reactions in some people.
Choosing Deodorants for Kids
In an article on the safety of using deodorant for children on Very Well Family, board-certified physician Vincent Iannelli, MD, says there are many safe options in deodorants for kids.
Choosing options with natural ingredients may be gentler on a child's skin, as well as avoiding some of the more controversial ingredients listed above. Consider these options when shopping for a deodorant for your child:
Truly's Natural Deodorants
Designed to be soothing and gentle, Truly's Natural deodorants for kids only contains natural ingredients, including organic coconut oil, baking soda, and beeswax. It goes on like a cream and won't sting. It's available for about $9 and comes with a money-back guarantee.
Made in different formulas for boys and one for girls (about $5 each), Fresh Kidz deodorants were developed after years of working with scientists in laboratories to produce a product designed for younger, more sensitive skin and lacking harmful chemicals. You can buy it at authorized retailers like Walmart and Target.
Available by Tom's of Maine, the Wicked Cool kids' deodorant is available in Girls' Summer Fun or Boys' Freestyle scents at places like Walmart and Target for about $5. It contains ingredients like sunflower seed oil, aloe extract, and natural fragrance to fight odor.
Fresh and Healthy
It can be difficult watching your child grow up but having an idea of when deodorant use might be in order and what products and ingredients to look for can help. Make sure your child is following a good hygiene routine, and you can feel good about starting deodorant thanks to these options.