When should children start using deodorant?

Wearing deodorant is a must when metabolic changes lead to unpleasant body odors. However, the most important thing is to maintain good hygiene.

Last update: 06 July, 2022

Growth brings with it many changes at puberty. Among them are body odors, like the one under the armpits. That is when the question arises about the use of deodorant in children.

The issue worries many parents, since using deodorant on children has its pros, but also its cons. These products often contain harsh chemicals and there is a valid question as to whether they will be a good choice.

In fact, there are little ones that have barely grown and already have some annoying body odors. In those cases, there are even more doubts about the convenience of using the deodorant. What is the right time?

Why does body odor appear?

Before determining when is the right time to use deodorant on children, let’s discuss why body odor changes as they grow. Sweat glands in the armpits and groin are different from those in the rest of the body. These are called apocrine sweat glands.

This type produces sweat that has a higher fat content. Also, while the armpits and groin are areas where there are skin folds, they are more prone to moisture. Everything together causes more bacteria to accumulate there.

The bacteria housed in these areas process the high-fat sweat. In doing so, produce different compounds that give rise to the bad smell. Now, this change in the sweat glands and the change in body odors appears in a phase called adrenarche.


Adrenarche is a normal phase of development in which pubic hair, mild acne, and changes in body odor begin. This process is prior to puberty and usually manifests around the age of 9 in boys and around 8 in girls.

The metabolic change raises the question of whether it is appropriate to use deodorant or not in these children. On some occasions, there is a hormonal anomaly that leads to premature adrenarche, that is, the process appears earlier than expected. It occurs more in girls and occurs between the ages of 3 and 8.

It is also the case that there is more sweating than normal, both in children with early adrenarche and in those with the premature form. That condition is called hyperhidrosis and is common in childhood.

Puberty encompasses physical and psychological changes. Among the first is the modification of the sweat glands, which is linked to incipient acne.

When should children start using deodorant?

The best time for children to start using deodorant is usually between the ages of 10 and 12. However, this cannot be generalized. As we have clarified, sometimes bad body odor appears earlier. If regular hygiene is not enough, the use of these products may be necessary.

As a general rule, when armpit hair begins to appear, the change in body odor also begins. Under normal conditions, this can be combated with proper hygiene.

It is not convenient to use deodorant at very young ages.

What is indicated is that, if the child has very intense body odors and is not old enough to use deodorant, consult with the pediatrician for guidance on what to do. The same applies to those cases in which the sweat is excessive or has a very intense aroma.

How to choose a suitable deodorant

More important than using a deodorant is choosing the right one. The first thing to keep in mind is that children have more delicate skin than adults. Starting from this premise, the choice of a cream product is usually a priority, roll on either stick.

These types facilitate absorption into the skin. Likewise, it may be appropriate to choose those that have the label biowhich are usually made with gentler and more skin-friendly formulas. The product must not contain alcohol.

It is not advisable for a child under 12 years of age to use an antiperspirant. These formulas usually inhibit the production of sweat in the area. Ideally, they should only be used after the age of 14.

Hygiene measures add up

In principle, it is best if the child manages body odors without using deodorant. Especially if it is less than 10 years old.

Sometimes, a few basic hygienic measures are enough to control those unpleasant aromas:

  • Have a bath everyday and after doing activities that cause a lot of sweating.
  • Wash all parts of the body well, especially the armpits, genitals and feet.
  • Dry yourself well after bathing. Humidity favors the proliferation of bacteria.
  • Do not put on previously used clothing.
  • wear cotton clothes and baggy.
  • Avoid plastic footwear.
After carrying out activities that promote sweating, a bath is recommended to protect the skin.

Children’s deodorant is just a supplement

Both in cases of hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and bromhidrosis (too intense odour), what is indicated is not to use deodorant in excess, but to go to the pediatrician. He will point out what must be done.

To maintain a good body odor, basic hygiene measures must be observed. This is very likely to improve this aspect. Deodorant is a complement to hygiene and not the basis of it.

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