M.G. asks from Arlington Heights, IL on April 22, 2009
Kids & Deodorant
My 3rd grade son came home today smelling ripe.... not sure if this was a fluke - the temp, the polyester jersey he was wearing and his activity level.
How do I talk to him about using deodorant? Is there any particular brand that works better for kids or any I should stay away from?
N.W. answers from Chicago on April 22, 2009
They make deodorant for teens, I would start there. Some of the kids on my gymnastics team are starting to smell when they sweat and so we've suggested deodorant to them. Some of them are pretty young, 9-10 years old.
I do know that deodorant covers up the smell, antiperspirant actually stops you from sweating, but it also can contain metals which aren't so good for you. So maybe just start him off with a deodorant, an antibacterial soap, and some good showers!
M.J. answers from Chicago on April 23, 2009
Oh, that wet dog smell, isn't it lovely?
At that age I talk to them about keeping themselves clean and showering. We start at showering every other day and see if that helps before I have them shower every day.
All my boys use the Mennen Speedstick Deodarant. It's cheap and seems to do the job.
E.P. answers from Chicago on April 22, 2009
Yes...they smell ripe! Just walk through a gym class in the afternoon, with a bunch of 3-4th grade boys. Eeeeeeeeuuuuuwww!
It's great you are having this talk. Just be matter-of-fact (kind to his embarrassment), and bring it up during a quiet time. Try not to show your embarrassment if you have any. Conversation... "Since you're at the end of 3rd grade, I think it's important that we start addressing hygiene... at your age, it's good that you take showers once a day, and in the morning you should be putting on deodorant..." He may be totally embarrassed or the cool kid that knows more than others. It's amazing. Let him know that you can pick it out for him but it would be better for him to choose his own scent. We usually go to Target for that kind of stuff. This conversation was easy for my son - he hated the way gym class smelled and didn't want to be part of the problem!
Yes, teen brands are a good start. Buy "deodorant" NOT "antiperspirant/deodorant" because the latter have an aluminum based product that can actually clogs our pores and that's counter-productive to what our body is supposed to be doing. Same with "antibacterial"...products. They carry chemicals that our body just doesn't need. Good hand and body washing, with regular body washes or soaps are sufficient. He may want his own body wash too - he doesn't need a body spray but by 5th grade he may try to convince you that he does.
Currently, my son likes AXE deodorant (which is not a teen brand but they have "deodorants" as well as "deodorant/antiper"... so watch your labels. Some of the AXE products have such a strong fragrance. He uses "phoenix" and has used "clix" but you just have to smell them to see what appeals to you and him. Then tell your son to "just swipe well, once", otherwise, he may smell like a rose when he gets to school, as a little goes a long way.
S.Q. answers from Chicago on April 23, 2009
JASON is a brand I buy at Whole Foods that is clean and fresh, doesn't leave a strong scent.
Also, take a peek at his shoes. He should wear fresh, clean socks every day, or if he wears sandals give them time to air out at the end of the day. There are lots of stinky shoes around classrooms, phew!
A.H. answers from Chicago on April 24, 2009
I think it was 'all of the above.' lol.
Consider cotton (or breathable materials) t-shirts with cotton sweatshirts that can be removed for gym.
Showering every morning will become a must. Have your hubby give him a few pointers on washing in all the right places. You'd be surprised at how many boys don't know they need to soap it up under their arms and everywhere else.
And, find a mild, hypoallergenic, fragrance free deodorant to start him off on. There are lots of chemicals in most over the counter personal products that aren't healthy, especially for long-term use and on such porous areas such as armpits. So, you could opt for something from Fruitful Yield or the organics isle at the store to see if will do the trick. He's so young!
Just a warning - they just keep getting smellier!!