Whether you are a boy or girl, puberty comes with a lot of changes to your body and how you see yourself. You might find these changes overwhelming or confusing, but we’re here to help make sense out of how you’re feeling. If you want to learn more about puberty, here are some of the most common changes that both boys and girls notice during this period of development.
1. Hair growth in new places
Hair growth is normal for both boys and girls during puberty. For girls, you might notice hair on your legs, underarms, and pubic area. Boys will start to notice hair growth in the same areas with the addition of facial hair. Whatever you decide to do with this new hair growth is up to you, but some people decide to shape or remove excess hair growth. Shaving is one of the easiest ways to remove hair, but you might decide to wax or use an epilator if you want something that will last longer.
2. You might feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster
Your brain is experiencing substantial growth and development, particularly in the prefrontal cortex, the area that is responsible for regulating mood, planning, organization, and working memory. Combined with changes in hormones, you will start experiencing mood swings even if you don’t notice them yourself. You might go from feeling happy to sad and grumpy, all within the span of several minutes. If you want to have some control over your mood swings, it’s important to get plenty of sleep (around 8 to 9.5 hours!), exercise, and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
3. You sweat more
During puberty, apocrine sweat glands activate causing you to sweat more. These glands continuously release sweat unlike erricine sweat glands that work to prevent overheating, but emotional stressors can cause them to work overtime. With increased sweat, you might start noticing new body odor that can smell unpleasant, especially to other people. To help counteract the new smell, you might need to start showering more often or apply a deodorant or antiperspirant product to your underarm area.
4. Start to grow taller
One of the most noticeable growth spurts occurs during puberty. This usually happens between 8 and 13 years of age for girls and 10 to 15 years of age for boys. You could experience a rapid change in height, or it could occur more gradually throughout puberty, either way, you can expect to grow taller during this time.
5. New interest in relationships
You might have had a crush or two before puberty, but as you develop you will notice a new interest in relationships you haven’t had before. Many teenagers start dating around 14 to 16 years of age, but dating and relationships tend to become more serious during later adolescence. At this time, you might start noticing sexual attraction towards the opposite sex, same sex, or both and want to move further in your relationship. It’s important to be educated on STDs, unplanned pregnancy, and how to keep yourself safe.