Help! Why Does My Child Smell Funky?

Are you starting to notice that though your child takes regular baths, there’s a whiff of unpleasant odor that catches your nostril’s attention? Kids do naturally get smelly especially when they play outside and start to sweat, but when you catch a sharp stinky smell of armpits, it can mean that puberty is starting! To know more about body odor in kids and how to address this, we consulted Aesthetic Physician and mom-of-two Doctor Christine Tayag-Hizon, and here’s what she discussed.

Help! Why Does My Child Smell Funky?

We asked the expert: Dr. Christine Tayag-Hizon


Excessive Sweating and Hormonal Changes

Body odor is caused by a host of factors including bacteria, sweat, and hormonal changes. When the apocrine sweat glands, found in the armpits, start to mature or become activated, the sweat produced contains oil or fat which can cause body odor.

(Pull-quote Layout) “There are a lot of causes of body odor in kids. It may be caused by hormonal changes that come when kids start puberty. Hyperhydrosis or excessive secretion of sweat glands may be another cause. It can contribute further to body odor by creating a moist environment which is essential for bacterial overgrowth. Inadequate hygiene and medical or dermatological conditions such as diabetes, obesity, intertrigo, or a diet that includes a lot of greasy food may further contribute to its development.” -Dr. Christine Tayag-Hizon


Understanding the sweat glans

(Layout) "There are two main types of sweat glands in the human body, the eccrine gland and the apocrine gland" -Dr. Christine Tayag-Hizon

Eccrine glands are distributed over the entire skin surface and regulates our body temperature through sweat production. Apocrine glands, on the other hand, are found in the underarm and groin areas which contribute to heavy sweating with odor.

Apocrine sweat glands start to mature at the onset of puberty. Dr. Christine tells us that puberty can manifest as early as the age of 7 for girls and 9 years old for boys, in general. Stinky sweat or body odor is normally not a cause for concern at this age bracket, but if your child exhibits other signs of puberty at a much younger age, it is best to mention this to your doctor.


Train your kids to practice good hygiene

Smelly armpits and stinky sweat isn’t uncommon among children and this can be primarily addressed through proper hygiene. Now this may not be that easy for kids to understand and a lot of times bad body odor can cause them to feel embarrassed, especially as they get older. A good way to explain body odor and hygiene to your kids is by being encouraging and having them practice cleanliness routines.

(Pull-quote Layout) “It is important for parents to make children develop a habit of smelling and looking good and clean. They should be encouraged to maintain an appropriate level of hygiene with the use of antibacterial soaps and antiperspirants.” -Dr. Christine Tayag-Hizon

Dr. Christine recommends training your kids to develop proper hygiene routines at an early age. These routines or habits include the following:


How to Develop Proper Hygiene in Kids: Take a bath twice a day Properly and regularly wash the underarms and other sweat-prone areas Remove sweaty clothing immediately Use safe, topical deodorant when necessary Choose unscented antiperspirants, gentle soaps, and lotion


(Pull-quote Layout) “I let my kids practice cleaning different parts of their body, the scalp, hands, armpits, legs, feet, groin, joints, back, belly button, elbows, and knees. Honestly, my children tend to finish off bathing quickly, so I try to make bathing a fun time so they spend enough time taking a bath.” -Dr. Christine

Remember Moms and Dads, good hygiene is key in staying fresh and clean. If you notice other strange odors coming from your child, other than the usual, always consult your doctor.

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