Puberty 101

Puberty can be a hard and confusing time. As your body is developing, things will happen that are beyond your control. Understanding what changes your body will go through will help you to worry less and relax more.

So, what are some common things that can happen during puberty? First, your skin will likely be oilier than you’re used to, which can lead to an increase in pimples and blackheads. Perspiration will increase, which can cause body odor. Weight gain is also common. In addition to these changes, you’ll also see hair grow under your arms and in your pubic area. Emotional changes are also likely to come about with the increase of testosterone and estrogen.

While this seems like a lot at once, don’t worry. There are things you can do to keep these changes under control. For example, try adopting a new skin care routine to combat oil and acne. If acne is concerning, talk with your pediatric provider or a specialist at UPMC Children’s Dermatology Services. Showering regularly can help to keep body odor under control. If you are not already doing so, now is also a good time to begin wearing deodorant.

As for controlling your weight, exercising regularly will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and boost your mood. Practice healthy eating habits like eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and complex carbohydrates. It is also important to avoid mindless eating, for example snacking on chips while watching TV, which can lead to sneaky weight gain.

Remember that you are not alone in this journey. Everyone around you, in your age group, is going through the same thing. Your UPMC Children's Community Pediatrics provider will discuss the changes your body’s going through during your annual well visit. If you want to, well visits are a great opportunity to turn to him or her as a trusted resource for questions you might not be comfortable asking a parent.

Recommended Books for Pre-Teens and Teens

  • The "What’s Happening to My Body" Book for Boys, by Lynda Madaras with Area Madaras
  • The "What's Happening to My Body" Book for Girls, by Lynda Madaras with Area Madaras
  • The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls, by Valorie Schaefer
  • The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls, by Cara Natterson
  • Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys, by Cara Natterson
  • The Boys Body Book: Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up YOU, by Kelli Dunham
  • Boy’s Guide to Becoming a Teen, written by American Medical Association
  • Girl’s Guide to Becoming a Teen, written by American Medical Association
  • The ABC’s of LGBT+, by Ashley Mardell