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Puberty in girls

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Most girls notice that their bodies start to change anywhere between the age of 9 and 16. Some girls start and end puberty earlier than others.

Your body will begin to change on the outside. At the start, you may experience a growth spurt, which means you grow taller in a short period of time.

During puberty, your breasts become bigger, as do your buttocks. Hair begins to grow under your arms and between your legs. Also, you may get spots or acne. All these changes are normal. The changes are triggered by hormones, diet, and hereditary factors including your ethnic background.

In general, puberty ends by the age of 17 or 18, by then your body has matured into an adult body.

Changes on the outside

Skin and spots
Hormones might make your skin produce more oil, known as sebum, that can block skin pores and hair follicles. In many girls, this causes bumps or spots on your skin, also known as acne.

If you get spots, use a skin cleanser to make your skin less greasy. Don’t use ordinary soap – it can dry your skin out. It will then make even more grease so you get even more spots.

Breasts start to develop and hair starts to grow
In most girls, breasts start growing first, followed by pubic hair, and hair in the armpits. Don’ t worry if you start growing hair before breasts. This is also normal.

During puberty, your breasts start growing. It can start when you’re as young as eight, but might not begin until you’re thirteen.

You may notice that the inner lips around the entrance of your vagina, called the inner labia (labia minora), start to grow. They can grow larger than the outer lips, known as the outer labia (labia majora). And your hips, buttocks and thighs become rounder.

During puberty, hair grows on your outer labia – it’s soft at first but later it grows coarser. The colour of your outer labia may change and become slightly darker than the skin on your upper thighs. You may notice that your inner labia are larger than the outer labia.

Your inner lips may be smooth or wrinkly, thick or thin, shorter on one side than the other, darker along the edges. The inner labia can come in different colours, such as pink, brown, purplish, black, or two tones. All these differences are okay.

Hips widen
Around the age of 12, many girls have a growth spurt – in other words, they suddenly start growing more quickly. This happens in girls earlier than it does in boys. Often you get your first period after a growth spurt.

Sweating

During puberty, you’re likely to sweat more, especially under your arms. This means you might smell more because of the sweat. It’s perfectly normal and is caused by changes in your hormone levels. Just wash every day and wear clean clothes. If you like you can also use deodorant or antiperspirant. Other alternatives are talc powder (don’t use it on your vagina or breathe it in – it’s poisonous), body spray or perfume. If you can’t get a shower, you could use baby wipes to wipe under your arms and between your legs.

 

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