body is going through major changes right now—have you noticed?
If you’re really confused about what all of these changes
mean, don’t worry … there are answers to your questions.
And if your friends are changing in ways you’re not, don’t
worry either … everyone develops at a different pace.
probably hearing the term “puberty” often now
that you are getting older. But do you understand what puberty
means? Simply put, puberty is the process of growing up from a
child into an adult. Between the ages of 8 and 14, your body begins
on the outside. What you might not know is that your body has been
changing on the inside for a long time, preparing you for puberty.
Another term you probably hear a lot is “hormones.” Your
parents, doctors and health teachers at school are all telling
you about your “crazy hormones” during puberty. In
case you were wondering, hormones are the chemicals inside your
actually cause all of these changes. They come from your brain,
but travel in your blood. Everywhere hormones go they trigger growth
and development. There are lots of different types of hormones;
will make you grow, and some will make you feel happy or sad.
During puberty, hormones also trigger hair to grow in new places.
Your legs and underarms will begin to grow thicker hair, and you
may decide to start shaving. You don’t have to shave in order
to keep up with your hygiene, but it may be something you decide
to do. Check out this information on the best tips for shaving.
will also begin to grow in your pubic area. This is the area between your legs that covers your genitals. At first the hair
might be fine and thin, but eventually it will become thicker and
curlier. The area covered by hair will look like an upside-down
triangle in between your legs on your body. It’s perfectly
normal to grow pubic hair—but each person’s hair is
different, and grows at a different rate. Sometimes the hair in
area will grow out toward your thighs or up onto your belly. This
normal and depends on your body type.
In puberty, hormones are signaling your body to start growing breasts.
Before, you had a completely flat chest with just nipples. Now,
all of the sudden you are developing “buds.” These
are the beginning of what will become your breasts. You may also
change in your nipples, and the area surrounding them may be getting
bigger or darker in color. All of these are natural changes in
your body. Sometimes breasts will develop unevenly, and this is
for alarm. Eventually, your breasts will even out, but most of
the time there will be some slight differences between your left
Some girls develop larger breasts than others, and
at different ages. You may begin to develop buds at 8, or you may not notice
any changes until you are 15. When you start developing your breasts, you may want to begin to
wear a bra. Bras are important because they provide extra support
for your breasts. Bras make it more comfortable to be active throughout
the day. Choosing the right bra for you is very important. Most
stores have “training bras,” which are perfect for
girls who are still developing breasts. Buying a bra can be fun,
is no need to stress over the situation. Ask your mom or somebody
close to you to help select your first bra.
During the years of puberty and a little bit beyond, you will grow
to almost your full adult height. That’s a big difference
from when you were a little kid! Have you ever heard of a growth
spurt? That’s when girls like you grow a few inches in a
relatively short period of time. If you are 4’10” on
the fourth of July and end up being 5’3” by winter
break, you aren’t a freak of nature. It is completely normal
for girls your age to grow really fast … so don’t be
surprised if you grow up to six inches in a year. Of course, if
you aren’t growing much that’s ok, too. Some people
have growth spurts later on in their teen years, and sometimes
you will grow gradually over time. Also, look at your parents’ height.
If they are both short, don’t wish for a sudden growth
spurt to defy your genetics any time soon.
During puberty, your hips
and waist will begin to fill out. You might notice that your old
jeans are more snug on your hips than
they used to be. This is because your body is preparing you for childbirth later
in life. That definitely doesn’t mean you’re supposed
to have a baby anytime soon! It just means that as you become a
woman, certain changes happen that can make it easier for you to
have a baby later on, if you choose to. So, if you feel like your
butt and hips are looking a bit more voluptuous lately, don’t sweat
it. That’s normal. You will also begin to gain some extra
weight in these areas, your stomach and in your breasts. That’s
ok, too. Your body is preparing for menstruation. Remember that
putting on a little weight is healthy during puberty. It’s
time to let go of those silly ideas that you are supposed to be
Now that you’re a teen, you’re officially zit-prone. That means
you’re getting zits here and there, or all the time. But that’s
ok. Those hormones that run around your body during puberty are signaling your
oil glands to work overtime. This is why you feel sweaty and notice body odor
sometimes. It’s also why your hair feels greasy if you forget to shower
for a day. When the oil glands on your face work overtime, they become clogged
with dead skin cells, hairs and bacteria—and voila! Zits pop up. Zits
can be either pimples, whiteheads or blackheads. They’re perfectly normal
although you probably hate them and think that everybody is staring at your
zit whenever you speak. There are definitely tried and true ways to prevent
zits: cleaning your face every night and every morning, drinking plenty of
water and using less oily makeup. You can get tons of products at the drugstore
to help you fight off zits and clean your face. If you think you have too many
zits all the time, or acne, go to see a dermatologist. A dermatologist, or
a skin doctor, will be able to help you clear up acne by giving you strong
Some days do you feel like a total witch who gets mad easily, or
totally overreacts to minor things? On other days do you feel
like crying at your locker when
your pen drops? Do you choke back tears when your little brother eats the last
cookie? And then the next day you’re just peachy-keen and happy-go-lucky?
Mood swings like these are totally confusing but completely normal for girls
in puberty. Those hormones in your blood have a lot of power over your body.
They also affect your feelings. Hormones sometimes make little things seem
like huge deals and huge deals seem like catastrophes. Of course, all of the
other pressure in your life plus the confusion that comes with physical changes
to your body don’t help matters in the emotion department either.
It’s really important that you know that these emotional roller-coaster
rides are all a natural part of puberty so that you don’t think you’re
crazy. If you realize that your feelings are linked to your hormones and to
growing up, it will be easier for you to deal with them. So next time you totally
freak, take a deep breath and try to relax. Everything is going to be ok, it’s
just a part of this adventure called puberty!