While children sweat prior to reaching puberty, it’s a different kind of sweat from the type that produces body odour. In fact, our bodies contain two kinds of sweat glands - eccrine glands which are found all over the body, and the apocrine glands which are found under the arms and in the groin.
Eccrine glands produce the sweat that helps to cool us down when we’re too hot, have a fever, have been exerted or have eaten spicy food. This type of sweat is mostly a combination of water and salt and is what helps to cool the body as it evaporates. The eccrine glands are active from babyhood.
The apocrine glands produce oils as well as sweat after puberty begins. These also cause sweating when we’re hot, or when we’re stressed or feeling anxious, and are activated by the hormone changes that occur during puberty.
But what if you feel your child is too young to be starting puberty?
The normal age at which puberty occurs is from eight to fourteen for girls, and from nine for boys. Having said this, early onset puberty (precocious puberty) is becoming more common and affecting more youngsters.
Precocious puberty does not mean that there is anything wrong with your child, although you should of course check out any excessive sweating with a healthcare professional.
To help your child stay fresh, particularly during the school day, why not consider the following tips?
- Choose cotton and other natural fibre clothes, as these help to absorb sweat and allow the skin to breath.
- Regular bathing can help, particularly using natural unscented body wash and soaps that are kind to skin.
- Consider the use of a natural deodorant that won’t irritate sensitive young skin.