Puberty is a time of rapid metabolic change, with primary as well as secondary sexual characteristics being the most obvious developments.
Hair is a secondary sexual characteristic. Changes are seen not only on the body, but on the scalp as well. By the teens, scalp hair has reached its largest diameter and is at its thickest. Unfortunately, this is where the good news often ends. Teenage oil glands work overtime until around the age of 18. The hair is also usually allowed to grow longer and often acquires an odd, almost rancid smell. Mothers frequently bring teenagers to the Philip Kingsley Clinics to find out if anything is wrong, but it’s not really an ailment – it’s natural to produce oil and sweat and the hormone surge and its continuation can result in extra production of these secretions. Usually, the cause of the smell is lack of hygiene – it’s like body odour of the scalp, and is removed by daily shampooing. Adolescence is also the time when dandruff can begin to show. Dandruff is in fact extremely common in the early teens. Use of a flaky/itchy shampoo and scalp toner can be very effective in clearing dandruff and soothing an irritated scalp.
"Teenagers are notoriously sensitive to any negative remarks about them, so parents should tread carefully when trying to recommend something for smelly hair. It’s really best not to draw attention to it, but instead treat them to an expensive, premium quality, nice-smelling shampoo and conditioner as a gift, perhaps for doing something to help you. Daily washing is such an easy cure – it’s just simple hygiene." Philip Kingsley
Teenage diets are usually not the best – being high in junk food, processed fats and sugars and low in nutritional value. Apart from affecting concentration and mental and bodily well-being, these diets can have a negative effect on skin secretions, making oily scalps and dandruff worse.
"Try to counteract junk food by giving your teenager salads, vegetables and fruit at every possible occasion – if indeed they want to eat them when these foods are offered. Difficult, I know – I’ve been through it five times! To my distress, once the teenage years hit, cutting up nutritional goodies into animal, heart and star shapes does not seem to go down very well anymore…I found my teenagers were more likely to eat fruits and vegetables when they were made a bit more “interesting”. Apple with peanut butter, vegetables with dips, fruit parfaits and salads with their favorite dressings were quite popular. And if that failed, I threatened to take television time away." Philip Kingsley