Development & Hygiene

Do boys and girls develop at different rates and have different hygiene needs?

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

You might well know a boy who is developing faster than a girl of the same age, but on average girls do mature at a younger age than boys. There is some evidence that puberty may now be starting earlier in both girls and boys, but the huge amount of variability and overlap has made it difficult to be certain of this.

About equal numbers of boys and girls get acne, but boys are more likely to have acne that is constant, severe, or long lasting. Despite this, boys are less likely to get help from a dermatologist than are girls! (Going to a dermatologist must be like asking for directions!) Acne in girls is more likely to be intermittent, affected by their menstrual cycles and their cosmetics.

When it comes to hygiene, the take home message is to make choices not based on the sex of the child or on his or her age, but on that child’s skin and hair type and the stage of maturation.

May 13, 2008

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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