The puberty experience is unique to each girl, with youngsters reaching various milestones at different ages. With the appearance of underarm hair, you can be sure big changes are beginning and physical maturity is not far away. Knowing the timing and sequence of physical changes will enable you to support your daughter through puberty.
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The onset of puberty can begin anywhere between ages 8 and 13, according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Physical maturation generally occurs in a sequence, and the entire process could take up to six years. Generally, underarm hair appears about two years after pubic hair appears, Palo Alto says.
First Hair Arrives
Initially, underarm hair will appear soft and fine, but over time, the texture and weight of the underarm hair will become thicker and coarser. Hair color under the arms may match the hair color on a girl’s head and body or it could be darker or lighter, according to the PBSKids website. A difference in color may seem strange, but this can be completely normal.
And Then It Goes
At some point, your daughter will likely want to remove underarm hair due to societal norms. When you feel your daughter is ready to shave her underarm hair, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ HealthyChildren website recommends hair removal by electric razor only, for safety. During the first few times your daughter shaves, supervise and share in the process to provide help and support. You might demonstrate how you shave your own armpits, if you feel comfortable doing so.
Before Her Time
Occasionally, a girl might experience precocious puberty, which involves an early onset of physical maturation. Precocious puberty involves onset of physical changes before age 7 or 8 for girls, according to the KidsHealth website. If you see underarm hair growing or other signs of puberty and your daughter is younger than age 7, consult your child’s pediatrician for guidance. Your child may need evaluation and treatment from an endocrinologist to stop or reverse the physical growth. Long-term effects of precocious puberty can create both physical and emotional problems. A child might reach adulthood not growing to full adult height because of the early maturity. Emotionally, a child may also suffer because of embarrassment and social struggles.