A Girl’s Guide to Summer Hygiene

You’re having massive breakouts? Embarrassing armpit stains? Not sure if the pool and your period are a good mix? Yeah, your feminine hygiene catches a whole new wave when summer rolls around. Here, we help you navigate those choppy waters.

Summer Hygiene Lesson No. 1: Bikini Line Dance
When it comes to that spot on your legs that peeks out from beneath your bathing suit, well...there’s often some hair there. And shaving that sensitive area can be tricky at first. Try these tips:

1. Get into a shallow bath or shower -- do not attempt to shave while dry!

2. Lather the area up with a good fragrance-free shaving gel.

3. Spread those legs, or prop one leg at a time up on a ledge, and gently shave along your bikini line with a new -- never dull! -- razor.

4. Rinse your body (and the razor) with water, and pat your parts dry with a clean towel.

Breaking out along the area where you shaved? Those are razor bumps, caused by shaven hairs curling back and growing into the skin. Stop shaving until they clear up. If they don’t go away within a week or so, talk to your doctor about treating the area with hydrocortisone cream.

Summer Hygiene Lesson No. 2: Sweaty Pit Stop
Naturally, there’s no part of us that’s sweatier in the summer than the armpits! Of course, be sure to wash yourself daily. To avoid those nasty T-shirt stains, use a good antiperspirant (not just a deodorant). Carry it with you in a backpack or purse so you can reapply often.

If excessive sweating continues to be a problem, try dusting a little cornstarch or baking soda under your arms in the morning after your antiperspirant has dried. (Tank tops are not recommended with this method.) If you’re not shaving yet, this might be a good time to ask your mom if you can start, since underarm hair can increase sweat and odor.

Summer Hygiene Lesson No. 3: Swimming ... Period
It’s the question that every girl asks at least once: “Can I swim when I’m on my period?” The answer is yes -- if you wear a tampon. You cannot get into the water with a pad or no protection, as you risk leaving a trail of blood in your wake. Ugh.

If you’ve never used tampons before, talk to your mom or other parental figure about it. If you decide tampons are right for you, lock yourself in the bathroom next time you’re having a period and follow the directions that come in the box until you’re comfortable with it. Then, grab your bathing suit, jump into the pool and make a splash!