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What do you look like?

You won’t wake up one morning and look completely different. But gradually, your body will come to seem a little new and unknown. A lot of things happen to the way you look during puberty, and sometimes the changes are rapid, sometimes they’re slow.

Your breasts, for example. A lot of girls realise that they’ve entered puberty because their breasts become tender, or slightly lumpy. Sometimes it feels as though there’s a small pea sitting behind your nipple. The ‘pea’ is a sign your breast is growing and is nothing you need to worry about. Your breasts will probably also grow at slightly different rates – it happens that way for most women. The breast that grows more slowly usually catches up, by and large, but very few full-grown women have breasts of exactly the same size. But they still work fine!

Puberty is also when hair starts growing in various places on your body. Mainly around your genitals and under your arms, but some girls get extra hair growth on their arms or legs, for example. There’s no need to feel like some sort of furry guinea pig if this happens. Pubic hair is designed to protect your slightly more delicate bits and to keep them ventilated. In other words, it’s a good thing to have. And don’t worry – you’re not going to grow an entire forest of hair overnight!

One of the things about puberty that might seem completely unnecessary is that the glands in your face start producing oils that make your skin greasy. Greasy skin = spots (also known as acne). Fortunately, the spots disappear after a while, but it’s no fun having a pimple right on the end of your nose on the very day that the school photographer is coming. Your sweat glands will also start working harder during puberty, so you’ll find yourself sweating more than before. The sweat might smell a bit different, too, so washing yourself thoroughly every day and using a good deodorant is a good idea.

A lot of people grow taller very rapidly during puberty. If you buy new jeans, it’s a good idea to buy them longer than you need, because it would be a shame if one month later, they stopped below the knee. Girls also grow wider around the hips. This is because your pelvis is growing to allow you to give birth to a child. And because you’re getting bigger in every direction, it’s quite normal for your weight to increase during puberty.

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