Mom Asks How To Help Her 'Delightful' Yet 'Perpetually Greasy & Stinky' Teen Smell Better

Hormones bring a lot of changes for teenagers, both emotional and physical.

teen boy Jeremy McKnight / Unsplash 

As kids enter their teenage years, parents can expect them to go through various changes, from behavioral and emotional shifts like taking more risks or having mood swings to physical changes brought on by hormones.

One mom noticed a particularly drastic change in her 16-year-old son, and she’s not quite sure how to deal with it.

The mom asked how to help her ‘delightful’ but ‘perpetually greasy and stinky’ son smell better.

She wrote to the r/parenting subreddit to ask advice from other parents on how to "de-stink" her teenage boy.


Mom Asks How To Help Her Teen Son Smell BetterPhoto: irynakhabliuk / Canva Pro

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She described him as “a delightful child,” noting that “He helps with whatever around the house, has good grades, and is bright and (generally) agreeable. But my gosh, does the child stink.”


“He showers daily and has a whole bunch of deodorant, but he’s perpetually greasy and stinky,” the mom said. 



She asked other parents for suggestions for products to give teens, wondering how to “cut through the grease and make them smell nice.”

She added that her son is trying to find a summer job, and she thinks he’ll have better luck finding one “if he’s fresh and tidy.”


The mom also noted in the comments section that he has “a lot of acne,” which she recognized as “so normal for the age,” while asking if there was anything to help his skin stay balanced.

Mom Asks How To Help Her Delightful Yet Perpetually Greasy & Stinky Teen Smell Better Photo: Erik Lucatero / Unsplash 

While most teens would probably explode with embarrassment upon finding out that their mom asked their internet about their hygiene habits, the mom’s concern is hugely relatable. It shows just how much she cares about her son and his well-being.


Not one person in the comments shamed the mom or her son; instead, they acknowledged that puberty is just a smelly time.

Some parents wondered if her son knew how to properly take a shower, asking if he just stood under the water, letting the soap run down his body, or if he actually actively cleaned.

One parent had detailed guidance on the best way to get clean, which involved a lot of scrubbing.

“Show him how to SCRUB with a washcloth and soap,” they said. “Show him how to use his fingertips to massage his scalp. Wash top to bottom with the washcloth.”



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They also recommended he moisturize after he showers while his skin is still damp, noting, “This will help with the acne and the amount of oils his skin makes, [as] the skin compensates for lack of moisture by producing more oil which can cause more acne.”

Another parent gave their instructions on how to wash hair in a way that actually cuts the grease. Their process involved using “a lathering shampoo, distributing it in sections through the scalp, and massaging the scalp in circular motions using medium pressure and the pads of his fingers then rinsing super well.”

“A shocking number of people don’t actually cleanse the scalp well when applying shampoo which can make the hair health worse,” they explained. 

They also advised him to wash his hair before his body since shampoo residue can increase back acne. 




Someone else echoed the common thread of the comments, saying to make sure the teen is actually cleaning his hair and body when showering. They also asked if he might struggle with his mental health, noting, “When I was in a really bad state of mind, I wouldn’t actually wash my hair in the shower because I didn’t have the energy.”

Often, depression affects more than just our mood and outlook on life: It can make it difficult to follow through with executive function. Sometimes, doing the bare minimum for your daily hygiene routine is enough, especially if you’re just trying to survive.



Other parents shared that wearing clean clothes, sleeping on fresh sheets, and regularly doing laundry are essential to smelling nice. Some recommended he wear cotton or linen, as synthetic fabrics tend to bring out the body’s smell much faster.  


Multiple people shared that there’s a major difference between using deodorant and antiperspirant.

“Have him use an antiperspirant instead of a deodorant to help limit sweat output,” one person suggested. “Antiperspirants rely on aluminum to sort of block the body excreting as much, [which] sounds scary and gets greenwashing a lot, but it’s very well studied for safety."

Mom Asks How To Help Her Delightful Yet Perpetually Greasy & Stinky Teen Smell Better Photo: Yingchou Han / Unsplash 


They shared that antiperspirant works best if you put it on at night instead of in the morning. They touched on the science behind it, saying, “Sweat production tends to be lower at night because your core body temperature drops to support sleep, which allows the product to sink in enough to function as intended.”

“You can totally add a thin layer in the [morning] as well if you just feel the need to… But night application is key,” they added. 

While adolescence is a fraught time, hormonal changes are universal.

Every teen goes through an awkward phase, a smelly phase, a phase where they don’t know what to do with their bodies.

The good news about adolescence is that it only lasts for a finite period of time. After that, your body evens out, and you start feeling more at home in your own skin.


By asking for advice, this mom showed that her love and affection for her son transcends his smelliness. She wants to help him put the best version of himself into the world, which might mean teaching him the right way to shower. 

These conversations can be tough for kids and parents alike, but recognizing that everyone goes through this can help teens foster a sense of understanding and compassion for their changing bodies.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture analysis, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.