Four teenage friends

Puberty is when your body goes through lots of changes as you grow from being a child to an adult.

Puberty is a normal part of life, but its still common to feel anxious, excited or even confused about it. Knowing what to expect can help make it less stressful, and talking your parents and friends you trust can also help.

When should puberty start?

The average age for girls to start puberty is 11, while for boys the average age is 12.

But it is perfectly normal for puberty to begin at any point between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls and 9 and 14 for boys.

When to get GP advice

We're all different and so not everyone starts to go through puberty at the same time. There's usually not any need to worry if puberty does not start around the average age, but it is a good idea to speak to your GP for advice if it starts before 8 or has not started by around 14.

What changes can you expect during puberty?

All bodies

Cartoon girl with acne

You may get acne on your face and body.

Cartoon girl with body odour

You will start to sweat more, and you may have body odour. You may want to shower more and start using deodorant.

Cartoon armpit with body hair

Hair will grow under your armpits and "pubic hair" will grow around your genitals.

Cartoon legs with hair

You may grow more hair on your arms and legs, and this hair might be darker.

Cartoon legs with growing pains

You might feel some "growing pains" in your arms and legs.


Your voice will get lower and deeper. It might crackle sometimes whilst it is changing, but that's normal and will go away.

Your Adam's apple might get bigger and more visible.

Hair may grow on your face, chest and back.

You may have swelling around your nipples during puberty. This usually happens to around half of males, and it can last for a few months or up to a few years.

Your chest and shoulders get broader.

Your penis and testicles will get bigger.

Male cartoon
Puberty changes in males


Your breasts develop and get bigger.

Your hips will get wider and your body may become more curvy.

You start getting your period.

Your labia may change colour and grow bigger.

Female cartoon
Puberty changes in females

Puberty and your emotions

Puberty is caused by hormones, and these affect your emotions as well as your body. You may find your emotions become stronger and more intense during puberty, and it is common to go through mood swings – when your emotions change quickly and randomly.

Sexual thoughts

You'll also start having more sexual thoughts and urges, and you might notice that you feel sexually excited, or "turned on". Some people masturbate to release this tension and explore their sexuality.


Managing your emotions

All these feelings can be confusing, but there are things you can do to help manage them. Try talking to friends or family who can help you through your feelings, or try activities like exercise, writing, music or art to help deal with your emotions and release any extra energy.

Find out more about puberty on the Brook website: Puberty – Brook