Pimples. Growing breasts. Body hair. Moody moments. If any of this sounds familiar, you’re likely on the path of puberty. It’s a road everyone travels, and it certainly has its bumps. But it’s also an amazing time.

Puberty is when you start making the change from being a child to being an adult. And it’s when your body develops the ability to have a baby. It all happens thanks to changing hormones, or natural body chemicals.

With everything that’s changing, life can feel a little overwhelming. But you can feel more in control if you take good care of your body. Knowing what to expect can help, too, so keep reading. (And don’t forget that puberty also involves changes you can’t see — like changes to your self-esteem and your feelings.

In this section, you can learn about:

Adolescence and puberty can be so confusing! Here’s some info on what to expect and when:

  • Puberty in girls usually starts between the ages of 8 and 13 and ends by around 14. For boys, puberty usually starts between 10 and 14, and ends by around 15 or 16.
  • For girls, one of the first signs of puberty usually is their breasts starting to grow.
  • Getting your period (menstruation) usually happens later, around two years after breast growth starts.
  • In between, you’ll probably start to see more hair in places like under your arms and in your pubic area.
  • Puberty involves big changes to your shape, including getting taller (which stops when puberty ends).

Of course, it can be hard to have your body change at a slower or faster rate than your friends’ bodies. If how fast or slow your body is changing is upsetting you, talk to an adult you trust.

If you’re developing slower or faster than you think you should, your body may just be changing at its own natural rate. It’s a good idea to let your doctor know if you start puberty before age 8. Also, let your doctor know if you don’t have any signs of puberty by the time you’re 14. Your doctor can check whether a medical problem is involved.

These are some of the changes you can expect during puberty:

  • A curvier shape
  • Wider hips, thighs, and bottom
  • Normal weight gain as your body structure grows
  • Stretch marks, or little scars, where your skin was pulled from growing fast (but that usually fade over time)

You’ll also see more body hairchanges to your breasts, and possibly some acne. We’ve got lots of helpful tips on each of those topics, too!

Keep in mind that these changes all are common and normal! And make sure to take good care of your great, growing body. With everything that’s going on, it’s important to eat wellstay fit, and get enough sleep.

During puberty, changes don’t happen only to your body — changes happen in your mind, too.

  • You are able to understand more complex matters.
  • You are starting to make more of your own moral choices.
  • You know more about who you are, and what your likes and dislikes are.
  • You may have some new, strong emotions.

The teen years can seem like an emotional roller coaster, with worries about your changing looks, the demands of school, and pressure to fit in. You might feel alone on this ride, but everyone struggles with it. And some of your experiences have to do with the physical changes of this age, including shifts in your hormones and a brain that’s developing just like your body is.

Even though this can be a stressful time, it’s also a great chance to figure out who you are, what you care about, and how to value and respect the person you’re becoming!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by some of the changes you’re going through, talking can help. Don’t be afraid to go to a parent, school counselor, or other adult you trust. They were young once, too!