If you’re going through puberty you’ve probably noticed a few changes in your body, like growing breasts and hips.

You’ll also have spotted some pretty big developments in your V-zone. This is the area of skin running from just below your belly button to between your thighs, that’s roughly in the shape of a V.

For one thing, there may be pubic hair there now – hair that is thicker and coarser than the rest of the hair on your body. And you may have noticed a small amount of vaginal discharge – a clear or creamy liquid with a very slight smell. Don’t worry, this is all totally normal and something every girl experiences. And while these changes may seem strange, they’re happening for positive reasons. Pubic hair reduces friction, so that your intimate skin doesn’t become irritated, while discharge is your body’s way of keeping your cervix clean and your vagina moist, which helps prevent infection.

Another thing to look out for, of course, is your period. First periods are often light, perhaps just a small amount of blood, known as ‘spotting’, or it might be very dark, almost brown. This can happen in a very random way to start with, so you won’t get a clear or predictable pattern to your menstrual cycle right away. Again, this is nothing to worry about, and your periods will eventually settle into a regular routine.

Having pubic hair and discharge means your V-zone will smell stronger than before, because sweat and bacteria can quickly accumulate in such a warm and damp area. This means a good hygiene routine is really important. Shower daily and wear clean clothes and ‘breathable’ cotton underwear and you’ll always smell fresh and feel comfortable. And once you start your periods, change your sanitary protection frequently, and use intimate wipes, such as Libresse Purifying Intimate Wipes, to keep yourself clean.

The vagina is self-cleansing so there’s no need to wash inside it (known as ‘douching’). In fact, this can lead to conditions like thrush or bacterial vaginosis, so avoid doing this. You may also find that perfumed soaps, shower gels and bubble baths make your vagina sore, so use an unperfumed soap or an intimate wash like Libresse Purifying Intimate Wash Gel.

To keep yourself clean and comfortable, wipe your V-zone after each toilet visit, ideally with Libresse Purifying Intimate Wipes, then use soft toilet tissue to pat yourself dry. Keep your pubic hair trimmed or waxed to keep your V-zone clean and limit the build up of sweat and bacteria. Wear a panty liner every day, such as Libresse DailyFresh liners, to keep the area fresh and protect your underwear.