Boys during puberty: from boys to men

Voice change, growth spurts and bad moods – when boys go through puberty, their bodies and behaviour change. For parents this means remaining patient and holding your nerve. Read here how you can support your child during this time.

20.12.2023 Nina Merli 4 minutes

How long does puberty last in boys?

Boys tend to reach puberty slightly later than girls: the main transformation can start anywhere between the ages of 9 and 14. On average, this phase can last anywhere from four to five years and ends between the ages of 18 and 20.

The first signs of puberty in boys

When boys start to shoot up, show the first signs of stubble and behave more aggressively, parents can safely assume that puberty has begun. A period of transformation begins – one which is both exciting and exhausting.

Physical changes

During puberty, the transition from boy to man is marked by a number of physical changes: muscle mass increases, the shoulders become wider, the voice breaks, ejaculation happens for the first time, and annoying spots disfigure the skin.

Find out what changes teenagers can expect during puberty:

Physical change during puberty


The first clear indication of the onset of puberty in boys is a significant growth spurt. Boys really start to shoot up from the age of 12. Growth of anywhere between five to eight centimetres in just a year is normal. The growth experienced by boys during puberty manifests itself in different areas of the body. The arms and legs in particular lengthen – sometimes disproportionately to the body. This often leads to pain in the arms, legs, joints and muscles. Simple stretching exercises, regular exercise or massages can alleviate this pain to some extent. If the symptoms persist over a longer period of time, it is advisable to consult a doctor. The doctor may prescribe a special form of therapy, such as physiotherapy.

The rapid growth experienced during puberty can cause stretch marks. You can find extensive tips on the subject here:

Physical change during puberty

Spots and acne in boys during puberty

Boys may like the changes in their bodies. Unfortunately, boys also experience outbreaks of spots during puberty. This is primarily due to the increase in sex hormones. Increased sebum production can result in the skin pores becoming clogged and spots developing. Since boys not as likely to use cosmetics as girls, it is important that parents give their sons tips on skincare. These might be home remedies such as tea tree oil, aloe vera or honey. During puberty, skincare for boys also includes:

  • A mild facial cleanser – without any harsh ingredients
  • A lightweight, non-greasy moisturiser
  • A special acne cream for the localised treatment of spots

Acne is a skin disease that occurs mainly during puberty and has various causes. Learn about the different forms of acne and how you can treat them.

Acne: causes and treatment

Headaches, stomach aches and circulatory problems in boys during puberty

These complaints are not typical physical changes associated with puberty, but they may be a side effect of it. For instance, headaches may be caused by tension, dehydration, a lack of sleep or eye problems – or increased media consumption.

Teenagers may also be affected by migraines. Get to know the differences between headaches and migraines so you can treat them more effectively.


Aggressive behaviour occurs in many boys during puberty. The cause is often a combination of hormonal, physical and emotional changes as well as social influences from school and friends. For boys, puberty is a time of finding their identity and moving away from childhood. This process is not easy and can trigger aggression in boys – both at home and at school. A phone call home from the head teacher may occur more often than parents would like at this stage. Try to show understanding to your child despite the tension and be receptive to their sensitivities. If the aggressive behaviour is uncontrollable, you should not be afraid to seek professional help.

Emotional changes in boys during puberty

Puberty is a roller-coaster of emotions – for boys too. Just like girls, boys go through emotional changes during puberty too. Because of hormones, they experience mood swings, and social relationships become increasingly relevant, but teenagers do not always have a positive experience of friendships. A first love or their first time having sex can also trigger insecurity in boys. In addition, there are unattainable beauty ideals that have long since taken hold of the world of boys and can have a negative effect on self-esteem. 

Is it a lack of drive? Is your child going through a phase of disinterest? Or are their symptoms actually a sign of depression? Read more about depression in young people and find out where you can get help.

Causes of depression in young people

Physical and emotional changes, aggressive behaviour – boys have got a lot going on during puberty. Whether it’s spots, voice change or other concerns, puberty is a phase in which parents should support their sons with ample understanding, communicate openly and respect their privacy.

Helsana’s health consultation

Helsana’s health consultation service provided the editorial team with advice and input for this article. Our health advisors can provide you with answers to all of your health-related questions quickly and easily, whether you’d like advice on nutrition and exercise, on coping with a diagnosis or on a recommended course of treatment. 

Read more

Physical changes during puberty
Physical changes during puberty are normal. Find out what happens to the body during puberty and why it's no cause for concern.
December 19, 2023 6 minutes

Emotional changes during puberty
Puberty is a challenge for teenagers and their parents. We have some tips to help parents navigate this difficult time.
December 19, 2023 5 minutes



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