For many people, personal hygiene is a matter of routine. Many don’t give much thought to it; it’s simply what they do, part of daily life.
Good personal hygiene practices are often instilled in us as children. Brushing our teeth before bed wasn’t optional; it was mandatory.
The particular routine that was ingrained in us typically sticks with us into adulthood. But, personal hygiene encompasses more than the daily shower and a tube of toothpaste.
While everyone has varying personal hygiene routines, you'll find that most of them may include the following products: deodorant (antiperspirant), shampoo, conditioner, creams, live shaving cream, razors/blade, tampons, pads, and hand sanitizer.
Having good personal hygiene habits is crucial for your overall health. However, developing a thorough personal hygiene routine is important for both physical and mental health.
The Importance of Good Hygiene Habits
While it’s true that most adults don’t need to be told how important personal hygiene is, the actual benefits to overall health and wellness are often taken for granted.
In fact, good personal hygiene practices can actually help prevent or control many diseases and conditions – especially hygiene-related diseases.
Good personal hygiene involves keeping all parts of your external body clean — and healthy.
Poor hygiene leaves you open and more vulnerable to infection as it creates the ideal environment for germs and bacteria to grow.
Poor Hygiene and Physical Health
It is no surprise that good hygiene helps ward off illness and promotes better health overall. Poor hygiene can leave an individual more susceptible to disease.
Furthermore, poor hygiene (e.g., infrequent handwashing) can open the door to germs and bacteria, leading to various issues. Also, poor hygiene can have other side effects such as body odor, bad breath, and oily or greasy skin.
Poor Hygiene and Mental Health
That is just the physical side of things. Good personal hygiene is equally as important for your mental health. It’s no surprise that being clean and well-groomed breeds confidence.
The feelings that come with being dirty or unkempt are often negative. The negative emotions of discomfort and anxiety that come with poor hygiene can affect mental health, such as self-esteem and mood. It can also affect how others perceive you.
Poor hygiene not only affects physical appearance (e.g., body odor and bad breath), but it often comes with negative consequences as it relates to social acceptance from peers, which can also be detrimental to self-esteem and confidence.
Sadly, poor hygiene is often correlated to social determinants.
Routines for Personal Hygiene
Personal hygiene should be a part of your personal habits and daily routine. While each person might have a different opinion on what constitutes good personal hygiene, the items below are good practices for everyone to follow.
Washing Hands Frequently
Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of germs and disease since germs frequently get into the body through the mouth, nose, and eyes by way of the hands. It should be a staple for any personal hygiene routine.
The routine is simple: Wet hands with warm, clean water, apply soap and lather hands thoroughly, scrub for about 20 seconds, rinse well, and dry with a towel or air dryer.
Showering and Bathing
Bathing is another important element of good hygiene. Showering or bathing with soap helps rinse away dead skin cells, oils, and bacteria from the body — not to mention the positive effects on body odor.
Shampooing your hair frequently during the week also has similar effects.
The frequency of bathing typically comes down to preference; some prefer every day while others prefer every other day. It really comes down to lifestyle.
- Turn down the temperature as hot water can dry out the skin too much.
- Avoid fragrances, which tend to irritate the skin.
- Full-body cleansing is fine (even knees and elbows), but focus on the face, armpits, and groin areas.
- Use a clean towel after showering or bathing.
Good Dental Hygiene
No hygiene regimen would be complete without the mention of oral hygiene. This includes brushing and flossing your teeth. This not only helps kick away bad breath but also helps ward off gum disease, cavities, tooth decay, and plaque.
You should brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, once in the morning and once at night for optimal oral health.
Flossing at least once a day is also important. Also, don’t forget to schedule regular dental checkups to keep up with good oral hygiene.
Keep Nails Short and Clean
Nail health is often overlooked, but it should have its place in a good personal hygiene regimen. Frequent trimming and cleaning of your nails not only lowers your risk of infected nail beds but also helps get rid of germs and dirt buildup, which can harbor bacteria.
Wearing Clean Clothes
This may sound obvious to some, but wearing clean clothes is important for good personal hygiene. Dirty clothes can harbor bacteria, which could lead to skin infections and more. Frequent washing with detergent is always recommended.
Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of a good personal hygiene routine is restful sleep. Sleep deprivation and deficiency can derail your health and contribute to chronic conditions.
Developing a good sleep routine is vital for overall health and well-being.
Developing a good personal hygiene routine is essential for promoting overall health and wellness. It helps control and prevent diseases and also promotes mental health.
At the end of the day, practice makes perfect when it comes to personal hygiene.
Personal hygiene must become a priority; developing the habit and establishing a routine that works for you is the best place to start.