The advantages of personal hygiene

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The advantages of personal hygiene
Teaching children basic personal hygiene from a young age makes it easier for them to stick to a routine as adults. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

A lack of personal hygiene can cause problems such as bad breath and unpleasant body odour. These afflictions make it harder to socialise, be confident with strangers and can even affect your prospects at work. Developing a basic personal hygiene routine requires only a little organisation and helps in gaining confidence. It is a good way for anyone who has suffered from depression to add structure to the day, while encouraging self-nurture. Basic grooming only involves using simple products, so is affordable for everyone and has the benefits of making you feel good as well.

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Eliminating Odors

Showering or bathing daily eliminates many unpleasant bodily odours. One cause of these is a build-up of secretions, such as sweat, which harbour bacteria and smell bad. When bathing, always clean the genital and anal areas, as well as underarms and feet. If you shower every day, but still experience underarm odour, this could be caused by stale sweat on infrequently laundered clothing. As the bacteria in this builds, the clothing smells bad and re-wearing the garment exacerbates the problem. Changing clothing daily not only keeps you odour-free, but also helps the fabric of your clothes last longer. Body odour is socially inhibiting, so smelling clean and fresh gives a real boost and helps in building confidence. To encourage developing a simple bathing routine, use a gentle but pleasant-smelling shower gel and light body lotion afterwards. This provides a relaxing, pampered feeling as well as helping to eliminate unwanted smells.

Healthy Mouth

Looking after your teeth not only fights bad breath, but it also helps prevent cavities and toothache. Basic oral hygiene involves cleaning your teeth twice a day. Build a routine by brushing with a regular toothbrush and paste. For super-clean teeth and fresh breath, floss in between your teeth in the evening or after meals and follow the cleaning process with a gentle antiseptic mouthwash. Fresh breath is an immediate benefit of clean teeth, but you also experience a reduction in plaque and therefore less risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

Clearer Skin

While spots are usually caused by skin-type, skin condition or hormones, keeping skin clean still helps it to stay glowing. Washing your face morning and night is the best way to clean away excess grease, the dirt of the day and make-up. This helps prevent clogged pores and blackheads. Washing your face with a cleansing oil or balm in the evening is soothing. So this is a good way to end your day and encourage bedtime relaxation. It also means that bed linen does not get stained by make-up. Most people find that cleaning away make-up before bed keeps skin looking brighter and fresher than before, which gives a boost in confidence.

Staying Well

Practicing basic personal hygiene for health does not involve bombarding the body with strong antibacterial preparations. Easy ways to rid the skin of dirt include daily showering, cleaning under nails, and washing hands before eating and after using the lavatory. Maintaining these habits cuts your risk of stomach bugs, skin infections, colds and the flu. This makes most people feel healthier all year round, and is essential for anyone with a compromised immune system. Washing hands and body with a gentle soap literally washes bacteria and viruses down the drain, which otherwise ends up in your system.

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