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What are the causes of poor personal hygiene?

Updated February 21, 2019

Sometimes physical, mental or environmental conditions cause people to have poor personal hygiene. Some of these conditions are easily treated, while others are not.

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Many homeless people do not have access to bathing facilities and therefore have poor personal hygiene. As with other aspects of homelessness, this is a complex social issue that is not easily fixed.

Injury or Illness

A serious injury can cause some people to develop poor personal hygiene. If they don't feel comfortable asking for help with bathing, this condition may continue until their injury heals. The same can occur when an illness leaves someone feeling weak.

Mental Illness

Anxiety, depression or other mental illness may make it hard for people to keep up with bathing. Treatment of the illness is typically required to address this.


Puberty is a difficult time for many preteens and teenagers. Sometimes they rebel against puberty with poor personal hygiene.


Being extremely old or extremely young can make it difficult to have proper personal hygiene. Assistance is often required.

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About the Author

Leigh Wittman has been writing professionally since 2007. She writes primarily on health, career advice, outdoor pursuits and travel for various websites. Wittman is a licensed nurse and studied nursing at Arizona State University.

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