Factors Affecting Personal Hygiene

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Personal hygiene refers to the personal care and grooming of an individual's body. It is important to maintain good personal hygiene. Not only does it help promote social acceptance and interaction, good personal hygiene also helps prevent contracting or spreading known diseases.

When the individual keeps the body clean, germs are unlikely to spread and multiply. It also promotes a good perception of one's self-image, thus boosting self-esteem. When an individual disregards his personal hygiene, it will not only affect his comfort but will also cause harm to his physical and psychological aspects.


Personal hygiene can cause harm to the psychological aspect of an individual. However, this can also work the other way. Psychological instabilities can cause a person to neglect her personal hygiene. Some people who are depressed lose their self-worth and decide not to care for their own hygiene. Others cannot carry out this personal task because of mental and psychological diseases such as schizophrenia or dementia. In contrast, those who have obsessive-compulsive disorder find themselves being overly hygienic, which can begin to interfere with the other aspects of life.


People who have physical disabilities, whether temporary or permanent, might not be able to fully tend to their own grooming. For example, a person who has an arm cast cannot fully use his arm because it is immobile, so he may not be able to practice personal hygiene. Some elderly people who have debilitating diseases find it physically impossible to attend to their hygiene needs because of weakness, pain or loss of coordination. In this case, the individual would need someone else to take care of her personal hygiene.

Social and Cultural

People practice hygiene because it is socially accepted and recognised by society as a sign of healthy living and disease prevention. You gain social disapproval from peers if you are unkempt and smelly. In many cultures, bathing and grooming are expected of everyone, but there are some cultures that do not encourage daily bathing and changing of clothes.


Maintaining proper personal hygiene requires having the basic toiletries such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste. However, financial problems may prevent people from having access to these materials, even clean water, thus compromising personal grooming. During cases when soap is unavailable or unaffordable, the World Health Organization promotes the use of alternatives such as sand or ash just to help disinfect during hand washing.