How to keep your personal hygiene in check

Being healthy doesn’t just mean avoiding illness and keeping fit – it also means feeling comfortable, fresh and generally well.

And one way to help maintain good health is to follow routines that promote good personal hygiene. 

‘Personal hygiene’ usually includes normal daily activities such as brushing and flossing your teeth, taking a bath, brushing your hair and using deodorant.

But good personal hygiene is more than just avoiding bad odor. Here are some basic personal hygiene tips that you should follow for a healthier body.

How often should you shower?

How often do you shower or take a bath? While many people shower daily, according to dermatologists you’re better off showing every other day – especially in winter when your skin is drier.

Some of the signs you’re washing too often include itching, dry, flaky skin, flare-ups of skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis and dry, brittle hair.

Why is washing too often bad for you? If you wash too frequently you risk stripping your skin of essential oils, which causes dryness and can lead to skin inflammation or eczema. It can also trigger skin conditions like psoriasis, if you have it.

Too many showers can rinse away the ‘good’ bacteria from your skin, putting you at risk for infections.

But, while over-washing isn’t recommended, not washing often enough is definitely best avoided! Poor hygiene or infrequent showers can lead to a build up of dead skin cells, dirt, and sweat, and subsequently trigger acne, and possible exacerbate conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema. 

Showering infrequently can also lead to an imbalance of good and bad bacteria on your skin, putting you at risk for skin infections and conditions like dermatitis neglecta.

How often should you wash your clothes?

Obviously you clothes are dirty or smell, or you’ve sweated in them, it’s a pretty good indicator they need a clean! But aside from that, how frequently should you wash them?

The answer, it seems, depends on the item of clothing. Denim jeans, for example, can apparently be worn between there to 10 times before needing a wash. Skirts and trousers, meanwhile can be washed after around seven wears, and sweatshirts and jumpers can take up to a week of wear before needing a clean.

It’s recommended that you wash your pyjamas after three to four sleeps, while washing whites after every wear keeps the colour from turning grey. Your bra needs to be changed every three to four days, and items like tights and T-shirts should be put in the laundry basket after every wear.

Knickers, it goes without saying, should be changed every day. It’s also worth considering that 38% of women buy new underwear every six months, as underwear can store bacterias even after you wash them.

Make sure to replace them with a comfortable and the right material that is recommended, such as merino wool underwear. You should always change into clean clothes and underwear. When you sweat a lot and spend plenty of time outside or working, you should immediately change to new clothes to avoid diseases and body odor.

When it comes to washing your bedding, the experts appear to be divided. Some recommend every two weeks, others advocate weekly washing.

How should you keep your intimate area hygienic?

We’ve already touched on washing, but what about one of the most delicate parts of your anatomy? What’s the best way to keep your genital area clean and hygienic?

Properly cleaning genitalia includes washing properly with water. In order to protect your pH balance, it’s not recommended to use heavily perfumed soaps or shower gels. And there’s no need to use a coarse cloth or sponge – washing with your hand is much more gentle and more than adequate.

Always wash from front to back (i.e. towards your bottom) to avoid infection, and make sure you thoroughly rinse and pat dry the area afterwards.

How can you eat for better hygiene?

We’re used to the concept of eating for better health, but how can our diet impact our hygiene?

The saying ‘you are what you eat’ is important when we consider how our body feels and smells. Some foods and drinks might be pleasurable to consume, but can affect your internal body and even contribute to causing body odor.

For example, onion, garlic and some spices have an aroma that can come out through your skin when you sweat. Drinking caffeine and alcoholic beverages can also cause you to sweat more.

That doesn’t mean you need to cut these foods and drinks out of your diet, especially if they’re good for you, but just be aware of how they may affect your hygiene and consume the appropriately.