All of us try our best to stay squeaky-clean. We have dozens of bottles of shampoos and soaps in our bathrooms, carry hand sanitizer wherever we go and never miss a chance to wash our hair. However, how much of what you are doing is actually necessary? Even more importantly, how much of it is effective? There are so many myths floating around over personal hygiene that it’s time we questioned the habits we take for granted. Here are seven facts about personal hygiene that will help you stay away from harmful germs.
1. You Don’t Need To Wash Your Hair Every Day
If you wash your hair every single morning before heading out, you’re not only wasting precious time, but you’re also damaging your hair. Your scalp produces natural oils that protect your hair from damage and keeps it looking shiny. When you wash your hair everyday, you aren’t giving your glands a chance to produce oil. As a result, your hair is stripped off its moisture and becomes dry and brittle. Washing too frequently can also cause your glands to overproduce oil, making your hair greasy very fast. Try to wash your hair every alternate day at the very most, push it to one in three days if you can.
2. Don’t Overdo The Sanitizer
Most disease-causing germs enter our body through our hands. Our hands come into contact with the most number of germs, through doorknobs, elevator buttons, remotes and other dirty surfaces. Because so many people touch these surfaces, they are a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. When you eat or touch your mouth with your hand, these germs enter your body and can cause serious illnesses. While keeping your hands clean is important, rubbing them with sanitizer every half an hour might not be the best way. One study said that certain chemicals in sanitizers can be harmful with repeated exposure. Wash your hands when you need to and use a sanitizer only when regular soap and water isn’t available.
3. Mouthwash Might Not Solve Bad Breath
Bad breath can be very embarrassing, but are you tackling it the right way? If you still have bad breath despite brushing your teeth, using dental floss and gargling with mouthwash, you might need to visit a doctor. Persistent bad breath has many causes, ranging from acidity and indigestion to gum disease or blocked sinuses. Instead of trying out new brands of oral hygiene products, get a full medical check-up done to solve the root cause.
4. Anyone Can Get Hair Lice
Don’t think you’re immune to hair lice just because you wash your hair regularly. One of the most common misconceptions is that hair lice is caused due to bad personal hygiene. Lice just want blood to feed on, they don’t care if the hair they’re living in is clean or dirty. You can wash your hair every single day and still get hair lice if you come into contact with someone who does. If someone in your household catches hair lice, make them use an anti-lice shampoo, throw all your covers in the laundry and disinfect every surface to make sure you kill all of them and their eggs before they spread.
5. Body Odor Has Many Causes
While body odor can definitely emanate from a person who rarely showers, this isn’t always the case. Some people shower as many as two times a day, but still have very bad B.O. If this happens to you, simply masking it with strong deodorant won’t help. Very bad B.O. can be the effect of a diet rich in sulfurous foods like onions, too much alcohol or because you’ve ovulating. The clothes you wear can also impact the way you smell. Tight, non-breathable clothes like ones made from leather can exacerbate B.O. because they trap sweat and don’t let it evaporate.
6. Public Toilets Aren’t That Gross
Yes, many public toilets can be disgusting, but you won’t always fall sick because of them. While they do contain harmful bacteria, your skin’s immunity is usually strong enough to fight them off. You do always need to wash your hands after visiting a public restroom, because these germs can enter your body through your hand otherwise. If you’re still queasy about using a public toilet, remember to pick the first stall that is closest to the entrance. Research has shown that the first stall is the least used and so has the least amount of germs.
7. Rinse Your Beard
The comeback of beards might be the best thing to happen to men’s fashion in recent times, but with a great beard comes great responsibility. One survey on beard samples found that there is a lot of fecal matter and germs lying in most beards. You definitely don’t want icky stuff like that so close to your mouth where they could easily enter your body and cause diseases. Most men don’t wash their beards as much as they should. Treat your facial hair the way you would the rest of your body and wash it with soap or shampoo often.