We live in a world where every other person carries hand sanitiser in their bag. And everything from gentleman wipes (A.K.A “One Wipe Charlies”) to beard cleaning kits are all available for avid hygienists. So we’re a nation of cleanly wannabes, paranoid about the spread of bugs, germs and viruses. And who can blame us? There have been a wave of virus outbreaks in the last decade such as Bird Flu, Ebola and the most recent and lethal Zika virus. Not to mention, the importance of being clean has been drummed into us since childhood (well maybe not all of us). But, what if we’re wasting valuable minutes and hours in the pursuit for personal hygiene, when you’re just making a mistake? Here are the top 4 common personal hygiene mistakes you’re making:
Personal hygiene mistake #1 – you must shower every day
Ever since we were little, we have been told to shower once a day and brush our teeth twice a day. The battle between mums and their teenage sons has been waged since the dawn of time. Getting them out of bed is hard enough, but to get them under some form of water would just be easier to turn the hose on them. Dr Casey Carlos from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine suggests showering too much is actually bad for you. The science is simpler than you think. Soaps remove essential oils from the skin, which makes your skin dry creating a rough texture. Having the opposite effect of that smooth skin we all desire.
So what should you do instead? Dr Carlos suggests using soap in areas that sweat the most i.e. the groin, armpits and feet. She explains that our skin cleans itself;
• The top layer of skin is made of dead skin cells that form a protective layer
• When you shower and scrub this layer is broken apart
• The more you shower the more damage is done to this top layer (sometimes causing rough skin and redness)
• Frequent showers reduces the time your skin has to repair and recover through natural oil production
• “Good” bacteria grows on your skin, to protect your body from infections
• Not only is it bad for your skin, it also makes your hair dry and prone to dandruff. Sometimes, this can cause hair to become greasy as your scalp overcompensates for dryness.
So instead of showering every day, try these ideas:
• Use dry shampoo, this doesn’t require a full body shower to wash out and keeps your hair clean and smelling great
• Have sink showers in place of your regular shower. This will reduce time meaning you can have more of a lie-in in the morning, and keep your skin glowingly healthy.
• Remove make-up before going to sleep, keeping your pores unclogged and your skin fresh
• Wear natural fabrics, particularly during summer and avoid Polyester
Personal hygiene mistake #2 – farts are bad
Crude or not, this myth is not really a myth, it’s pretty much a social rule. Everyone farts, but in the same token everyone dislikes them and does their level best to avoid them. However, a study by Exeter University (we feel sorry for the participants) shows that the process of releasing excess gas from the body is actually healthy. It’s a natural function, and everything our body does is for a reason. Thousands of years ago our sense of taste told us what food was good or poisonous to eat, and helped assess the caloric and nutritional value of food in our environment. So our farts are for the benefit of our health and apparently those around us. Scientists discovered chemicals like Hydrogen Sulfide are released in small dosages when we pass wind which is actually very healthy. The study found that a small dosage of Hydrogen Sulfide can help combat Dementia. A new compound created from the gas is being developed and tested called AP39 to treat vicious diseases in the human body and could quite possibly target Cancer. Although still in its infancy, the compound has been effective in helping 80% more mitochondria survive in people with diseases.
Personal hygiene mistake #3 – You must brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day
This myth has been scared into little children from birth, and with sugar being the number one cause of childhood obesity, perhaps brushing their teeth correctly isn’t the most important concern, what they’re putting in their mouths in the first place is. However, that’s the myth we’re busting. Dr Anna Guarna, a practicing dentist for over twenty years in Connecticut, recognises how long you brush is important, but “proper brushing technique is more important than timing”. So it’s not so much about how long the toothbrush is in your mouth for, but how efficient your strokes are. Dr Guarna advises using short strokes, moving back and forth across teeth and gums, ensuring every surface of every tooth is covered. And if you can do that in under two minutes, then you’re an enamel expert. And you shouldn’t forget flossing either, as it is as important as brushing. Brushing for longer than your recommended two minutes is not an issue, it is brushing too hard that will cause damage to gum tissue and strength of enamel which can lead to sensitive teeth. So worry less about timing and more about the way you brush.
Personal hygiene mistake #4 – keep your ears clean
You probably know already that using cotton swabs is actually detrimental to your eardrums and ear canal health. All doctors will tell you to not put anything in your ears, so you may be wondering what exactly cotton swabs are for. In 1923, the cotton swab was invented by Leo Gerstenzang, the founder of the Q-tips company in America. The product was originally called Baby Gays as it was marketed as a baby care product to help reach hard to clean spots (like the ears). Ear wax is naturally produced to protect the ear canal from dust and debris, so actually helps the health of your ears. You generally do not need to clean your ears. A little rub and scrub of the outer ear is necessary every now and then, but other than that, ear wax will wash away when washing your hair or showering. So it’s simple, leave them alone. Cotton swabs are now used for everything from environmental research, testing for the flu and providing lifesaving medical services around the globe.
So there you have it; four common personal hygiene mistakes you won’t be making any longer.