9 Hygiene Habits You Should Never Skip
When it comes to having good hygiene, most of us try to keep up on our daily rituals, but when we get busy or tired, certain habits tend to fall through the cracks. However, there are some hygiene habits that we should never skip, no matter how lazy or rushed we are feeling, as doing so can lead to some unwanted results. Skimping out on these habits can lead to serious sickness, other unwanted issues such as problems with your skin.
"Practicing good personal hygiene promotes better health by keeping illnesses, viruses and bacteria away from you," says RealSelf Contributor Dr. Joel Schlessinger over email. "It's a dirty world out there. Random exposures, such as one might have at the gym, airplane, or work can expose you to serious infections if you don't protect yourself. Additionally, good hygiene habits help you feel better about yourself as you are protecting yourself and others."
Whether you're just trying to maintain personal cleanliness, or you're trying to look you're absolute best, it's important to keep in mind the daily practices that you should never forego. Even when you're in a rush or feeling lazy, you should never skip these nine hygiene habits, so make them a priority no matter what you do.
1. Washing Your Hands After The Bathroom
There's a reason your mom always told you to wash your hands after the bathroom. When in a hurry, you may be tempted to skip the soap, but think again. "Washing your hands after going to the restroom is essential," says Schlessinger. "Washing up helps protect you from things like dirt, bacteria and germs that come in contact with your skin every day."
2. Wearing Sunscreen
It's important to wear SPF everyday, even when you're not going to the beach. "Apply sunscreen first thing in the morning, whether you will be indoors or outdoors," says dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban over email. "UV rays penetrate clouds and glass."
3. Brushing Your Teeth
We all know that our teeth require brushing and flossing to stay clean. However, good oral hygiene can not only take care of your smile, but it can affect the rest of your physical health as well. Studies that poor oral hygiene is linked to to heart disease, respiratory illness, and even arthritis, according to Live Science. This is because bacteria from the mouth can spread to other parts of the body.
Same goes for flossing as well. "Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, and using mouthwash are all essential steps in caring for your teeth," says Schlessinger. "Brushing your tongue also helps eliminate the bacteria that cause bad breath."
5. Cleaning Your Contact Lenses
You may be tempted to just quickly remove your lenses and not spend time cleaning them, but not taking care of your contacts can have some scary effects, including growth of microscopic bugs, corneal ulcers, and mold and yeast growth, according to an article from Mother Nature Network. "Never skip washing your hands with soap and water before handling your contact lenses, and be sure to rub, rinse and disinfect your lenses each time you remove them," says David Tanzer, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Abbott’s vision business, over email. "Also, you shouldn’t expose your contacts or lens case to tap or bottled water."
6. Taking Your Makeup Off Before The Gym
It's tempting to go straight from the office to the gym, but set aside time to remove your makeup before breaking a sweat. "Heavy foundations and non-mineral make ups can clog your pores," says dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD over email. "This can lead to acne breakouts. Keep a packet of wipes in your gym bag, and swipe off that make up as you run into class."
7. Showering After The Gym
Post-gym hygiene matters as well. "Not only does drying sweat feel itchy and icky, but inflammation of your skin and follicles can lead to a pimply condition called folliculitis," says Shainhouse. "This is exacerbated by the bacteria and yeast that you pick up from gym equipment and shared mats. If you can't shower right away, use a salicylic acid wipe on your chest back and shoulders and changes into a dry shirt and underwear."
8. Trimming Your Nails
"Keeping your nails clean and trimmed prevent you from picking up bacteria and fungus from the environments, which can cause nail and fingertip/periungual infections," says Shainhouse. "By reducing the bacteria and fungus under your nails, it also minimizes the germs that ends up on your face and in your nose mouth and eyes, reducing your chances of getting sick."
9. Washing Your Face
We've heard it time and time again to wash our face twice daily, but neglecting this habit can lead to more than just poor skin appearance. "Skipping this step can lead to clogged pores, acne, infections and more," says Schlessinger. "In fact, trachoma, the leading cause of preventable blindness, is directly related to a lack of facial hygiene."
Try to keep these daily habits up for optimal health, but if you skip a day here and there, don't beat yourself over it — hey, no one's perfect!
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