You’re a teen. You know more than a little about the world, but there are always new things to learn. For instance, you probably have a good idea of what personal hygiene is and why it matters, but how deeply have you really explored the topic? In truth, you want to become a master of personal hygiene. It’s a valuable lesson every teen should know, so we’re going to provide it right here and now.
What Is Personal Hygiene?
Personal hygiene is a term that encompasses everything you do to take care of your body. It usually focuses on cleanliness and general health.
So, things like showering, brushing your teeth, manscaping and wearing deodorant all count as part of your personal hygiene. Can you think of everything in your daily routine that you would call part of your hygiene? You’ll find there’s more than you would think!
Why Is Personal Hygiene Important?
In short, personal hygiene is a big deal. It impacts your health, your social life and how you feel about yourself. Getting into a good hygiene routine can help you stay healthy and happy, even when other people struggle.
For starters, being clean helps you fight off disease. As we’ve all been dealing with this coronavirus problem, researchers have been able to show that the average person touches their face 23 times per hour. With good hygiene, those touches are a lot less likely to get you sick.
Hygiene also impacts how you smell. You know you don’t really want to be the stinky kid, but you might underestimate how easy it is to smell bad, especially with hormonal changes.
Your hygiene will keep you fresh, and you won’t have a problem with people outright avoiding you because you make their eyes water.
Lastly, personal hygiene helps you feel clean. When you go through your routine, you finish small accomplishments. Those give your brain positive reinforcement chemicals that make you feel good about yourself. It’s important to have reliable ways to naturally stimulate those chemicals.
The Guide to Personal Hygiene for Teens
Now that you have a clear idea as to what personal hygiene can do for you, it’s time to craft a strategy. As a teen, you are rapidly becoming an adult.
Your hygiene plan is going to be very similar to that of an adult, but there are going to be a few subtle differences. We’ll lay it all out so you have a complete game plan.
As you get older, you actually won’t have to bathe every single day. Four times a week is usually enough, but a lot of people like to bathe before work regardless, so five to six times is normal.
As a teen, that’s not true. Your hormones are in a huge state of flux, and that means that your sweat and other potentially gross functions are going to be all over the place. You can get extra smelly very fast until things balance out later in adulthood.
Daily showers cover that, especially when you do them the right way. Here’s how:
- Don’t take blisteringly hot showers.
- Make sure you are thorough when you clean your body.
- Don’t stay in the shower longer than necessary.
- Wash your hair too.
- When you dry off, pat yourself with the towel. You don’t have to scrub the water away.
Brush Your Teeth at Least Twice a Day
If your whole body except your mouth is extremely clean, you’re still gross. You’ve been exposed to other people’s bad breath; you don’t want to do that to others.
More importantly, your mouth is more prone to infection than any other part of your body. Tooth decay and gum disease are very serious issues. If any of those microbes make it into your bloodstream, they can become deadly.
The solution is to listen to the advice given by every dentist in the world:
- Brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time.
- Floss once a day.
- See the dentist every year for a checkup.
- Use antiseptic mouth rinses when you can’t brush properly.
You might not think that shaving is all that important for hygiene, but you’re missing something. Did you know that for the last century, modern armies have required men to shave?
It’s not a fad. It’s because beards can catch and transmit diseases. Lice is the most common problem, but other issues can get trapped in a beard. When you shave regularly, you get rid of the problem entirely.
Here’s what you need to know about shaving:
- Start by massaging your face with a warm washcloth.
- Use plenty of cream or gel.
- Always shave with a fresh, sharp blade.
- Take short, controlled strokes and go with the grain.
- Rinse your face when you’re done.
Get Enough Rest
What’s the most important part of your immune system? It’s kind of a trick question. Your skin is the most important part, but after that sleep is arguably what matters most. Your body has all of these mechanisms that keep you healthy, but when you don’t get enough sleep, they all fail.
Americans chronically short themselves on sleep, but you don’t have to be a part of that statistic. You can improve your sleep by doing a few things.
First, cut back on caffeine, especially after dinner. Speaking of dinner, eating earlier in the evening and avoiding late snacks goes a long way. Sleep quality declines when you have a full belly.
Most importantly, get rid of artificial light when it’s time to sleep. Avoid the screens and such for a full hour before bed if you can. It’ll help your sleep quality by a ton.
Keep Your Hands Clean
Hand hygiene awareness has certainly risen recently, but it’s still misunderstood. You’ve been lectured countless times about how you should wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and running water.
That’s true, but let’s dig a little deeper. Do you do this at the start of your shower? If not, you should.
You know that dirty hands can spread problems to everything, so you want to think a little bit more about keeping them clean. Washing them regularly and properly helps, but you also want to think about nail care.
You need to keep your nails clean, and the best way to do that is to keep them from growing too long and to prevent them from getting jagged enough to be torn.
You can also use cleaning tools to remove dirt and grime from under your nails (don’t dig too hard or you’ll cause damage). When you combine this with good hand-washing, you’ll be that much cleaner.
Have a Skin Care Routine
A skin care routine does a few things for you. First, it helps you stay clean in general. This reduces your overall propensity for getting sick or suffering from infections — especially on your skin.
Your routine also helps your skin avoid getting dry and rough, so you’ll be more comfortable in general. This can help with your overall mental health as you aren’t constantly fighting discomfort and itchiness in the back of your mind.
For these reasons and many more that are too numerous to list, it’s good to have a solid routine, and we can summarize that into four steps (in addition to the obvious need for showering).
Wash your face with a cleanser. In a pinch, you can use other soaps to wash your face, but it’s better to use something designed for a human face.
The reason for this is that a lot of soaps will dry your skin, and on your face that will exacerbate problems like acne and facial hair dandruff.
Also, a soap that is properly balanced for your face will be chemically different from one that is great on the rest of your body. So, step one is to get a proper facial cleanser and use it.
In the second step, you are going to moisturize your face. We just talked about how dry facial skin causes other problems.
Even when you use a good face wash, showering and other aspects of your life can cause dry skin. Moisturizing your face is crucial. We recommend getting a facial moisturizer because it will be less scented, and you’re putting that stuff right by your nose.
The third step is to exfoliate your skin, but we should go into more detail. You only need to exfoliate around once a week. Doing it too often can actually be bad.
When you exfoliate, you clear the pores of dirt, dead skin cells and other things that can clog the little openings. Keeping pores clean helps your skin to take care of itself.
The final step is a little more complicated. You want to avoid bad habits.
Your diet can lead to breakouts and skin problems, so it’s good to think about what you eat. Touching your face (something we all think about more than we used to) can increase oil secretion and help you build acne.
Activities that cause long-term stress can lead to acne and less-healthy skin. So, review your lifestyle and see if there are habits you can adjust to help your face stay clean and clear.
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, leave them down below. Thanks for reading!