Personal Hygiene: 8 Steps to Staying Healthy

The personal hygiene It is the habit of keeping the external body clean and neat. It is one of the best ways to prevent diseases and to avoid transmitting them.

Hygiene, according to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, is the"part of medicine that aims at the conservation of health and prevention of diseases." Its second meaning refers to"cleaning".

personal hygiene

Etymologically, it comes from the French hygiène and this one from the Greek hygienós, adjective derived from the word hygíeia that means"salud".

In this sense, personal hygiene could be defined as self-care to prevent illness and maintain good health.

Personal cleanliness and cleanliness have been present in the history of the human being since ancient times. Baths were one of the first forms of personal cleanliness known, dating between 4,000 or 3,000 BC and were common among some cultures such as Egyptian, Greek, Babylonian, Indian or Turkish.

In Egypt, this form of grooming was combined with religious rituals. The priests bathed twice a day. The bath also had a religious significance for Indian culture, as this ceremony was thought to serve to attract good spirits.

As collected Victoria Sherrow (2001), archaeologists have found evidence that in cultures such as the Mesopotamian or Babylonian, wealthy inhabitants incorporated a room to their homes intended exclusively for bathing. The poor also bathed, but they used to do it in the canals and rivers.

For bath ritual, soaps made of animal fat or other oils were used. The Arab and Greek cultures were incorporating fragrances and other types of substances that left a good smell in the body.

Later on, with Indian, Greek and Roman culture, public baths became popular, turning this activity into a form of entertainment for high society.

From this culture by personal hygiene it follows that personal hygiene has not always been used to prevent disease, but that the cleanliness of the body has other cultural attributes.

The bathrooms had a mystical sense, it served to feel good with oneself. It was a social act and at the same time intimate, because in some cultures it was practiced in an independent room and in others it served as an excuse to socialize. Finally, the good body odor was sought, giving this activity an aesthetic component.

This type of elements present in personal hygiene are still valid in today's culture. For example, going neat is essential for Get a good job and to Maintain good social relations .

In addition, according to a Paasche and others (2014), the use of personal hygiene items such as deodorants or colonies can improve the perception of oneself, having a positive psychological effect.

However, we must be careful with this, since the aesthetic is not always related to what is healthy or good for our body. Sometimes, too much hygiene can also lead to infections or illness.

8 tips to maintain good personal hygiene

1- Wash your hands often Personal Hygiene: 8 Steps to Staying Healthy

The hands are one of the main sources when contracting and infecting infections. It is very important to take some preventive measures of hygiene, performing a proper handwashing before eating or after going to the bathroom. This toilet should be increased when we are sick or when we come in contact with someone who is sick.

According to the organization Globalhandwashing , More than one million children die each year from diseases such as pneumonia or diarrhea , Diseases that can be prevented with good hand hygiene.

Hand washing with soap is an easy way to prevent infections and a cheap and mostly accessible method for everyone.

It is important to wash your hands properly. I give you as an example the procedure established by an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States, the Organization of Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC).

This organization says there are several key hands-washing moments in addition to the ones I mentioned above. For example, when caressing an animal, before, during and after cooking or when touching the garbage.

The proper process for hand washing according to the CDC is divided into four steps:

  1. Wet hands with clean water, either warm or cold, turn off the tap and apply soap.
  2. Rub hands with the soap, making foam, gathering palm with palm and then in the back of the hand, as well as between the fingers and the nails. This process should last at least 20 seconds.
  3. Rinse hands under tap water.
  4. Dry your hands with a paper towel or under a dryer.

Hand hygiene is not only very important in daily activity, but more and more protocols and policies to extend good hygiene of this part of the body among health professionals. According to the World Health Organization, thousands of patients die from infections due to the treatment of healthcare professionals.

In addition to water and soap, there is an alcohol-based disinfectant that the skin absorbs without rinsing. These disinfectants are very useful to take them to the street or somewhere where there is a bathroom nearby. However, the most useful method remains the traditional, since this substance does not eliminate all types of germs.

2- Keep your skin clean and moisturized Personal Hygiene: 8 Steps to Stay Healthy 1

To have good body hygiene it is advisable to take a shower once a day. Although it is generally believed that shower is the best remedy to maintain good hygiene, it must be taken with caution, as there are some habits that can harm the health of our skin.

According to American Academy of Dermatology , Children 6 to 11 years old do not have to shower daily, although a minimum of one or two times a week and when they sweat or get dirty from some physical activity or swimming in a public place.

It is from the adolescence when the rite of a daily shower is established. Although this activity often brings many psychological benefits, it is not so much for our skin if the right products are not used.

Excessive hygiene, chemical components of the products or too high a water temperature can encourage the appearance of skin conditions such as dry skin or atopic dermatitis.

Cleansers or neutral soaps help keep skin PH better than soap. The important thing, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, is that soaps used do not contain alcohol or some kind of fragrance.

After the shower, it is very important to dry well with a towel and wash this frequently to avoid the appearance of fungi due to the accumulated humidity.

Finally, it is very important to keep the skin moisturized with creams or lotions, in the case of those who suffer from dry skin up to two or three times a day.

Other advice given by the American Academy of Dermatology are the care of the skin of the lips and hands, with the use of Vaseline and gloves respectively.

3- Clean Your Teeth Correctly Personal Hygiene: 8 Steps to Stay Healthy 2

The mouth is one of the parts that most sense of good or bad hygiene causes in others. A poorly cared mouth can lead to the appearance of cavities, tooth loss, bad breath or diseases such as Periodontitis .

It is advisable to brush your teeth two or three times a day, after each meal and especially in the morning and before bed, since during the night the bacterial activity is more prolonged. This process should occur after 20 to 30 minutes after ingestion of food and should last about three minutes.

Dr. Bonner, collects in The Oral Health Bible That an electric toothbrush is more effective than a manual toothbrush.

Another element that should not be forgotten is the brushing of the tongue, here bacteria also accumulate.

4- Take good care of your feet Personal Hygiene: 8 Steps to Stay Healthy 3

Cleaning and daily care of the feet is very important, especially for diabetics who, in this way, can prevent the onset of foot ulcers. Even those who suffer from this disease should always have medical advice.

Some steps for proper foot cleaning are:

  • Wash your feet daily with soap and water, touching the space between your fingers.
  • Dry the feet well with a towel, pressing again between the fingers to avoid the appearance of cracks.
  • Properly hydrate the feet, in this case do not apply the cream between the fingers.
  • Wear comfortable shoes appropriate to the shape of our foot.

It is also advisable to avoid walking barefoot in public places like municipal swimming pools or common baths, to avoid the appearance of fungi.

5- Your intimate hygiene should be adequate Personal Hygiene: 8 Steps to Stay Healthy 4

Maintaining good hygiene in the genital areas not only prevents odor but also fungal infections, especially in the case of women.

In addition, a good intimate cleaning is essential when having sex.

Both men and women should change their underwear frequently and wash their intimate area daily. The most recommended clothing is cotton.

In the case of women, candidiasis is frequent, so the use of special soaps is very important.

The vagina should not be washed more than twice a day and should be dried, without rubbing, from front to back to avoid infections by bacteria such as Escherichia coli , Present in the anus and feces.

Hygiene measures should be increased during menstruation with a frequent change of pads or tampons. It is also not advisable to abuse the use of sanitary towels or protegeslip, as they promote urine infections and Candidiasis Vaginal

In turn, men should be especially careful with the dirt that accumulates in the glans.

6- Get a healthy, clean and shiny hair Personal Hygiene: 8 Steps to Stay Healthy 5

Hair should be washed two or three times a week. It should also be washed daily in the case of people with fatty scalp, or those who practice a lot of sport or sweat excessively.

In the case of dry hair it is advisable to use oils and masks to hydrate the hair. It is advisable to cut your hair frequently to ensure a strong and healthy growth of hair, preventing it from becoming brittle.

Children should be monitored especially to avoid lice infection or to treat it on time.

7- Wear clean clothing Personal Hygiene: 8 Steps to Stay Healthy 6

Clothing is like a layer of skin that also accumulates bacteria, both from our body and from the outside.

In addition to underwear, which needs to be changed daily, it is advisable to change clothes frequently, especially after the shower.

This, in addition to making you feel better, prevents you from infections caused by bacteria that can accumulate clothing. The change should be more frequent in summer, as you sweat more. With regard to sweat, it is good to be breathable, especially footwear.

8- Pay attention to your personal care Personal Hygiene: 8 Steps to Stay Healthy 7

With personal care I mean bringing well-cut nails, proper cleaning after going to the bathroom, and cleaning the facial area.

When cutting nails, you have to take into account some tips:

  • Cut the toenails straight, never rounded to allow the new nail to grow well.
  • Do not get too close to the skin, this way you avoid unnecessary cuts.

When talking about cleaning the face, again you have to take into account the type of skin, whether it is sensitive, dry or with acne . Today there are many different products to obtain a more complete cleaning of the facial area.

Special care must be taken with the nose, which should be cleaned frequently, especially when there are mucous. The best way to wash your nose is with the mixture of water and salt or with saline solution.

Another important part is the ears, the most advisable form is the drops or to go to a specialist if there is too much wax, but never introduce rods.

The eyes are cleaned with their own tears, although there is a great diversity of eye drops to combat dryness in a complementary way. In any case, soap should never be introduced into the eye organ. If this happens accidentally, rinse with plenty of water.

Finally, shaving and depilation are two aesthetic elements that affect the feeling of personal hygiene, although special care must be taken with genital depilation, as it can affect diseases such as Human papilloma virus .


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  2. Sherrow, V. (2001) For Appearance 'Sake. The Historical Encyclopedia of Good Looks, Beauty and Grooming . United States, Oryx Press.
  3. Van Paaschen, J., Walker, S.C., Phillips, N., Downing, P.E., Tipper, S.P. (2015). The effect of personal grooming on self-perceived body image. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 37 (1): 108-115. 2017, January 15 of Medline database.
  4. Christensen, GJ. (1998) Why clean your tongue? The Journal of the American Dental Association. 129, 11, 1605-1607. 2017, January, 15 of ScienceDirect.
  5. Improved daily foot hygiene may reduce likelihood of ulcers in people with diabetes (2011). Nursing standard. 26,6, 17-17, January 15 Pubmed database.
  6. Rose, J., Martorana, V. (2011) The Foot Book: A Complete Guide to Healthy Feet. Baltimore, The John Hopkins University Press.
  7. Surber, C., Elsner, P., Farage, MA. (2011) Topical Applications and the Mucosa [Abstract]. Current Problems Dermatology. 40, 107-115, January 15, 2017 of Pubmed database.
  8. Schmidtberger L, Ladizinski B, Ramirez-Fort MK (2014) Wax on, wax off: pubic hair grooming and potential complications. JAMA Dermatol ; 150: 122-122. , Google Scholar.
  9. Veraldi, S., Nazzaro, G., Ramoni, S. Pubic hair removal and molluscum contagiosum (2016). International Journal of STD & AIDS . 27, 8: 699-700, 2017, January, 16, Pubmed.
  10. Guaschino, S., Benvenuti, C., SOPHY Study Group (2008) SOPHY project: an observational study of vaginal pH, lifestyle and correct intimate hygiene in women of different ages and in different physiopathological conditions. Part II. Minerva Ginecologica , 60 (5): 353-362, 2017, January, 16, Pubmed.

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