7 Hygiene Myths You Probably Still Believe

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Personal hygiene standards change over time. This is likely why hygiene myths tend to become accepted truths for many people. Here are some common hygiene myths you still probably believe but are simply not true.

Myth #1: You need to shower every day

Taking a shower every day is not necessary for most of us. If you work in some kind of job where you get really filthy and sweaty every day, then you may be an exception. One problem is that scrubbing yourself with soap daily can strip your skin of its natural moisture which can cause dryness. Taking a shower every couple of days is enough to keep the bacteria levels in your body low enough to prevent unpleasant odor.

Myth #2: Only antibacterial soap can kill germs

Many people like the word "anti-bacterial." It makes soap look more powerful against bacteria and germs. However, there is not much evidence at all that anti-bacterial soap is any better than using plain soap and water for washing hands or taking showers. To the contrary, there is scientific evidence that anti-bacterial soap has the potential to reduce bacterial resistance.

Myth #3: Public toilets are a hotbed for disease or STDs

Public toilets might not be the cleanest places, but you are very unlikely to contract a disease from sitting on one (much less an STD!). So your thigh accidentally touches the toilet seat while squatting, no big deal. Your skin is a natural germ-barrier that protects your insides. A brief moment of contact is not enough for the germs to migrate to your private area. But do make sure to always, always wash your hands after you use the toilet.

Myth #4: You shouldn't moisturize your face if you have oily skin

If you have oily skin, the tendency is not to use a moisturizer so as not to add to the oiliness. In reality, your skin might actually be too dry so the body is compensating by producing more oil. If you have oily skin, apply moisturizer but opt for a water-based product for a lighter feel.

Myth #5: Only dirty people get head lice

Nope, the homeless or kids who don't wash their hair very well are not the only ones who have a monopoly on head lice. Both children and adults can easily get head lice simply through head-to-head contact with an infected person.

Incidentally, a good DIY solution for head lice is to mix a few drops of tea tree oil with alcohol. Spray on the hair until fully saturated and leave on for at least 12 hours or overnight. The antiseptic properties of the tea tree and alcohol will kill the lice and its eggs.

Myth #6: Poor oral hygiene only damages the teeth

Not brushing and flossing can lead to other health risks, according to the Mayo Clinic. Oral hygiene is not just about protecting your teeth and gums against cavities or your mouth from germ built up, but it can impact your risk of diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart health. For example, researchers have found gum-disease causing bacteria in the brains of Alzheimer patients.

Myth #7: Sweat makes you stinky

Sweat is mostly made of water and doesn't have any smell per se. The bad odor actually comes from the bacteria in your armpits that mixes with your sweat. When this happens, the bacteria breaks down proteins in the sweat, creating a foul smell. Using an antiperspirant deodorant to keep your armpit dry can help effectively manage body odor.

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