Health And Wellness

5 Bad Habits That Reveal A Lot About Your Hygiene

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woman in mirror

Your hygiene has a lot to do with your health and well-being. If you don’t already know it, poor hygiene can hurt you.

Healthy personal habits can help you ward off illnesses and feel good about yourself.

Find out personal hygiene habits that are bad for you.

5 Bad Habits That Reveal A Lot About Your Hygiene

1. You go to bed with your makeup on

At the end of a long, exhausting day, it might be tempting to nod off without washing off your makeup.

Any makeup artist or skin care professional will tell you this is one of the most egregious hygiene mistakes you can make.

Not washing your face daily can create clogged pores which don’t only lead to blackheads and pimples but uneven skin color due to overgrowth of skin cells, including damage to your eyes.

And that’s not all: Neglecting to wash off your mascara, eyeliner, and other eye makeup can do serious damage to your eyes.

Makeup harbors bacteria, which can migrate under your eyelids and lead to styes, inflamed follicles on the lash line, and serious skin infections. Untreated, these infections could eventually lead to blindness.

Most people have no idea that they need to clean their makeup brushes and tools. A 2015 Harris Poll on behalf of beauty company Anisa International showed that 22% of respondents reported never cleaning their makeup brushes.

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Expired makeup, dirty brushes, not washing your hands, and not following basic hygiene rules can cause bacteria to grow, leading to infections, illnesses, acne, and irritation.

Wash your face before you put your head on the pillow. If you’re wearing an oil-based concealer, you’ll need a solvent-based makeup removal that can emulsify the foundations and lipstick. Use cleanser around the eyes.

2. You don’t regularly wash your bedding

The average person spends more than eight hours a day lying on their mattress, making it a high-risk infection zone if not properly cared for.

You shed 500 million skin cells a day, many of which slough off while you roll around in bed sleeping.

Also, about 1.5 million house dust mites settle in your bed each night, and they leave their marks in the form of welts on your neck, face, and arms, and may cause breathing issues.

Taking together, dust mites, dead skin cells, sweat, and saliva in your bedsheet and pillowcase can turn your bed into a petri dish where germs grow.

For example, Amerisleep, a mattress company commissioned a study that revealed that bedsheets left unchanged for even one week had 24,631 more bacteria than a bathroom doorknob and pillowcases left unwashed for a week harbored 17,000 times the number of bacteria as a toilet seat.

Given that 54% of people don’t wash their sheets often enough, it’s important to point out the critical health risks associated with such poor hygiene practice.

No matter how clean you are as a person, your sheets are teeming with all kinds of germs and debris.

When your sheets stay unwashed for long periods of time, fungi, bacteria, and other debris, including dust mites, accumulate dramatically. These allergens enter the body through your nose, mouth, skin, or eyes. This can lead to allergies and infections, including a stuffy nose, inflamed airways, and itchiness. It can even aggravate asthma.

In the worst-case scenario, unwashed bed sheets will lead to a staph infection. If a staph infection makes its way into the bloodstream, it can escalate to a more severe condition like sepsis or toxic shock syndrome – which could be fatal.

Wash your bedding with hot water. Afterward, toss it into the dryer. The dryer’s heat can kill some germs that survive the wash. If it’s safe for the color, use a germ-killer like bleach on your sheets, especially if you’re cleaning up after a sick person.

3. You don’t wash your bras or underwear regularly

How often do you need to wash your bras and underwear?

While there’s no exact science to this question, a Cleveland Clinic dermatologist says you should wash them after every two to three wears, as a general rule.

Also, Mary Begovic Johnson, senior scientific communications manager of Procter & Gamble, in an interview said you shouldn’t have the same bra more than three to five times in a row.

The reason is your body releases sweat, dirt, oil, bacteria, sunscreen, yeast, fungi, and lots of microbiota into your bra and undergarments.

So, it’s a bad habit to go on wearing the same bra or pants for days without washing as this can lead to stains and persistent odors as well as skin irritation, rashes, or local skin infections.

Sweaty undergarments are one of the most common causes of body acne. Because bras are so tight and close to the skin, all the bacteria that have built up over time can easily cause friction.

4. Sharing your toothbrush, razor, or hairbrush

Your personal grooming products are a perfect example of things in which sharing isn't virtuous.

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Poor oral hygiene habits are bad enough and the last thing you want is the bacteria from someone else’s mouth infecting yours.

And the spread of infections and diseases on a massive scale is what can happen when you use someone else’s toothbrush, razor, or hairbrush.

Different types of bacteria reside in your mouth. One of such that lives in almost everyone’s mouth and you can share with a toothbrush is streptococcus mutans.

When this bacteria digests the sugars in your mouth, it creates acid strong enough to erode your enamel causing cavities — which is extremely contagious.

Again, if you’re sharing your toothbrush you could be sharing blood and saliva as well. This also exposes you to blood-borne viruses such as herpes and hepatitis.

Meanwhile, sharing razors isn’t much better, as it doesn’t only spread skin infections like staph, but can transmit viruses like hepatitis and HIV. Sharing hair brushes can put you at risk for lice and skin rashes.

5. Walking barefoot in a public restroom

Public restrooms are a necessary part of life unless you’re a person who never leaves your home.

But walking barefooted in a public bathroom or restroom is a bad habit and is not good for your hygiene.

The sweat, hair, and urine that collect on the floor can breed bacteria, fungus, and mold. And you easily pick up ringworm, athlete’s foot, nail fungus, and other diseases by walking in there barefooted.

What’s worse? These diseases are very difficult to treat. For example, ringworm (a fungal infection of the skin) can be treated with topical antifungals, but athlete’s foot can be far more persistent.

In the worst-case scenario, an athlete’s foot can cause a secondary infection that can lead to fevers and complications of the lymphatic system.

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So, while you may have the need to use a public restroom — bathroom, toilet, lavatory — you need to take care that you don’t walk without putting on a flip-flop as it increases your risk of contracting infections.

Your personal hygiene is important if you want to stay healthy.

Exposing yourself to bacteria, fungi, and other harmful microorganisms by engaging in poor habits can make you vulnerable to disease attacks.

Victor Mong is a researcher writing about self-improvement, psychology, mental health, and productivity.

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.