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TEACH YOUR YOUNG ADULTS SOME GOOD HY­GIENE HABITS

New Zealand Woman’s Weekly - - HEALTH& FAMILY -

When it comes to teenagers and hy­giene, there seems to be two ex­tremes.

There are those ado­les­cents who spend a ridicu­lous amount of their time holed up in the bath­room, us­ing up the hot wa­ter and emerg­ing smelling like they’ve been swim­ming in a vat of Chanel No. 5.

Then there are those who de­velop an aver­sion not only to cleans­ing prod­ucts but also to wa­ter. They act as if they’ll melt into a greasy pud­dle if you make them get in the bath or shower, and don’t seem both­ered by their stringy locks or stinky feet.

Good hy­giene is vi­tal for ev­ery­one but there are some teens who need to have it ham­mered home why it’s so im­por­tant to stay clean. Once pu­berty hits and hor­mones start taking a toll on the body, hy­giene habits need to be stepped up.

Poor hy­giene can lead to un­wanted con­se­quences. Some of th­ese are med­i­cal – such as bad skin, rashes and in­fec­tions.

But cru­cially, it also has so­cial im­pli­ca­tions. Their peers no­tice kids who are dirty and smelly, and will talk about them be­hind their backs or call them names to their faces. Once a teenager gets a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing dirty, it can be hard to shake and may have long-last­ing ef­fects on self-es­teem.

HABITS TO EN­COUR­AGE

• Show­er­ing daily. When they were younger it usu­ally didn’t mat­ter if they skipped a day, but thanks to the hor­monal changes af­fect­ing their bod­ies, they need to shower more. Re­mind them to use a mild soap – not just get wet – and make sure they wash their face, hands, feet, un­der­arms, bot­tom and groin.

• Wash­ing hair fre­quently.

Hair doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily have to be washed every day – for some peo­ple, this will fur­ther dry out al­ready dry hair – but they may need to if they have oily hair. Make sure you get them a sham­poo ap­pro­pri­ate for their hair type.

• Us­ing an­tiper­spi­rant or de­odor­ant. When pu­berty strikes, sweat glands be­come more ac­tive and the chem­i­cal com­po­si­tion of sweat changes, mean­ing that when it comes into con­tact with bac­te­ria on the skin, it smells stronger. It may not be nec­es­sary to use an­tiper­spi­rant or de­odor­ant all the time, but it’s a good idea to

have it handy, es­pe­cially if they are of­ten phys­i­cally ac­tive.

• Chang­ing clothes reg­u­larly. Gone are the days where they could get away with wear­ing the same T-shirt, un­der­wear and socks for more than one day. Along with show­er­ing, wear­ing clean clothes is an im­por­tant part of good hy­giene. If you (or they!) don’t have time to do their wash­ing mid­week, you may need to in­vest in ex­tra school shirts and socks, but it will be worth it!

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