TEACH YOUR YOUNG ADULTS SOME GOOD HYGIENE HABITS
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!