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Healthy Living || Personal Hygiene

Friday, June 12, 2015


'Take care of your body,it's the only place you have to live'
Jim Rohn




Hi Fabs,
I wanted to start this week writing on something that should be of importance to everyone but which most people tend to overlook -
the idea of personal hygiene, but somehow I’ve been on the slow side this past week and now it's already friday, anyway it's never too late so here it is.

First off, caring for our bodies shouldn't be seen as a chore but rather as an enjoyable hobby. Personally I think we owe it to ourselves to treat our bodies as sacred because in truth - it is. Nobody wants to be a victim of common unpleasant results of neglecting our bodies such as body odour, bad breath and smelly feet...these three seem to be very popular these days. This past month it felt like something was nudging me to go ahead and write on this sooner than initially planned. So typical me ended up reading a ton of stuff about body odour, bad breath and smelly feet and I’m just going to go ahead and share.

Body odour is a foul-smelling perspiration, it is also a perceived unpleasant smell our bodies can give off when bacteria that live on the skin break down sweat into acids. There are 3 to 4million sweat glands on the human body and they are of two types namely Eccrine glands and Apocrine glands.

Eccrine glands are spread across the skin and regulate body temperature by cooling the skin with sweat when you get hot while the Apocrine glands are mainly found in the hairy areas of the body such as the underarms. Sweat produced by the eccrine gland is usually odourless although it has a tendency to smell if bacteria start to break it down. The apocrine glands are mainly responsible for body odour because the sweat they produce has high levels of protein which bacteria find easy to breakdown. This simply means that people who sweat excessively from their apocrine glands or have a lot of bacteria on their skin tend to have worse body odour.

So which individuals are susceptible to body odour?
Anyone who has reached puberty (when the apocrine sweat glands develop) can produce body odour. Men tend to sweat more than women and are more likely to have body odour, don’t take this to mean that us girls get off that easy- nope we all have to work hard at it just the same. Generally certain things can make body odour worse such as being overweight, eating rich or spicy foods and even diabetes amongst several other factors. 

The question now is how to manage body odour…I believe the first thing is to keep areas of our bodies prone to sweating clean and free of bacteria. You could use medicated or scented soap to wash everyday minimum of twice daily (non-negotiable) paying attention to areas that sweat most like the underarms and feet. Changing clothes and socks on regular basis as well as washing clothes pretty often is also super helpful. Let’s not forget how vital it is to use antiperspirants or deodorants daily and also noting the difference between both so please indulge me for a second:

Apparently deodorant targets the bacteria that hang around our underarms through ingredients present like triclosan in effect making the skin in your underarm too salty or acidic to support the indigenous bacteria that are meant to thrive there. Without any bacteria to feast on the proteins and fats delivered through your sweat, no smell is produced. 

However antiperspirants cut down on body odour using the exact opposite principle: they actually keep you from sweating. Without any sweat, the bacteria found in abundance in your underarms don't have anything to eat. Most antiperspirants have some of the same ingredients found in deodorants that kill bacteria as a failsafe. Their main function, however, is to keep you from perspiring. They do this through ingredients like aluminum and zirconium, which plug the sweat glands found in your underarms. When you apply antiperspirant, it's literally no sweat. There may be drawbacks to not smelling like you're meant to, however: some studies have found a link between breast cancer and antiperspirants. I think it’s sad that almost everything leads back to cancer, makes you wonder if anything is safe in this world.

Moving on to bad breath guys…
This essentially is a symptom where a noticeably unpleasant odour is present on exhaled breath. It occurs usually when there is sulphur-containing bacteria buildup in the mouth. I recall the first time I read about bacteria naturally being in our mouths, I felt hilariously scarred but you can’t run away from your biology I guess. That said, bacteria are found commonly at the gumline and at the back of the tongue. Bad breath is a normal result of poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Also it can be made worse by the types of foods you eat, other unhealthy lifestyle habits and there are several variations of this. 

This can be handled by gently cleaning the tongue surface twice daily using a tooth brush and a tongue cleaner to remove the accumulated debris. Antibacterial rinse or mouthwash comes in pretty handy but it is completely unsavoury behaviour to think you can get away with substituting using a mouthwash for brushing twice daily. Proper dental hygiene is key so we should always remember to brush at least twice daily, gargle with an effective mouthwash during the day and before bedtime and also floss regularly using a good dental floss. You could try breath mints and chewing gum during the day but personally I don't feel that makes a difference so you might want to opt for a more effective route.

Finally, smelly feet arises from the buildup of sweat on the feet and the consequent breakdown into acids by bacteria. The feet has more sweat glands than any other part of the body apparently, somehow I find that a bit unsettling. Smelly feet is common in teenagers and pregnant women because of hormonal changes that make them sweat more. Certain factors can increase one's susceptibility to smelly feet such as excessive sweating, stress and standing on the feet for a long time. It is important to take necessary steps to avoid complications like Athlete's foot or a bacterial foot infection. In that case don't forget to wash the feet everyday, keep toenails short and clean, check soles of the feet for hard and dead skin and you could also use antifungal footspray or medicated foot powder  (yup bless God for science).

I strongly believe it is our responsibility to care for our bodies so you shouldn't be in such a hurry to get it over with, the end complication is never cool so I think it will be best to prevent rather than seek a solution to a problem. So beautiful people, take your personal hygiene very seriously and you could always think of it as your own personal investment: whatever you put into it is most likely going to reflect in the output-that's how I see it.

I'm going to run along now so I really hope this was helpful and informative.


Till the next one,


Kisses from Lagos.



Ify*

2 comments

  1. Muyiwaaa! i'v tried a million tyms to leave a comment here bt d enemy is against me
    I really enjoyed dis one...very informative, even to a med student.lol. keep it up hun, beta each day
    Neni

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awwww you found me sweetie...thanks so much love.

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