Personal Hygiene: Caring for your body

Personal Hygiene Caring for your body - Seniors Today

Caring for your body from your skin, hair, nails, and most importantly body odour on a daily basis is vital to ensure health and wellbeing.

The theory of the three “V’s on the three elements of non-verbal communication by a professor in psychology Albert Mehrabian states;

On a scale of 1-100

Verbal, that which is literally being said (spoken words)=7%

Vocal, how something is said (intonation through voice, tone)=38%

Visual, your body language (posture, facial expression, gesture)=55%

I say this also applies to making a great first impression of yourself. Especially the third “V” Visual, which is your body language and grooming, it speaks volumes about you.

When we talk about grooming, it is not only attributed to your external grooming that meets the eye; clothes, hair and make-up (for women) but rather starts internally with your personal hygiene. Caring for your body from your skin, hair, nails, and most importantly body odour on a daily basis is vital to ensure health and wellbeing.

Caring for your body goes beyond brushing your teeth and a daily bath. Using the right products and techniques, will ensure cleanliness throughout the day.


Here is a mini kit of PRODUCTS you need for personal hygiene;

Oral hygiene: soft bristle toothbrush, toothpaste of your personal choice, mouth wash, tongue cleaner, oral dental floss or a dental water jet flosser.

Bathing: shower gel or soap, loofa, nail brush, foot file.

Hair care: shampoo, conditioner, styling gel or serum, wide tooth comb, fine tooth comb.

Skin care: For your face and neck area- cleanser, face wash, sunscreen, moisturizer.

For your body- after shower moisturizer, anti-perspirant/deodrant.

Nail care: nail clipper, nail file, and cuticle cutter.

Ensuring you use these products with the right technique will ensure its effectiveness.


Personal hygiene techniques to combat body odour. 

Oral hygiene; A soft bristle toothbrush will ensure you are not too harsh on your gums, always brush the front of your teeth in an up-down motion (not left to right) hitting the gums, make sure you cover each tooth, then open your mouth and brush the surface and backside of your teeth in an east-west swing. One minute for brushing is ample. 

The tongue has millions of bacteria settling on it every time we eat or drink, if it is not cleaned thoroughly you will suffer from bad breath that could advance into more serious mouth infections. Use a tongue cleaner to scrape all residue settled on the tongue by sticking out your tongue and gently scraping from your throat to the tip of your tongue in gentle sweeps, be very gentle as the tongue has many nerve endings and the taste buds too, we don’t want to harm them do we?

Three to four rounds should be enough. 

Gaps between your teeth are often where tiny food particles stay lodged for days causing tooth decay, flossing your teeth with dental floss, or a water jet deep cleans the teeth and gum areas where your toothbrush does not reach. Follow with a final rinse with mouth wash. (Listerine, Colgate Plax, Betadine gargle) Do this twice a day for sparkling teeth, fresh smelling breath and minimum visits to the dentist.

NOTE: To check the freshness of your breath during the day, hold your palm close to your mouth and exhale sharply, the smell on your palm should be natural to fresh. If not, it’s time to pop mint or mouth freshener. 

P.S. No toothpicks, they widen the gap between teeth in time.

Body hygiene: Indians by far are the cleanest race, we bathe every day, sometimes twice too. However using the right and effective products (expensive is not necessarily effective) for your climate type is important. 

I live in Mumbai, a climate that is humid almost year round, so sweating is part of my daily existence and does cause body odour, that does not make me unclean.

Here is the spiel on body odour; Every time we eat or drink, there is a chemical reaction in our bodies, it’s the process of digestion. Through this process, the body absorbs the nutrients from the digested food and expels unwanted food (toxins) through sweating or use of the toilet. The odour of this unwanted food is usually foul, and offensive to those around. 

Hey, I really do not have control over the odour of my sweat or toilet stuff and I do bathe twice a day. 

The truth is one can control body odour by use of effective products correctly. 

Soaps for humid climate; Cinthol, Chandrika, Lifebhoy, Medicare.

Soaps for dryer climate; pears, Dove or other moisturizing soaps. 

NOTE: Use soap free, mild face wash on face and neck area.

Using a loofa (in circular clock and anti clock sweeps) exfoliates dead skin on a daily basis keeping the skin soft, and free of rash or infections. A nailbrush for nails and a foot file for the soles of your feet keep cuticles soft and dry skin at bay. Hair should ideally be washed once a week, unless you sweat a lot, one shampoo massaged well into the scalp and ends rinsed thoroughly, followed by conditioner applied to the hair not scalp, rinse in two minutes.

NOTE: Never comb wet hair, dry in a towel wrap.


After towel drying your body, apply face moisturizer or sunscreen to your face and neck area, bath oil or moisturizing lotion, and serum to your hair to help style it.

Using of an anti perspirant-deodorant is one of the best inventions to fight body odour. 

NOTE: Body spray, perfume, eau de toilet, cologne are not body odour fighters but just aroma enhancers.


What is the difference between a deodorant and an anti perspirant?

An anti perspirant when sprayed in the armpit area blocks the sweat pores and reduces sweating. Should be used by people who generally sweat a lot.

A deodorant neutralizes the odour of sweat, without clogging the pores, usually used by those who do not sweat much for an all-day fresh odour.  

A combined form of an anti perspirant-deodorant is available and serves as a two-in-one. Available in a gel, liquid, wax or a spray, all are equally effective, a personal preference.


How do we use it?

After bathing make sure your under-arm area is clear of hair and DRY


  • Spray- Hold bottle five inches away from the armpit and spray into armpit area.
  • Roll-on liquid, gel or wax has to make contact with your skin and gently rubbed onto armpits.

Hold up armpits for fifteen seconds, to allow drying and avoid staining clothes. This controls body odour for four to six hours. If needed, repeat on DRY armpits.

For those of you who suffer from foot odour, use a cornstarch based powder (Candid/Nycil/ Dr. Scholl/ Absorb) and wear 100% cotton socks.


Self-realization is the most important check.

We human are born with six senses- touch, taste, hearing, vision, smell and the most powerful of all common sense. 

All of these senses do go hand in hand to ensure well-being.

Use them wisely.

About Vinita Alvares Fernandes

Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

View all posts by Vinita Alvares Fernandes

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