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HealthInfo Canterbury

Personal hygiene

Akuaku matawhaiaro

Personal hygiene is about making sure your body and clothes are clean. It includes hand washing, having baths or showers, cleaning your teeth and covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing.

There are lots of reasons why it is important. It helps you stay healthy, as washing removes germs. Wearing clean clothes and your body and breath smelling OK can also help you feel more confident.

Basic hygiene is important to everyone. But when puberty happens, your body goes through many changes that mean you can have new hygiene needs. These changes include an increase in hormone levels. Hormones affect a lot of things, including the glands in your armpits and groin. These glands make the scent that attracts people to us (our pheromones) as well as making sweat. When you hit puberty, the increase in hormones makes the glands work more, meaning you can sweat more. Although sweat doesn't smell, a smell comes when bacteria (germs) on our skin break down the sweat.

Maintaining good personal hygiene during puberty is therefore important. Ways you can do this include:

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed October 2023.


Page reference: 154821

Review key: HIPHY-154821