Most aspects of personal hygiene are common to both sexes, but women also have some special considerations. These are related to the way their bodies are built as well as common lifestyle activities. Females must pay special attention to these areas, as well as overall cleanliness, as part of a thorough personal hygiene routine.
General personal hygiene is defined as being clean to avoid becoming offensive to others and to protect yourself and others from disease. The Australian government's Better Health Channel says it involves activities like bathing regularly and using deodorant to prevent body odor and brushing your teeth frequently to keep your mouth healthy and avoid bad breath. Good personal hygiene also includes covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and washing your hands frequently to avoid transmitting germs.
Women have some special areas to consider for personal hygiene. Those who are of reproductive age have a monthly menstrual cycle, which requires more attention to cleanliness. Protection must be changed several times a day, and showering or bathing become even more important for cleanliness and odor control.
Most women wear makeup regularly, which requires special attention when cleansing the face, according to Jennifer Nelson, a writer at Your Total Health. Women in many countries, including America, also keep their armpits and legs cleanshaven, which requires regular hair removal with a razor, cream or wax.
Many women also wear long hair, which should be kept clean. However, Nelson states that it does not have to be washed daily for maximum hygiene because natural oils contribute to healthy hair. She recommends washing hair every other day.
Geography plays a role in what is considered proper personal hygiene for women. The Better Health Channel explains that some countries and cultures have other norms. For example, women in some areas do not use deodorant because body odor is not considered offensive and females in certain European cultures do not shave their armpits or legs.
Good personal hygiene is beneficial to other people because it prevents the spread of germs, but it also benefits the individual in many ways. Women who do not practice good hygiene can become ill or get infections. For example, the Better Health Channel explains that not maintaining a clean genital area or not changing underwear daily can lead to bladder infections and other vaginal problems. Nelson warns that not properly cleaning makeup off the face can cause an eye infection. These and other problems are prevented by staying clean.
Cleanliness also makes a good impression on others in a woman's personal and professional relationships.
Young girls generally learn about good personal hygiene from their mothers or other female family members. They may not get thorough information if they grow up in a family that shies away from talking about certain subjects. However, most schools have health classes that include hygiene-related information so school-age girls will generally learn the basics. Then their knowledge will expand as they interact with their peers.