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12 ‘Healthy’ Hygiene Habits That Are Actually Bad for You

Most of us want to do what’s best for our bodies, and our good intentions usually are rewarded if we stick to a good health plan. But what if what you think is healthy isn’t healthy at all? When it comes to hygiene, Reader’s Digest has a dozen “healthy” habits that aren’t really good for you at all. From bath bombs to Q-tips to hand sanitizers and douching, many of the products we’re using on ourselves should not be anywhere near us. Other things that aren’t that great include standing in the shower too long, moisturizing too much, washing our hair every day and spritzing “down there” with deodorizers or perfumes.

This list is a good reminder that what appears to be good — and sounds good — isn’t always what’s good for you. For example, using cotton swabs (Q-tips) in your ears can indeed be dangerous. In fact, nearly three dozen children are treated in an emergency room every day for an injury related to a foreign object in their ear, most frequently a cotton swab — and this doesn’t apply only to children: Adults can damage their eardrums or shove earwax deeper into their ears by shoving cotton swabs in their ears.

For this reason I don’t recommend using anything smaller than your elbow in your ear as it can stay clean naturally; this includes irrigation and ear candling. Another common hygiene mistake many make is believing that rinsing with fluoride or drinking fluoridated water will help prevent cavities. The truth is fluoridation is one of the biggest lies ever told when it comes to your health. There are a number of reasons why fluoride isn’t good for you, beginning with the fact that it destroys your brain and your teeth — just the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish with it.

The bottom line is, when it comes to dental health, your toothbrush and natural fluoride-free toothpaste are important, but many natural substances, like the foods you eat, also have the power to drastically improve the health of your teeth and gums, and thereby the health of the rest of your body, too.

Likewise, both hand sanitizers and “sanitizing” body sprays in the end may do exactly the opposite of what you’re intending when you use them. For example, hand sanitizers often contain Bisphenol-A (BPA) an endocrine-disrupting chemical that may actually be amplified in absorption in your body when used to disinfect your hands. And body sprays, as well as cleaning products and even dryer sheets may expose you to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can increase your risk of lung infections and asthma, similarly to what would happen if you were a pack-a-day smoker.
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