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Catapharact
28-08-06, 19:12
Are You a Clean Freak?


Crazed Q-tipping, fierce flossing, wild nasal maneuvers—here's how to tell if you're taking hygiene to the extreme

Edited by Matt Bean

http://images.rodale.com/image/mh/0604_cleanfreak2_120x120.jpg

Like most men, I am a hygiene centrist: I fall somewhere between Queer Eye and Pigpen. Except with Q-tips—give me a 300 pack and I'll start twirling till they whir. Yesss! A sucker for that Q-tip eargasm, I scoffed at the warning on the box: "Do not use swab in ear canal." Who were they kidding?

Then came the first ear infection. "You're a Q-tipper, aren't you?" the ear doctor asked, poking in my ear canal till it felt like a root canal. Turns out all my swabbing had merely pushed my earwax deeper, where it formed a festering "wax plug." As I winced, the doctor smiled. This man hated Q-tips, and he was teaching me a lesson. "Never," he said, probing deeper, "put a Q-tip down...this...far!"

Ow! But I couldn't give it up, so I found a specialist who allows canal cleaning with a swab dipped in hydrogen peroxide. I'm Q-tipping again, my eyes rolling up in my head. So the obsession is still there. And so are the risks, as I know all too well. Here's a guide to where hygiene spills across the border into self-destruction. (And if you want more, here are 17 tips for healthy living.)

Keep that thing out of your ear

Swirling a swab in your ear canal can cause infections and worse. "Push too far and you can rupture your eardrum," says Timothy Hullar, M.D., an assistant professor of otolaryngology at Washington University, in St. Louis. His advice: Do nothing. "You don't really need to clean your ears." A few people have trouble with earwax buildup, but they can get by with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide (diluted 50/50 with water) or mineral oil a couple times a week. "Olive oil works, too," Dr. Hullar says, "but you may smell like a salad."

Limit your nasal maneuvers

Did you know that nose drops and sprays can be addictive? Allergy nurse Bonnie Dooley, R.N., of Eastern Virginia Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists, sees patients who can't go an hour without a spritz of 12-hour nasal spray. Overuse causes "rebound swelling" and ever-worse congestion. Extreme spritzing can also mess with your blood pressure, which means there could be such a thing as killer nose drops.

Next time you have a stuffy nose, try plain salt water. Drugstores sell squirt bottles of saline solution—cheap. It eases congestion by moistening dry nasal passages, and can't be overused. Taking an antihistamine or inhaling steam can also loosen mucus.


Cut it out with the toenail trimming

Compulsively trimming your toenails can send a nail burrowing back into your flesh. In extreme cases, you can wind up with a bone infection or gangrenous ulcer that may result in amputation. Even ordinary ingrown toenails often require "removing a portion of nail and cauterizing the nail root so it will not grow back," says Tracey Toback, D.P.M., of Rhinebeck, New York. His advice: "Never wear shoes that are too tight. Always trim toenails straight across. And do not invade the nail bed by trimming too short, or too deep into the margins."

Lighten up on your teeth

"Brushing your teeth does not require a lot of force," says Atlanta-based Ronald Goldstein, D.D.S., author of Change Your Smile. Yet he's treated men who've brushed away their enamel (the outer covering of the teeth) and kept going until the gum tissue receded. Continued hard brushing wears away the much softer cementum (covering the root), which may lead to an increased chance of sensitivity, decay and tooth deformity. How can you tell if you're brushing too hard? Check your brush. If the bristles are frayed or splayed after a few months' use, you may be an offender. "If you brush correctly," says Dr. Goldstein, "your brush should look pretty much the same after six months as it did when you bought it." And, he adds, "check with your dentist or hygienist to make sure you're brushing the right way for your own mouth."

Likewise, flossing is healthy, but not if you garrote your gums. According to Dr. Goldstein, "a lot of people saw through their gum tissue," yanking floss back and forth through that tender flesh. Move floss gently under the gums to nab food particles, then up and down each side of the tooth. (Of course proper oral hygiene can keep you from getting sick.)

Hygiene should be only skin deep

A 2005 survey at ballparks indicated that 37 percent of men didn't wash their hands after making a deposit at the men's room. Creepy, yes, but then there are those of us who can't stop washing. Some men rub their skin clean off. "They wash and wash an area and then rub it to make sure it's clean," says California dermatologist Julian Omidi, M.D. "That traumatizes the top layer of skin, which then turns thick and brownish. Nerve endings can become further irritated, triggering a vicious circle of itching and rubbing."

Even mildly neurotic overwashing strips skin of natural oils and can turn your epidermis into something like pimple-covered bark. This can happen on your face, where too much soap can send oil glands into overdrive, plugging pores and follicles, which triggers acne.

Remember, as well, that you could stay perfectly healthy with a weekly bath or shower. When you do scrub up, keep a lid on harsh cleansers. "Try alcohol-free skin-care products," says Dr. Omidi. "Use a gentle foaming cleanser, and don't wash more than twice a day."

You don't need to take extreme measures for exfoliation, either: It's a natural. By the time you take your next breath, more than a thousand dead skin cells will have fallen off your body. Exfoliating with abrasive creams or loofahs accelerates the process, but compulsive use can "denude" the epidermis. Don't exfoliate more than two or three times a week.

tha_mattster
28-08-06, 19:22
Where do you find all these articles?

LegenDarY
28-08-06, 19:23
intersting read.. i do the thing with cleaning my ears as well.. cause it feels so nice when you clean them with a Q-tip :D

Remember, as well, that you could stay perfectly healthy with a weekly bath or shower.
that's sick.. i think people should shower/bath once a day.. ok if you skip a day or something.. but come on.. a week? geeze how bad would you smell if you didn't take a bath/shower for a whole week (especially when it's hot outside)

tha_mattster
28-08-06, 19:24
But people who are too clean and always using disinfectant products often get lots of allergies because their immune system fails to develop effectively!

Catapharact
28-08-06, 19:29
Where do you find all these articles?

Some get e-mailed to me by my friends, while others I just simply come across while reading the news :).



that's sick.. i think people should shower/bath once a day.. ok if you skip a day or something.. but come on.. a week? geeze how bad would you smell if you didn't take a bath/shower for a whole week (especially when it's hot outside)

Yep I particulary found that one discomforting. I mean according to my religious practices, you have to remove all body hair to maintain cleanliness (yes... I have a hairless chest) and its important to take bath everyday obviously for sanitation purposes.

Neteru
28-08-06, 19:33
Cat, Cat, Cat. Please link to these articles you republish here. ;)

Greenkey2
28-08-06, 19:34
I agree mattster, that we tend to regard dirt as EVIL and clean as GOOD in our society. This attitude has begun to create dozens of over-reaction diseases and conditions which can only be bad for us.

Washing and hygiene are important to me (my one and only vice is having really nice bath & shower smellies :D) but I'm proud of the fact that I played in mud-puddles as a kid :jmp:

Catapharact
28-08-06, 19:36
Cat, Cat, Cat. Please link to these articles you republish here. ;)

Awww! But I love hogging my sources :p.

Actually I should. I kinda left the part about cleaning out your *other* parts to keep this little diddy forum friendly :whi:.

http://health.msn.com/menshealth/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100133529

Knock yourselves out boys and girls ;).

Neteru
28-08-06, 19:55
The source is required for legal reasons. ;)

Good article btw. :tmb: I particularly laughed at the comment about the 'eargasm'. :D

T.Onix
28-08-06, 21:09
I particularly laughed at the comment about the 'eargasm'. :D
You laughed about it, meanwhile, I just realized I'm about to lose all pleasure I get so far.

xMiSsCrOfTx
28-08-06, 21:12
Most of the guys I know don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom. It's so disgusting!

LegenDarY
28-08-06, 21:19
Yep I particulary found that one discomforting. I mean according to my religious practices, you have to remove all body hair to maintain cleanliness (yes... I have a hairless chest) and its important to take bath everyday obviously for sanitation purposes.
all body hair? does that include facial hair? cause i remember you posting a picture of yourself with facial hair.. :p

Most of the guys I know don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom. It's so disgusting!
i agree with that.. when i go out i always see guys walking out of the toilet straight to the club again without washing their hands..

maybe it's just me but that's really disgusting.. like it's so much trouble to wash your hands

I particularly laughed at the comment about the 'eargasm'. :D
ooeeh i love eargasms.. feels so good if your ear itches to use a Q-tip.. :D

Lavinder
28-08-06, 21:20
Awww, what a shame. They feel so good.

Cool article, but hell i'm not going to stop showering twice a day! I'm a growing woman.

Lenochka
28-08-06, 21:21
ooeeh i love eargasms.. feels so good if your ear itches to use a Q-tip.. :D

I clean my ears twice a day sometimes just because it feels nice :D

LegenDarY
28-08-06, 21:27
I clean my ears twice a day sometimes just because it feels nice :D
so do i.. but after reading this article i think i'm going to make an appointment with my doctor to get my ears checked :eek:

Catapharact
28-08-06, 22:22
Good article btw. :tmb: I particularly laughed at the comment about the 'eargasm'. :D[/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

I must confess... Its pleasureable. Oh the shame of it all; Being seduced by a petite with cotton smooth hair.

all body hair? does that include facial hair? cause i remember you posting a picture of yourself with facial hair.. :p


Well the facial hair part reflects the concept of Sunnah (Gotta be Muslim to understand that ;) Lol!)

Actually, my fiancee isn't too fond of facial hair; She prefers the "smooth" look so to speak :whi:.

Its a win win situation; My face doesn't has to feel itchy and she gets what she wants. Who am I to deny her that? ;)

Neteru
28-08-06, 23:02
I must confess... Its pleasureable. Oh the shame of it all; Being seduced by a petite with cotton smooth hair.

We all have our vices.

*Gives both his cotton buds another twist ... ooohhh ... aaahhh.*

tr_mitch
28-08-06, 23:07
I actually don't shower often at all. :rolleyes:
But never been a problem... I smell lovely.

LegenDarY
28-08-06, 23:36
I actually don't shower often at all. :rolleyes:
that explains the weird smell on this forum ;)

tr_mitch
28-08-06, 23:37
that explains the weird smell on this forum ;)

That was such a predictable comeback, Try to be a bit more creative next time. ;)

LegenDarY
28-08-06, 23:38
That was such a predictable comeback, Try to be a bit more creative next time. ;)
fully agree.. i was trying to be even cheesier than mike with his lost action figure comment ;)

tr_mitch
28-08-06, 23:39
fully agree.. i was trying to be even cheesier than mike with his lost action figure comment ;)

Now that did suck sooooo bad.

CerebralAssassin
28-08-06, 23:40
hehe...the locals here in St.Louis (I'm from St.louis) call Washington University Wash. U. ...now they're doin' a study on Washing and hygiene...kinda funny if you think about it!!:D

LegenDarY
28-08-06, 23:49
hehe...the locals here in St.Louis (I'm from St.louis) call Washington University Wash. U. ...now they're doin' a study on Washing and hygiene...kinda funny if you think about it!!:D
talk about bad jokes.. 3rd one today :D

CerebralAssassin
28-08-06, 23:58
talk about bad jokes.. 3rd one today :D
I certainly do have my fair share of bad jokes...but occassionally I stumble across one that's gold!!!:D

CerebralAssassin
29-08-06, 00:00
hey L...another bad joke comin up in the death penalty thread...make sure to check it out!!:D

LegenDarY
29-08-06, 00:04
hey L...another bad joke comin up in the death penalty thread...make sure to check it out!!:D
i'm waiting :D

CerebralAssassin
29-08-06, 00:11
i'm waiting :D
oh so...now you're in invisible mode?:p