The Grooming Manual

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Are You Washing Your Hands All Wrong?

Hand soap

You learned to wash your hands when you were a little kid. You know it’s important for your health and to prevent the spread of disease.

But be honest guys. Sometimes you don’t do it. And even when you do, it’s possible you’re doing it all wrong.

That’s a huge problem - both for society at large and for you personally. Even if you’re not concerned about getting sick because of low quality hand washing (which you should be), it turns out that this bad habit could be messing up your skincare efforts too. Here’s why - and what you can do about it.


Most Guys Are Bad at Hand Washing

If you ask most guys, they’ll all swear up and down that they faithfully wash their hands completely and thoroughly every time they use the restroom. But when researchers investigated whether or not this was true, they found that “only 5 percent of people who used the bathroom washed their hands long enough to kill the germs that can cause infections.” As if that’s not bad enough, the researchers concluded that “men were particularly bad at washing their hands correctly.”

What may be even worse is that 15% of men observed for this study didn’t wash their hands at all. Every one of those guys - and the men who didn’t wash their hands properly - are at risk of getting sick or spreading infectious diseases to everyone they come in contact with.

In case you’re thinking that you are above all this, consider a sobering fact. According to this study, 95% of people are not washing their hands properly. Most likely, that includes you.


How Hand Washing Affects Skincare

One of the major causes of skin blemishes and shave irritation is bacteria. It gets stuck down in your pores where it can multiply and take over, leading to redness, inflammation, and discomfort.

If your hands are dirty when you apply your skincare products for men, the chances of bacteria infiltrating your pores is much higher. This is a major concern when shaving. Your skin is more sensitive and prone to irritation after a shave. You don’t want dirty hands spreading bacteria all over your face just when it’s most at risk.


How to Wash Your Hands Properly

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is clear on this: “Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.” They recommend a 5 step process to ensure you’re washing your hands properly every time.

  1. Get your hands wet. Warm or cold water is fine.
  2. Apply soap. Rub it all over your hands to create a lather. Get between your fingers, under your nails, and on both sides of your hands.
  3. Keep scrubbing for 20 seconds. It will feel like a long time while you’re standing at the sink, rubbing your hands. Humming “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice through can keep you entertained and is a good gauge of how long 20 seconds really is.
  4. Rinse your hands completely, removing all soap and lather.
  5. Completely dry your hands. Wet hands can still be covered in communicable germs, so be patient during the drying process. No half measures.

If you don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer can be a viable second best option. The CDC recommends “an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.” Keep in mind that alcohol will dry out your skin, so use a hand lotion for men after you’ve disinfected your hands.

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