How Your Grooming Habits Are Affecting Other Areas Of Your Life. Acne. Bad hair. Hot breath. Smelly pits. Society expects the modern man to maintain a well-groomed, healthy image — one that refrains from ever exhibiting such poor hygiene traits.
And when a guy slacks on his cleanliness or chooses to ignore the care of his body, this makes him a victim of ostracism, temporarily bans him from social circles.
“Just like females, males develop how they feel about their looks over time based upon messages that come from their surrounding environments,” shares Katherine L. Lee, an expert psychotherapist specializing in identity formation and emotional health with young adults. With specific grooming standards being omnipresent in our daily world, from aromatic scents to beard styles, there’s this magnifying spotlight focused solely on appearances that can elicit unhealthy mental responses when people aren’t following the proper grooming regimen. And that can have consequences for the long haul, depending on your emotional resilience.
Bad Grooming Etiquette
Poor hygiene, particularly bad body odor, sends the wrong message. The fear of producing wretched scents can mislead men into overcompensating on their appearance by going overboard with certain body fresheners. Dr. Terrence Keaney, renowned Dove Men+ Care dermatologist, believes many “make the mistake of overdosing in deodorant or cologne to mask odor, which may lead to underarm irritation.”
A recent study conducted by Dove Men+ Care shows 8 in 10 men feel less confident when experiencing underarm irritation, whereas 59% refrain from participating in certain activities in fear of the same outcome. That same study shows 52% feel self-conscious when forgetting to wear deodorant. Not surprising to hear.
B.O. is just one of several conditions responsible for damaging one’s social stature. Breakouts, dry skin, long nails, and failure to maintain facial hair all serve as turn-offs as well. And these are just some of the common grooming and skincare flaws most men deal with on the regular basis. But in certain cases, we have to go skin deep to find the root of what initially brings such public scrutiny.
Some of us are just born with biological imperfections. Thank your gene pool. That’s right. Your crater face or foul underarms might stem from what you’ve inherited through the family bloodline. “Genetics play an important role in skin function, but the majority of men aren’t classifying their odor as a problem,” claims Dr. Keaney.
The mind and skin are intimately connected, as most health disorders build their foundation through the psyche. Take stress, for example. It produces hormonal fluctuations that tense up the body and release a high level of cortisol — increasing acne, body odor, and other chronic skincare blemishes. The mental effects of these conditions prove to be even more detrimental to one’s self-esteem.
The Psychological Aftermath
Harboring emotional baggage is commonplace, especially when feeling a sense of rejection. Being cast away from the beauty posse has indirect consequences that can eventually be uncontrollable for overly sensitive males.
Lee expands on this theory: “When we retreat from social situations, problems like loneliness are more of an issue, and the ability to improve bad hygiene tends to fall by the wayside since we’re more likely to stay to ourselves.” As these complications develop into long-term ones, she states, we tend to withdraw more regularly from people so they don’t bring attention to what’s already making us feel shame.
Other side effects include anger, depression and, most importantly, social anxiety: “We may start to develop worries about how others are seeing us, and therefore, we may have greater inclination to socially withdraw if we can’t get a handle on poor hygiene habits.”
Earning Social Acceptance
Humans are insecure creatures by nature. This can either elicit pity or increase pro-social behavior. Men, like women, can easily succumb to the pressure of fitting in, generally when struggling with hygienic quandaries on a regular basis. Lee expresses that this can create a fear of anxiety and judgment, preventing men from mingling with company: “Regular isolation will continue to keep people from improving their grooming habits, because the stakes of turning people off are much lower when we’re by ourselves most of the time.”
An inferiority complex can befall that discourages men from sharing gender-related issues with others. Dr. Keaney notes men today are not communicating with one another about their underarm health, implying “only 3 in 10 men have spoken with their friends or family members about experiencing challenges with their underarms.” Talk about insecurity.