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Sensory- Toiletries and Hygiene

Toiletries and hygiene are tricky topics when it comes to autism and sensory issues. Brushing teeth, showering, skincare, makeup, deodorant etc. Each come with their own issues for each individual. 

For example, I found an electric toothbrush unbearable. I use a manual, bamboo, soft-bristled toothbrush. The same goes for toothpaste, flavor "mouth feel" etc all affect sensory systems. Skincare and makeup are also tricky. I really hate the feeling of too much product on my face. Deodorant; I use a stick of deodorant instead of aerosol because I hate the feeling of a spray.

Often autistic people are categorized as sensory seekers or sensory avoidant, for some people it can depend on the day, situation and environment. Some autistic people may sometimes prefer highly scented/couloured (for example lush, some body shop ranges) etc this is sensory seeking behaviour. Other days they may prefer low scent products (for example simple, body shop have a chamomile range and an aloe vera range, nivea)

Tips for hygiene-

- One thing (that can take a while) but is useful is desensitisation or exposure therapy. If water is a sensory issue finding ways to gradualy interact with it in a 'safe' enviroment. Eg- not the bathroom, the garden or kitchen for example

-Dry shampoo is great if you cant shower that day (I find some days I struggle because of sensory issues or executive function)

-Wet wipes 

-Task and reward: once you've showered/brushed teeth I can watch some tv/ipad time/a treat etc.

One thing that has been an issue for some people with autism is hand washing and sanatising alot because of the pandemic. I've found it hard when shopping using the sanitiser provided because of how it smells/feels. Also washing hands alot; I dislike the feel of some paper towels or reglar towels, the way some soap smells/feels etc. I keep a hand sanitiser that I know I like with me at all times just in case.

Once again, this is advice as every autistic person and situaton is different.

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