HOW OFTEN YOU SHOULD SHOWER? November 7, 2017 – Posted in: Beauty, Lifestyle – Tags: body oil, eczema, microbiome, shower
Too exhausted, I sometimes go to bed without showering. But there are some of us, who don’t feel clean without a daily hot shower. There are also some of us who bathe more than once per day, like my customer, who bathes her 2-year-old daughter three times a day. But is a daily shower or bath really necessary—or even healthy?
“People think they’re showering for hygiene or to be cleaner, but bacteriologically, that’s not the case,” Dr. Elaine Larson, an infectious disease expert and associate dean for research at Columbia University School of Nursing told TIME. *1
“Bathing will remove odour if you’re stinky or have been to the gym,” she said. But in terms of protecting you from illness, washing your hands regularly is probably adequate.
Other experts agree. “I think most people over-bathe,” said Dr. C. Brandon Mitchell, assistant professor of dermatology at George Washington University.
Mitchell said washing can strip your skin of its natural oils, and may also disrupt the skin’s population of immune system-supporting bacteria. That’s especially true of antibacterial cleansers, which both he and Larson recommended that you ditch.
So what’s the ideal shower frequency? “In terms of your health—not how you look or smell—probably once or twice a week,” Mitchell said. “Your body is naturally a well-oiled machine,” he said. “A daily shower isn’t necessary.”
“People might not appreciate your natural musk. But as long as you’re washing your hands and your clothing, which naturally rubs off and collects a lot of the dead cells and grime your body accumulates, you’d likely suffer no ill health effects,” Larson said.
Dr. Richard Gallo, chief of the dermatology division at the University of California, San Diego, told the New York Times, “It’s not just removing the lipids and oils on your skin that’s drying it out… It could be removing some of the good bacteria that help maintain a healthy balance of skin.” *2
It’s widely known that showering too often can strip your skin of beneficial oil, leading to dryness and cracks, especially if the water is hot and harsh soaps are used. During shower, many people regularly use soap (which is of high pH) to wash their entire skin surface and remove this protective covering. Do you know it can take your skin up to 18 hours to recover to its normal pH? Such excessive showering may also make certain conditions, like eczema, worse.
“I tell patients who shower daily not to lather their whole bodies,” Mitchell said. “Hit your pits, butt and groin, which are the areas that produce strong-smelling secretions. The rest of your body doesn’t need much soaping.” he said.
Your hair is trickier. “Some people with a dry scalp and hair probably only need to lather it every few weeks,” Mitchell said. But even if you have dandruff or some other scalp issue that requires more frequent washing, a couple washes a week will suffice, he said.
You are probably aware of the beneficial bacteria in your gut, but your skin is also teeming with bacteria, including some that might help prevent infections. When you shower, you not only wash away dirt but you also disturb this microbial balance, such that daily showers might ultimately upset your health. So, it’s really in your best interest to work with your microbiome, rather than against it. The best way to do this when you shower is to only wash the areas that really need washing. In most cases, this would be your underarms, groin area and, possibly, your feet.
When you shower or bathe, make sure the water is warm but not hot, and try not to linger too long in the shower. As soon as you are done showering, slather on some coconut oil or body oil to seal in the moisture. Also, do not simply shower just because you think you should. On many occasions, you can simply use a washcloth for touch-ups, without using any soap. But do change your clothes and undergarments daily.
*1 : http://time.com/4259559/shower-soap-hygiene/
*2 : https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/03/07/daily-showering.aspx