Showering is one of our basic necessities. It ensures the mechanical removal of various bacteria that live on the skin. That being said, not every shower you take cleanses your skin as much as you might think. The cleaning products you use make a great deal of difference, and those with antimicrobial properties remove more bacteria. Regular soaps and body lotions, on the other hand, have less of an impact on hygiene.
But the real question is how often should you shower? Numerous studies have been conducted to find out the answer. However, there’s no number that works for everyone, as not everyone has the same needs. In other words, some people might not need to shower as often as others.
People Who Benefit from Showering Often
Most people simply shower to avoid smelling. Body odor can be extremely unpleasant and embarrassing. Even sleeping in a room that’s too hot can cause you to sweat enough to develop a bad odor. But for those who lead busy, active lives, it can be an even bigger issue.
Hence, many people shower early in the morning. Showering after workouts, runs, after playing various sports, or after commuting with public transportation, is also not uncommon. While washing your hands might be sufficient in some cases, a shower gives you a much more thorough cleaning.
People who lead a more sedentary life and live in relatively cleaner environments may not need to turn on the hot water on a daily basis.
When Is Clean Too Clean?
You’ve probably heard that taking a shower helps keep your skin moist, clean, and healthy, and that is true to some degree. But there is such a thing as being too clean, or taking your hygiene too far. Showering too often and for too long can cause some of the following conditions:
- Brittle hair
- Flaky skin
- Eczema and Psoriasis flare-ups
- Lower numbers of good bacteria
- Fewer natural oils on the surface of the skin
The human body has good bacteria both on the inside and on the outside. Some good bacteria are found on the skin. There, they form a barrier against certain infections. Extensive showering doesn’t just shed dead skin cells and some microbes, but also good bacteria.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that not all people shower the same way, and some people get overzealous with their routine. You don’t always have to scrub hard and shower in hot water, or use large amounts of soap and other cleaning solutions. The skin is a sensitive organ, so don’t be too rough with it.
Most Inmates Shower Three Times a Week
You may have heard this before, but not every prisoner gets to shower daily. That being said, prisons are obligated by various laws to ensure minimum hygienic conditions for their prisons.
So in most states, all inmates (including those in solitary confinement) get three showers per week. That’s because this is believed to be the safe minimum number of showers needed to maintain good hygiene in humans.
Some dermatologists and healthcare professionals agree that showering every other day should be enough.
Showering Too Often vs. Not Enough
All things considered, it should go without saying that it’s better to overdo it than not to shower enough. While showering too often may reduce the number of good bacteria and eventually lead to drier skin, the alternative is much more unpleasant.
Not showering often enough may have some negative effects that will be felt quickly. Sweat buildup can be quite dangerous, as it can irritate the skin to such a degree that it leaves it defenseless in the face of bacterial and fungal infections.
Showering Every Other Day
If you do decide to take the fewer weekly showers approach, it doesn’t mean that you should forget about proper hygiene. There are certain areas on your body that you should wash on a daily basis.
Even if you don’t take a full shower, always make sure to wash your hands, face, armpits, feet, and groin area daily. Those areas are more prone towards developing unpleasant odors, causing the ingestion of microbes and bacteria, and developing rashes or infections if treated poorly.
Good Skin Hygiene Practices
Asking yourself how often should you shower is not enough to maintain a healthy skin. Developing good skin hygiene practices is just as important as following an appropriate showering frequency for your body type and lifestyle.
Here are some tips you should keep in mind:
- Shower with warm water instead of hot water
- Don’t spend more than 10 minutes in the shower
- Don’t wash your hair every day
- Use gentle soaps, lotions, and sponges
- Spend more time rinsing off products
- Avoid cleaning agents with too many fragrances and deodorants
- Moisturize after taking a shower
- Blot the skin instead of rubbing it with the towel
- Allow the skin to mostly air-dry when possible
Other Benefits that Come from Showering Less Often
This may not be health-related but it is worth mentioning nonetheless. Showering less often, like every other day or once a day instead of multiple times per day, can save you quite a bit of money in the long run.
You’ll be wasting less water, using fewer products, and you’ll even reduce the risk of having to buy medication for dry skin, skin rashes, irritations, and other conditions.
Showering less often may also help you develop better skin hygiene practices. You might be more mindful of the do’s and don’ts regarding products, water temperature, water consumption, and so on.
It’s Still Subjective
At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong answer here that will satisfy every individual. That’s just how it is, and not just with hygiene. Humans are unique beings, each one having their own particular needs.
Showering is a must for everyone. However, the frequency at which you should do it needs to be determined based on the many factors mentioned in this article.