It’s the age-old question that we never really can agree on: How often should you shower? Everyone wants to know the magic number when it comes to showering, but the actual answer depends on personal preference and need.
“The main reason that we shower is to wash away sweat and dead skin cells, remove dirt and debris, and prevent things like body odor,” Mary L. Stevenson, M.D., assistant professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology told SELF.
Our personal need to have a daily shower is based on your tendencies toward natural oils, sweating, dry skin and other skin conditions. So, naturally, the “right” showering frequency varies from person to person.
There is, however, a pretty clear dermatological consensus that showering or bathing every day isn’t necessary for most people. The idea of needing to shower every 24 hours to maintain good personal hygiene is more of a societal norm some people live by than a biological necessity. There are exceptions to this, of course. If you work out daily, live in an especially hot or humid area, work a job where you get dirty/sweaty, or are prone to body odour, you will want to shower every day to rinse away excess sweat and dirt and ensure your skin health.
If you’re not showering daily, you still need to be washing your face daily.
Just like with your hands, your daily skin care routine should differ from your shower regimen. Washing your face with a gentle cleanser at least once a day removes excess dirt and sweat.
You can actually shower too often.
If you’re prone to showering daily, you could actually be doing more harm than good. The biggest problem with too frequent showering is that it strips your skin of natural oils. Our skin is covered with a fine layer of oil called sebum, and this is meant to protect the skin and keep it moisturised. Frequent cleansing removes this oil and can often result in flaky skin, dry skin and itchy skin. It can also irritate sensitive skin and eczema. It’s also believed that teaching and getting children in the habit of showering as much as once a day is actually stunting young immune systems. Instead, allowing children to be exposed to an array of good bacteria while they’re young may help build a stronger immune system in the long run.
How to shower:
It may seem obvious, but there are some key ways to shower that will ensure your skin is healthy and hydrated.
Use warm, not hot water. Hot showers can strip the skin of natural oils. That being said, you don’t have to freeze yourself but a good indicator is if the steam around your bathroom is thicker than soup – you should turn your temperature down. Sticking to warm water is best.
Keep showers short. Standing under the shower head may be your favourite past time, but the longer you stand there the more natural oils are being washed away from your skin.
Switch to a gentle soap or body wash. Your cleanser, no matter what form its in, should leave your skin feeling good after you dry off.
Apply moisturiser after showering. Slather on a good moisturising body lotion over your entire body to help keep your skin moisturised and healthy. Fragrance-free products are best for extra sensitive skin types.
Don’t try to break a fever with a cold shower. If you’ve been hit by flu season its best not to take a cold shower to try and break the fever, but rather a lukewarm one.