How Often Should You Shower for Optimal Health?

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Frequent showering may be doing you more harm than good. You have been socially accustomed to shower almost every day, but this may not be the best decision for your health, and even cleanliness. Science now says that you should shower less, so for those of you who don’t shower daily – rejoice! – your “stinky” habit now has research to back it up. So if not everyday, how often should you shower?

Showering makes you clean and thus more attractive, or so you’ve been taught. A global survey showed that Americans shower more often than the Chinese, Brits and Japanese and less often than Brazilians and Colombians, but still too much.

It is considered normal to shower daily, but it shouldn’t be. Showering too often, especially with hot water, can dry out and irritate the skin as well as rinse away good bacteria existing on the skin, which can increase your risk of infection. Babies and toddlers, especially, should not bathe everyday. Early exposure to dirt and bacteria helps children build more resilient skin that becomes less sensitive as they age, ultimately preventing allergies and conditions like eczema.

But even so, the ritual of a shower or bath is glorified. Imagine how many bathing products you have in your bathroom right now – a variety of soaps, exfoliants, shampoos, conditioners and shaving gels. Showering is a marketing success! Despite all the accouterments, you really don’t need a daily hose down.

How often should you shower?

The answer is every two to three days. Of course, this is a conditional recommendation. People who exercise, live in hot and sticky climates or work jobs that require they get their hands dirty can shower more often, but for the average person who simply showers because another day is spent, it is strongly advised he or she skip a day or two in between each washing.

If you are used to showering daily, try transitioning to showerless days by using a soapy washcloth to wipe various parts of your body that can build up bacteria, odor and oils. These areas include the face, underarms, breasts, genitals and buttocks.

Stay no-shower clean

A question then that is more pressing than “How often should you shower?” is “How do you stay hygienic on a daily basis?”, because the answer isn’t necessarily to bathe. Instead, it may just be a matter of putting on a fresh set of clothes each day. One study revealed that our bodies give off more dirt and oil in our clothes than in the shower. Pick up your laundry game!

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Photo Credit: Steven Depolo

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