Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis recently shared their dirty little secret: They don’t bathe their kids every day, and limit soap for themselves from head to toe. So, only the armpits and the crotch then? Yikes!
While this might be a headline-grabbing admission, could they be onto something?
For most of us taking a daily shower is as common as drinking a cup of morning coffee and brushing our teeth. In fact, when we delve into the soapy - or not so soapy – infographics of the world, South Africans, on average, shower 7 times per week.
However, is taking a daily shower - or two - really that necessary? According to dermatologists washing and scrubbing removes the skin’s natural oils and healthy bacteria, leaving it dry, irritated and itchy. Too much showering can break down the skin’s natural protective barrier – making it vulnerable to bacterial and viral invasion.
Also, some doctors agree that the human immune system needs a certain amount of exposure to micro-organisms and dirt to create protective antibodies, and that frequent showers over time could be contributing to allergies, autoimmune diseases and even diabetes. Some suggest that bathing once or twice a week, rather than daily, is plenty.
HOWEVER, just as you can shower too much, you can also shower too little. Although fewer showers may improve skin health, you should still keep personal hygiene in mind.
A skipped shower here or there probably won’t trigger body odor, especially if you haven’t been exercising. But, off course, the risk of body odor isn’t the only reason to shower regularly. Poor hygiene or infrequent showers can cause a buildup of dead skin cells, dirt, and sweat on your skin. This could trigger acne, and exacerbate conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema.
Showering too little can also trigger an imbalance of good and bad bacteria on your skin. Too much bad bacteria on your skin could put you at risk for skin infections. This may lead to dermatitis neglecta, where patches of plaque develop on the skin due to inadequate cleansing.
So, is the idea of needing to shower every 24 hours to maintain personal hygiene more of a societal norm than a biological imperative? Are many of us showering more than we should? The answer: It depends.
Doctors agree that if you have a labor-intensive job, live in a hot-humid climate, or exercise – basically anything that makes you sweat – then yes, off course daily showering is recommended.
We do however have a few tips for healthy showering:
The takeaway? There are no hard and fast rules here. It’s up to you to determine the sweet spot that will keep you clean without irritating your skin.
Source: treehugger.com, insider.com, healthline.com, considerable.com, womanshealthmag.com, menshealth.com, self.com soakology.co.uk
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.