We’ve pretty much been programmed since birth to shower or bathe on a daily basis, but should we really be cleaning ourselves that often? Beauty and health industries spend billions per year trying to sell us products we think we need to stay hygienic and clean, and unfortunately, a lot of their marketing techniques have been successful thus far.
We’ve been fooled into thinking that washing ourselves daily will make us cleaner, healthier, and more desirable and appealing to others, but showering or bathing each day can actually harm our skin and overall health.
While showers can help you to relax after a long day or feel fresh and clean after an intense gym session, you really don’t need more than one or two showers per week, with maybe a quick sink-wash daily just to freshen up.
Are you shocked? Read on to find out exactly why taking daily showers isn’t the best idea, according to science.
According to dermatologist Dr. Ranella Hirsch in an article for Essence, showering every day does NOT do a body good. Not only do showers use an enormous amount of clean water, they also strip the skin of healthy bacteria, dry out the skin, nails and hair, and weaken your immune system.
“We over-bathe in this country,” says Hirsch. “That’s really important to realize. A lot of the reasons we do it is because of societal norms.”
1. YOU’RE NOT AS DIRTY AS YOU THINK
If you don’t work out every day or have a physically demanding job where you sweat for hours on end, then you definitely don’t need a daily bath or shower. According to Dr. Casey Carlos, assistant professor of medicine in the division of dermatology at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, in an article on today.com, many soaps dry out the skin because they strip valuable oils from it. Plus, most people use soap where they don’t really need it. Carlos says that the skin actually does a great job at cleaning itself, which means we definitely don’t need to wash up as much as we thought.
If you think about it, back when we lived in nature, we really just washed off in a river or creek, without using any soaps or harsh cleaners. So, why do we think our bodies need these products today?
2. IT WASHES AWAY GOOD BACTERIA
In an interview with BuzzFeed, two dermatologists revealed that washing your skin every day literally washes away good bacteria essential to our health. Plus, frequent showers can create small cracks in the skin, opening up your body to infection (especially with lower amounts of that good bacteria we all need).
3. YOU’RE DRYING OUT YOUR HAIR
Just like the skin, washing your hair every day will strip it of naturally occurring oils, which gives it a dry, damaged, frizzy look. According to Andrea L. Hayden, Director of the International Association of Trichologists, you shouldn’t wash your hair more than one or two times per week (and this includes just getting it wet). Even if you don’t wash it every day, though, you can still condition your hair on the days you don’t wash in order to lock in moisture.
4. YOU’RE DRYING OUT YOUR SKIN
Taking frequent hot showers can dry out the skin, leading it to peel or flake. If you haven’t caught on yet, washing our bodies so often, no matter what part of it, leeches moisture and oils from the skin which dries it out. WebMD recommends taking no longer than 10 minute showers if you do shower each day, and to put the water on cold so you don’t dry your skin out.
5. YOU WILL RUIN YOUR NAILS
Hot water results in your nails expanding, which can make them chip and crack. Once again, the nails will lose moisture and oils, which means dry, flaky nails galore.
6. YOU’RE WASTING WATER
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average family of four uses about 400 gallons of water per day! If everyone in the family showers every single day, a lot of that water usage goes toward showers, since a 10 minute shower uses a whopping 60 liters of water. You might think taking a bath will conserve more water since you don’t have it constantly running, but baths use almost three times more water than showers, according to Stanford University.