How Often Do You Really Need to Shower?

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The answer, for most of us, is less often than we do now and using fewer cleansing products. Here's why.

I begin each day with a shower. It’s probably more of a habit than anything else, but I like to wake up and shower first thing in the morning.

My cosmetologist told me several years back that I should stop showering every day, or at least I should quit washing my hair every day, because it wreaks havoc on both the health of my hair and the color processing I have done on my hair.

I also struggle with abnormally dry skin and I occasionally have keratosis pilaris, otherwise known as “chicken skin,” on the backs of my upper arms. My doctor told me that showering daily was exacerbating my skin problems. He also told me to quit using shower gel and a loofah to scrub all of my skin. Instead, he recommended that I only use soap in my armpits, groin and buttocks area — that’s it.

Although I continue to shower each day (sorry, doc), I have cut down on my use of soap and it really has helped keep my skin from drying out, though I still use lotion. It’s also cut down on my shower time and water usage.

This begs the question: How often should we be showering? Daily? Every other day?

There seems to be no hard and fast answer.

“Depending on your activity level, you may need to shower daily, for instance if you have a labor-intensive job or if you exercise for over an hour every day,” dermatologist David E. Bank, director of the Center for Dermatology in Mount Kisco, New York, told Glamour.

Bank says showering every other day or three times a week is plenty for most people to stay clean.

“By showering every other day you are able to help maintain your skin’s natural oils and make the skin softer and less irritated by hot showers,” he says, adding that the oils in your skin can help protect it against harmful bacteria.

Author Robert Brumm wrote last year in this blog post that although he hops in the shower daily, he has completely stopped using soap and shampoo. Instead, Brumm cleans his hair and body by using “hot water, a wash cloth, and good ol’ friction.”

If you think that sounds a little weird or gross, Brumm says based on his experience you couldn’t be more wrong.

After six months of no shampoo, my hair is completely soft, manageable, and the healthiest it’s felt and looked. Ever. Same goes for my skin. … Cleansers strip the moisture from your body and leave you feeling dry and itchy. To combat this, you load up on moisturizing this and conditioning that to replace what mother nature would provide if you just gave her a chance!

I am definitely not ready — nor will I ever be — to give up soap and shampoo. But maybe I can skip daily hair washing and shorten my showers even further.

Baby steps.

How often do you bathe? Do you use soap products? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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