How often should you shower?

As a society are we over-showering? Are there a "correct" number of showers we should be having each week?


Believe it or not, there are conflicting views as to how many times a week we should shower.

Depending on your hair and skin type, you may be told that showering every day could be better for your skin. Or, in fact, worse for your skin if it's particularly sensitive. Likewise, the same might go for your age and overall health.

Over-showering can cause adverse effects to hair such as split-ends, while excessive use of product could result in product build-up if it isn't washed out properly. It's also claimed that frequent washing can subtly damage your skin by drying it out and washing away natural oils that your body requires to fight off external bacteria.

A survey in 2015 revealed that four out of five women don't shower every day, while a third said they could go three days without washing. A further study conducted by researchers at the universities of Manchester, Edinburgh, Lancaster and Southampton showed that approximately 75% of respondents had at least one shower or bath a day.

How often should you shower? image 1 - A survey in 2015 revealed that four out of five women don't shower every day.
A survey in 2015 revealed that four out of five women don't shower every day.

But are we over-showering? And is there a "correct" number of showers or baths we should be having a week?

Unsurprisingly as with lots of things in life, there isn't an exact answer. According to Professor Stephen Shumack, President of the Australasian College of Dermatologists, you should only shower when you need to.

Speaking to the Sunday Morning Herald, he said: "It's only in the last 50 to 60 years [since the advent of bathrooms with showers] that the idea of a daily shower has become commonplace. The pressure to do that is actually social pressure rather than actual need. It's become popular because of the social need to smell good. But it's only the glands in your armpit and groin that produce body odour. They're not all over the body."

Shumack also warned that a hot daily shower could do more damage than good, adding: "Overwashing causes 'defatting' of the skin - getting rid of the natural body oils we produce to protect skin cells. This can cause actual damage, making them more permeable to bacteria or viruses, precipitating itchy skin, dryness, flakiness, and worsening conditions like eczema."

Another professor argues that as long as you're focusing on the "right areas", you shouldn't need to shower too often. John Oxford, Professor of Virology at Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, told the Daily Mail: "As long as people wash their hands often enough and pay attention to the area of the body below the belt, showering or bathing every other day would do no harm."

But of course, many people would be horrified not to shower everyday, as we are brought up to wash often as part of modern society.

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