Is showering everyday detrimental to Health?

In the winter season, it is a struggle to go to shower…especially with cold water! My mom always used to chase us in the winter to send us to take a bath when we were little, because she thinks personal hygiene should be one’s topmost priority. I do not disagree with that, but even though it may sound counterproductive, a shower every day could be detrimental for our Health, in particular for our skin. Many dermatologists nowadays recommend a shower every other day, or two to three times a week.

Showering daily is mostly a personal preference since most people like to be neat and clean. (Showering ‘regularly’ has many benefits, such as increasing blood flow, easing muscle aches, improving concentration, reducing fatigue, etc.) But sometimes we do it just for the sake of “social standards of cleanliness”! For solely maintaining cleanliness, everyday bathing might not be necessary unless someone has a particular skin disease like seborrheic dermatitis (a type of fungal disease of the skin, causes scaly patches, red skin and stubborn dandruff.).

When we take a shower, the running water cleans the skin and removes dead skin cells, thus it helps clear the pores and allow the skin cells to function. This is the concept of cleanliness: to wash away bacteria and other irritants that could cause rashes and other skin problems. But at the same time, washing our skin excessively can remove its natural oils and cause dryness. From staying a long time in the water, some may feel skin inflammation or eczema (when skin feels itchy and may crack, flake, and become red). Besides, “our immune systems need a certain amount of stimulation by normal microorganisms, dirt, and other environmental exposures in order to create protective antibodies and “immune memory”.”1. Excessive bathing might disrupt the population of bacteria, which could support this immune memory. It can wash away the “good” bacteria from our skin, putting us at risk for infections too. ( I recommend my family to use non-fragrant, or organic soaps instead of chemicals-based ones, and to spend not more than 5–10 minutes in water.)

For some people, with a skin condition like psoriasis, more than one shower per day might even trigger a flare-up. And when someone showers each day, typically, he washes the hair first, which can cause the hair to become dry and brittle if not properly moisturized. Shampooing every day can reduce the cuticle oil, which leaves the scalp dry and dandruff pronely.

So, next time your mom, roommate, or your partner is nagging you for an everyday shower routine, keep clean, keep odor-free, (please!), but explain to them, we may not need a shower every day in the chilled winter morning. And while taking a shower, try to use lotions oil after showering to protect the moisturizer of your skin, and add conditioner after shampooing for healthy and moisturized hair.

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1. Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A Physician/Dr. who practices medicine & a Public Health enthusiast who relies upon and strives in health equity