How often do you shower? Is it a part of your morning routine, as important as your coffee in waking you up or do you put it off as long as you can? Daily showers are the norm for many of us, especially if we work out at the gym or play a sport or dance, but you might be surprised to learn that a group of dermatologists are now warning about the dangers of daily showers.
How can keeping yourself fresh and squeaky clean be a bad thing? Well apparently Dr. Joshua Zeichner, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and Boston dermatologist Dr. Ranella Hirsch told BuzzFeed that by bathing daily we are drying out our skin and washing away the good bacteria that live there. Small cracks will begin to open in the skin leading to an increase chance of infection. Only showering every two to three days is what is recommended. The two doctors say this goes even for babies and toddlers. Early exposure to dirt and bacteria is actually useful in preventing allergies and eczema.
Before you start worrying about the stink factor, dermatologists recommend that you clean "the grossest parts of your body" with a washcloth every day and after a heavy workout. Also make sure you wear clean undergarments each day because a study has shown that we shed a lot of oil and dirt in our clothes.
Have we always been this clean obsessed in this country? Dr. Zeichner told BuzzFeed that our obsession with daily showers and fears over body odor is more of a cultural thing. Dr. Hirsch also said, "We overbathe in this country and that's really important to realize," she says. "A lot of the reason we do it is because of societal norms."
Katherine Ashenburg, author of The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History, believes that these norms date back to just after the Civil War when soap for the body started to be advertised. Then in the 1920s and '30s when more men and women were working together in close quarters in factories and businesses, books that focused on the link between success and attractiveness like Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People became popular.
While how we look has always been important in our society, maybe our skin will maintain its healthy sheen more if we scour it less. So, tomorrow, instead of jumping in the shower when your alarm goes off, catch some extra zzz's which by the way is also good for your health.