How Often Should You Shower?

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How Often Do You REALLY Need To Shower?

It's become a sort of socially acceptable thing encouraged mainly by some very slick advertising that to be clean you need to shower at least once a day every day. The more you shower, the cleaner you are. Some people will shower as much as two to three times a day!  However, if you doubt the following information, go on line the internet has heaps of similar information.

Lathering up with a healthy dose of soap and washing it off with a nice stream of hot water should kill any germs on your skin, right?  Wrong! Studies by medical researchers have shown quite the opposite.

Using plain old soap (as opposed to antimicrobial or antibacterial soap) doesn't kill skin-borne bacteria; instead it actually disturbs micro colonies of skin flora and fauna, transferring them to the surrounding environment - like your shower, for instance. For this reason, surgical teams and patients are generally restricted from showering immediately before entering an operating room.

Nevertheless, showering regularly is recommended for good personal hygiene, daily if you live in a hot climate, regularly visit the gym, have a dirty job, or work in an environment where you are in contact with the sick and so on. If you don’t work, or play in such an environment then showering too much can have a potentially damaging effect on your skin, and here’s why.

The outermost layer of your skin's surface (called the stratum conium, Latin for ‘horny layer’) is the outermost layer of the epidermis or skin, consisting of dead cells. This layer is composed of 15-20 layers of flattened cells with no nuclei and cell organelles. The purpose of the stratum corneum is to form a barrier to protect underlying tissue from infection and dehydration, chemicals and mechanical stress. These skin cells offer protection for the underlying layers of living, healthy cells. The stratum conium is more than just dead skin cells; it's held together by lipids, which are fatty compounds that actually help maintain moisture in your skin.

Every time you take a shower - especially a hot one - with soap and a scrubbing device like a washcloth or a loofah, you're undermining the integrity of your skin's outermost layer. The soap and the hot water dissolve the lipids in the skin and scrubbing hastens the process.

The more showers you take, the more frequently this damage takes place and the less time your skin has to repair itself through natural oil production which generally results in dry, irritated and cracked skin.  

 Another problem relating to showering too often is the use of a towel to dry off. While rubbing yourself dry with a towel is common practice, it's also damaging your skin. Air drying is the optimal way to dry off following a shower, but if you don't have time to wait for evaporation, or can’t bring yourself to go naked, tracking water throughout the house, you can still use a towel, just make sure it's soft and pat yourself dry.

The chemistry of each person's skin is different, so showering every day may not be as damaging to some people as it would be to others. Still, it is recommended that in order to protect your skin, showering every other day is preferable for the health of your skin, with a daily wash of the important places such as under arms and the genital area.

“It’s worth remembering that most of the body is covered in clothing for most of the time, so there's not a lot of direct contact with the environment,” Dr. Jain said. "We wash our hands more frequently than the body because of the regular contact we have with food, keyboards, and so many other surfaces with bacteria and viruses on them."

“Historically,” he said, “people took baths with only water, and that worked just fine.  "Water is your basic foundation for cleanliness."  Dr. Jain also mentioned that when it comes to the notion that we need to use soap and shampoo in showers or baths every day, consider who is delivering the message. "If you wash your hair every day and shower every day, you'll use up that bottle of shampoo or soap much more quickly," he said.

Protect your skin by using quality soaps with warm instead of hot water. To finish, apply a moisturiser after each shower. We all love feeling clean, but we also have to strike a balance between clean skin and healthy skin.
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