For the majority of Americans, showering is a daily ritual. So much so that you’re sure to get the side eye if someone discovers you decided to skip bathing for a day. But according to one dermatologist, showering daily does more harm than good.
Two dermatologists tell Buzzfeed we’ve got the whole showering thing all wrong. Obsessively bathing is “really more of a cultural phenomenon,” says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, an assistant professor of dermatology in New York City.
“We overbathe in this country and that’s really important to realize,” echoed dermatologist Dr. Ranella Hirsch. “A lot of the reason we do it is because of societal norms.”
How often we’re conditioned to shower dates back to just after the Civil War when soap advertising became more prevalent in the United States. In the 1920s and 1930s, more women entered the American workforce and more workers left the farms to work in packed factories. These events led to a hyper cultural focus on cleanliness and bathing, Buzzfeed reports.
Dermatologists Zeichner and Hirsch tells Buzzfeed showering too often, especially in hot water, can “dry out and irritate skin, wash away the good bacteria that naturally exists on your skin, and introduce small cracks that put you at a higher risk of infection.”
Additionally, it’s recommended that parents not bathe babies and toddlers daily. Dr. Zeichner says that early exposure to dirt and bacteria may make the skin less sensitive as you age, and prevent allergies and conditions like eczema.
Of course your showering frequency may be influenced by how active you are. Those who workout or engage in arduous activity should instead, doctors say, clean the more gross parts of your body such as your genitals or armpits. Use a washcloth with soap or cleansing towelette to remove odor-causing bacteria on “non-shower” days. Other parts that would be considered your grossest parts are your face, under the breasts and your rear end.
You also put on clean underwear daily. We tend to shed more dirt and oil in our clothes than in the shower.
So for all you procrastinators out there, now you have an excuse to avoid a shower and not feel guilty. As for you obsessively compulsive bathers? It’s unlikely this news will influence your showering routine. Still, it’s good to know...right?
(Photo: Ruslan Dashinsky/GettyImages)