Contrary to belief, it isn’t uncommon to skip a shower here and there. Especially if it was during these last seven months of being stuck at home because of the RONA!
According to Unilever, a consumer goods group, recent data shows that people are actually spending far less on personal care products as of April due to being subject to work from home or just stuck at home.
While some people may toot their nose up at the idea, experts such as Esteban Kosak, MD, a medical advisor for Symptoms Care, say it may actually be healthier for you to skip a shower or two throughout the week. He also states that while showering can offer “physical, mental, and emotional benefits,” a daily shower may be more than you need unless you are noticeably grimy, sweaty, and/or funky!
To get more details and find out which body part you should never wash, check out The Body Part You Should Never Clean, According to Doctors.
“In many parts of the world, taking a shower every day tends to be the norm,” Kosak notes. “However, from a strictly medical perspective, it is not necessary for most people to shower this frequently.”
Ultimately, it really depends on your every day life how often you should shower, especially amid the pandemic.
“Depending on your occupation, it is fine to not shower daily,” says family and emergency doctor Janette Nesheiwat, MD. “If you are a doctor, paramedic, healthcare worker, construction worker, athlete, or even a plumber, then you should shower daily, as you are in closer contact with bacteria, viruses, and fungi.”
Kosak says that besides those with certain occupations, you should also shower every day if you regularly exercise, as sweat on the skin can cause bacteria to increase rapidly. And if you don’t shower often enough, Nesheiwat explains that dead skin cells can build up and cause irritation or breakouts that can lead to rashes or infection.
According to Sandy Skotnicki, MD, however, a dermatologist and author of Beyond Soap, showering doesn’t remove many germs from your skin. What it does remove is “the skin’s natural lipids which impedes the skin’s barrier function, and in turn, can create a vicious cycle that sees soap causing more damage, stripping out even more lipids from the epidermis, and worsening the chapping caused by over-frequent and overlong showers.”
Skotnicki says you really only need to wash three parts of your body with soap regularly: your armpits, groin, and feet. These spots are home to some of the most sensitive skin on your body and are more prone to harboring fungus growth, ingrown hairs, bad bacteria, and potentially harmful infections.
Still not convinced? Continue learning more from Harvard University’s very own health expert Robert H. Shmerling, MD, at Harvard Health Publishing Blog.