Experts say that you may actually be doing more harm than good
By Nadine Halili | Photo by John Fornander/Unsplash
As we’re often faced with the summer-like weather of the Philippines all year round (except maybe during monsoon or Christmas season), we always think of different ways to cool down. Prior to the community quarantines imposed, many flock to the beach or fly to countries with cooler climates. Since this isn’t possible these days amid COVID-19, many have resorted to showering often to keep cool. And with people staying at or working from home, you might wonder why you should shower if you’re not leaving the house anyway?
But, how often should you really shower? Robert M. Shmerling, M.D., from Harvard Health Publishing says that showering daily is a common habit among Americans and Australians (and Filipinos, too) but is not the healthiest practice for your skin. He acknowledges the differences in habits and societal norms when it comes to bathing and showering as not all cultures shower once a day. In his article, he details the negative impact of taking a bath or shower daily:
- Your skin may become dry, irritated, and itchy
- Skin infections and allergies may occur due to bacteria and allergens entering the skin due to dryness
- Antibacterial soaps kill off the “good” bacteria your body needs. This also goes for oils, perfumes, and additives in shampoos, conditioners, and soaps
- Daily baths may have an impact on your immune system. Our bodies need a certain amount of exposure from microorganisms and environmental elements for it to produce antibodies and instigate “immune memory” for protection.
Showering less is not an easy habit to start for everyone. As Filipinos, we’re used to showering at least twice a day. Other people use it as a way to wake up or freshen up, which is understandable given our climate. Whether you shower daily or less frequently, listen to what your skin needs to make the best decision. Here, some dermatologists and experts explain how often you should take a bath depending on your habits and the condition of your skin:
- Shower daily if you live in a humid area and have normal to oily skin or if you work out frequently. You’ll need to shower more to reduce the risks of fungal infections, body odors, and acne.
- If you have dry skin and live in a place where the air is dry and cold, shower every other day. Frequent bathing in these climates may cause irritation to your skin due to lack of moisture stripped by soap and water.
- As for hair care, it’s not advisable to shampoo daily unless your scalp requires medical shampoo. Overwashing your hair causes an imbalance in the natural oils needed for shine and volume. The scalp may overproduce these oils, causing an oily scalp, or produce less that may cause dry hair.
Overall, bathing daily isn’t a public health issue. It’s still advisable to shower regularly to reduce body odor and to practice basic hygiene. Especially now with the threat of COVID-19 going around, we are all advised to keep clean and wash our hands all the time. There hasn’t been a proven ideal frequency for showering habits. However, showering several times a week and taking short showers focusing on specific areas of our body may be enough.