The alternative health movement has promoted the “no poo” method (washing your hair chemical free and shampoo free) for a while. Now mainstream journalists and even scientists are looking into extending this method for the whole body after discovering that cosmetic product like soap or shampoo have being taking away the “good bacteria” that live on the human body.
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Like many westerners you are probably showering at least once a day… but what if you’re showering too often and are actually hurting your body in the long run by doing so?
Even though daily showers are common due to societal norms, in terms of your health and according to science – but not how you look or smell, bathing once or twice a week should be sufficient. Dr. C. Brandon Mitchell, assistant professor of dermatology at George Washington University, says “Your body is naturally a well-oiled machine […] A daily shower isn’t necessary.”
“I tell patients who shower daily not to lather their whole bodies,” says Mitchell. “Hit your pits, butt and groin, which are the areas that produce strong-smelling secretions. The rest of your body doesn’t need much soaping”, he concludes.
Of course, depending on your daily physical activity these recommendations could vary. Filth-intensive jobs like car maintenance or construction will obviously produce a visible layer of grime that you’ll need to wash off every day. Likewise, if you work out every day but you might repel people around you if you don’t shower.
For the clean freak in you, who feels the need to take daily showers for aesthetic reasons, at least take most of them by taking light showers to avoid hurting your skin in the long run. Indeed, spending too much time under the hot water, scrubbing and lathering your skin, can cause cracks and dry it out. Eventually it can even lead to infections or germs getting into your skin, because harsh cleaning sessions can strips your skin of its natural oils that is meant to keep it healthy.
Watch this episode of “If Our Bodies Could Talk” where James Hamblin investigates the health of the microbes on our skin and some innovative bacterial sprays that could replace in the future traditional showers.