Here’s some good news for lazy people (really for everyone): you don’t need to shower everyday and you don’t even need to use soap. After years of propaganda from the “skin care” industry people are starting to stop following the instruction of lather, wash, repeat. The benefits of not showering include using less water and letting your skin take care of itself. Not using soap can save water and it also consumes fewer resources since you’re not using detergents. Obviously, if you get really dirty then you’re going to want to use soap on those areas.
There’s nothing wrong with just rinsing,” says Sandy Skotnicki, a Toronto-based dermatologist and the author of the 2018 book Beyond Soap. “I’ve talked to people who haven’t used any kind of detergent in years and they’re perfectly fine.” She says that, since 1950, we have gone from bathing once a week to every day. “Has that changed our skin microbiome? I think the answer is yes. And has that caused a rise in inflammatory skin diseases? I think the answer is yes, but we don’t know.”
For Whitlock, a former chemical engineer based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, not washing has been a serious science experiment, the success of which has led him to become a trailblazer in a skincare revolution in soap-free, microbiome-friendly and probiotic products. His inspiration came from researching why horses roll in dirt. His conclusion? To top up their ammonia-metabilising bacteria, making the skin less susceptible to infection.
Every year it seems showering is brought up on this site and the theme is always the same: shower less. Indeed, back in 2006 we looked at a device called an air shower and in 2012 it was a shower that recycles water (cleanly). This year the people over at Recommend Things recommend that we shower less too, they even put together that handy infographic at the top of the post.
Go ahead and try not showering everyday – your skin and the planet will thank you!
- The first and important reason as to why showering daily is not good is that it would make your hair dry. Showing daily would erase of necessary oils and sebum released from the scalp and skin and would make them ultra-dry. Hence avoid frequent showers.
- You may even rip off your nails and make them dry too by taking frequent showers. The keratin protein present in the nails and hairs tends to get eliminated slowly if they are projected to prolonged contact with water.
- The third reason can be termed under a social cause but showering daily and that too unnecessarily wastes water up to 30-40% and hence for or preventing useless water loss, you should not shower daily.
- Next reason not to shower daily is that it washes away the good bacteria present on your body that is helpful in combating the harmful bacteria. This good bacteria is actually a shield for your body which gets eroded by the frequent
- A possible reason to shower daily can be that you must not be that dirty as you think. If you don’t sweat excessively then you really don’t need daily showering because your body care products are wise enough to do so.
- You are even drying your skin by taking shower daily. This may cause excessive dehydration and finally result in chipping off dead skin.
In the developed world people tend to use more water than they should, in fact water consumption in many nations have done irreparable damage. Canadians are really bad at water conservation and we have a lot to learn from other places in how we regulate our water usage. Governments can only do so much with policy to curb industrial and individual usage. There is something you can do everyday to help lower your impact on the ecosystem: shower less.
Yes, you should spend less time cleaning yourself. Showering everyday isn’t good for your skin and it’s really really really (like really) bad for the environment. Even cutting out one shower a week can save you time, money, and your local ecosystem.
The daily bath or shower, then, is terrible for the environment and our bank balances. That’s one reason I have reverted to a weekly shower, with a daily sink-wash that includes my underarms and privates. But there are health consequences too. I first became aware of these when I was a touring ballet dancer and met a friend whose skin had been severely damaged by excessive use of soap products. He was condemned to treat himself with medical creams for the rest of his life. According to dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, parents should stop bathing babies and toddlers daily because early exposure to dirt and bacteria may help make skin less sensitive, even preventing conditions like eczema in the long run. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends three times a week or less as toddlers’ skin is more sensitive; and as the elderly have drier skin, they should not be frequently washing all of their bodies with soap.
We are obsessed with cleanliness in he developed world and it is likely killing us. The over use of cleaners in the built environment and the use of biochemical cleansers (like antibiotics) are weakening out immune system. They may also be negatively impacting our mental health as well. So relax with all that germaphobic behaviour.
Just chill. Killing microbes just because they microbes is not a nouns strategy for survival. We need exposure to all those tiny things to improve our health and out well being.
The overall message, then, is not that we should return to living in squalor as to try to embrace good bacteria; we need to be just as vigilant without our homes to keep them free from germs. Instead, Ilkka Hanski, a biologist at the University of Helsinki in Finland, says, it’s important to get out of the house and spend time in woodlands and forests. “Let your children play in places where they have contact with soil and vegetation, which are rich in beneficial microbes,” he says. “If you have a house, don’t maintain a lawn, let native plants take over and grow taller. Cut them once or twice a year.”
Hygiene is harming us. The overuse of antibacterial everything and the kill-all solution of antibiotics seems to be doing harm to us. Don’t get me wrong – we need antibiotics and antibacterial solutions. The thing is that we’ve used them too much.
The good news is you don’t have to be so worried about over-cleaning everything. People, kids in particular, need to have some dirt, germs, and grime around them so their immune system develops.
Most recently, it’s been discover that exposure to certain bacteria can hold back asthma.
To check if the missing bacteria are protective, the researchers inoculated germ-free mice with the FLVR bacteria and found airway inflammation improved in adult offspring of the mice compared with those without the FLVR bacteria.
The findings support the “hygiene hypothesis” of how sterilizing everything may come with a health cost in the long term.
“Maybe we’ve actually cleaned up things too much in our quest to get rid of all these infectious diseases,” Finlay said. “I really do think we have to retool how we behave.”