There are a million products out there which claim to be great for skin and will even improve it, what if there’s a simpler way? In a new book, Clean: The New Science of Skin, the easiest and best solution for improving you skin is to stop over cleaning it with too much soap. In North America it’s common to shower everyday, which leads to water wastage and to poor skin health; whereas, in other cultures it’s more common to shower every 2-3 days. Once you stop showering everyday your skin will thank you and so will the planet.
Of course, you should keep washing your hands!
But what soap hoarders and hawkers overlook is that wiping out our symbiotic microbes may make us more vulnerable to other, unexpected maladies. First-line eczema treatments, for instance, include topical antibiotics, cleansers, and drugs that dampen immune response, but some researchers say these approaches can make the condition worse in the long run. “Perturbing the skin barrier by washing or scratching can change the microbial population,” Hamblin notes. “That can rev up the immune system, which tells the skin cells to proliferate rapidly and fill with inflammatory proteins.”
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.
Showering is something that a lot of North Americans do everyday: and if you’re one of them then you should stop. Showering daily can actually do more harm to your health than good. So relax about your daily urge to cleanse and just roll with your micro biome!
As we learn more about the relationship between the microbiome and our health, some scientists and journalists have begun weaning themselves from cosmetic products like soap and shampoo. In taking away the bad bacteria, we could be losing too much of the good.
In this episode of If Our Bodies Could Talk—the final in a three-part miniseries on the microbiome—senior editor James Hamblin investigates the health of the microbes on our 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.