If you're showering every day (as many Australians do), you're probably over doing it. In fact, showering too often can actually hurt your body in the long run.
Photo by Geoffrey Fairchild.
As Time's public health column explains, daily showers are common due to societal norms more than any legitimate health need. We associate being freshly showered with being attractive and pleasing, so we tend towards showering often to feel better. However, for strictly hygienic reasons, showering as little as one or two times a week could be sufficient, depending on your lifestyle:
So what's the ideal shower frequency? In terms of your health -- not how you look or smell -- probably once or twice a week, [assistant professor of dermatology at George Washington University, Dr. C. Brandon Mitchell] says. "Your body is naturally a well-oiled machine," he says. "A daily shower isn't necessary."
Of course, your situation may vary. If you have a filth-intensive job like car maintenance or construction, you'll obviously have a visible layer of grime you'll need to wash off every single day. Similarly, if you work out every day, you may not have any health risks by washing every day, but you'll still stink. If you feel like you need to take daily showers for aesthetic reasons, at least make most of them light showers:
"I tell patients who shower daily not to lather their whole bodies," Mitchell says. 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 says.
Too much time spent under the hot water, lathering and scrubbing can dry out your skin, cause cracks that can lead to infections or germs getting into your skin, and strips your skin of its natural oils that help keep it healthy. So, even if you're aiming to be your most presentable, be sure to keep it moderate to avoid hurting your skin in the long run.