You Probably Don’t Need To Shower As Often As You Think

You Probably Don’t Need To Shower As Often As You Think

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.

You Asked: How Often Should I Shower? [Time]


  • I wish ‘scientists’ would stop spreading this crap. If you’re not washing yourself every day you DO stink to other people, stop deluding yourself

    • The article stated multiple times this was not to do with you not smelling. So there is no delusion, the article was about natural hygiene.

      • Yup. The article said to just soap up the smelly regions rather than lather your whole body.

  • There are a lot of people who stink even with a daily shower, at the very least we need a good overall smell killer that doesn’t fill your pores with aluminium. Teenagers in particular, have overactive glands that secrete pheromones at a massive rate.

  • Where does this doctor come from? Poland? Somewhere people don’t sweat?

    This is Australia.

  • Sweat shouldn’t actually smell. If it does it can be attributed either to a bad diet or improper cleaning leaving bacteria to grow. If your armpits consistently smell consider a shaving of your armpits as the odours do reside there and are amplified with sweat (again bacteria)
    If you find the need for a thorough scrubbing every day. I would review your cleaning techniques, products used. Importantly your diet. And as a further resort a dermatologist.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!