Could a daily shower actually be bad for you?

If you’re in the habit of showering every day, your bathing ritual could be bad for your skin and your health, new research suggests...

Our report that Britons go up to three months a year without a proper wash had many of you reaching for the air freshener, but it turns out that skipping showers might actually be the best thing you can do for your body.

New research suggests that showering regularly – especially in hot water – might be doing your skin more harm than good.

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Dermatologists Dr Joshua Zeichner and Dr Ranella Hirsch claim that the notion that we need to shower daily was born more of cultural norms rather than any real health benefits.

“We overbathe in this country and that’s really important to realise,” Boston-based Dr Hirsch told Buzzfeed of typical US behaviour.

“A lot of the reason we do it is because of societal norms.”

 

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Dr Zeichner added that what we perceive to be body odour is, in reality, nothing more than a “cultural phenomenon”.

Both doctors said that over-bathing can dry out and irritate skin, washing away the good bacteria and even heightening risk of infection by causing small cracks in the skin.

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Dr Zeichner also urged parents to stop bathing babies and toddlers daily, saying that early exposure to dirt and bacteria may help make skin less sensitive, even preventing conditions like eczema in the long run.

So, how often should we be lathering up?

John Oxford, Professor of Virology at Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, told The Times: "As long as people wash their hands often enough and pay attention to the area of the body below the belt, showering or bathing every other day would do no harm.

"Even twice a week would not be a problem if people used a bidet daily as most infectious bugs hang around our lower halves.

"We pay too much attention to the body beautiful and smelling good, with perfumes for men and women," he added.

"We should wash to stop cross-infection, not for grooming reasons."

Obviously, the every-other-day rule is flexible depending on your lifestyle – nobody is suggesting you dodge the shower after a heavy gym session – but, generally speaking, it seems we’re bathing a lot more than we need to.

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