shower time

When I was young, my mother went to the beauty salon to get a wash and set every week.  In between salon visits, my mother did not wash her hair.  These days, Americans seem to be almost obsessed with being clean, showering one or more times per day and washing their hair daily or almost daily.  To be sure, there are circumstances when washing daily is warranted.  If you have a job that is dirty or causes you to be exposed to toxins or disease, or if you are intensely physically active on a daily basis, you probably need to shower daily.

For many of us, particularly in Colorado where the arid climate dries us out a bit more, showering less frequently is probably a good idea. This may sound unappealing, but let me remind you that it is a late 20th century phenomenon to shower daily.  It has only been in the modern industrial era that Americans have taken up daily bathing rituals, mostly for aesthetic reasons. Let’s look at what science says about how frequently we should bathe for good health.

Experts tend to agree that most people should avoid showering too frequently and in fact, if they reduce the frequency it can be an incredibly healthy decision for their skin. In most cases you only need to shower twice out of each three days and some people can do so just every other day. By showering less often, your skin is better able to maintain its balance, making it radiant and healthy.  Aesthetics aside, here are some great reasons to shower less often.

Make the skin softer

Your skin receives its hydration by attracting moisture that is in the air and getting hydration from the beneficial oils and water found within your body. The dryer the air outside, the dryer your skin will be. Showering less often is also a good idea because when you use hot water (which most people do, especially in cooler months), it will soften your skin’s oils, making it easier for them to wash away and therefore dry out your skin.

 Showcase your natural scent

Experts have linked smell with sexual attraction as well as selecting a mate both on the physiological and psychological level. This means that by showering less, you may actually have better luck attracting a partner.

 Preserve helpful bacteria

Our stomachs are not the only body part that needs good bacteria. A New York Times interview with Dr. Richard Gallo, dermatology chief at the University of California, pointed out that good bacteria in the skin cell help these cells learn how to produce their own antibiotics that can help protect us from bad bacteria.

Protect from harmful chemicals

Did you know that having oils and dead skin cells on your skin is actually beneficial? These elements provide a kind of protection from harmful bacteria and make it more difficult for certain chemicals to penetrate the skin. When you shower, you remove oils and dead skin cells from your skin. The problem is worse if you are using harsh soaps or body washes that contain chemicals. Experts recommend selecting a nontoxic soap with a minimal number of ingredients and only using it in the locations that truly need it.

Bottom line:  think twice about showering too often for the health and well-being of your skin, your love life, and your natural defenses.  Of course, showering less has one other benefit – reducing water consumption to protect the finite resource that water has become.

Andrea wants to live in a world where the neighborhoods are walkable, bike lanes are plentiful, and the food is fresh, delicious and readily available. A 20-year veteran of the health and wellness industry, she started her career in the fitness industry while earning a master’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, and then on to the burgeoning field of worksite wellness. Andrea has competed in collegiate level soccer, worked as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, wellness coach, and master trainer, climbed 14ers, and completed cycling centuries and metric centuries. All of these experiences give her the opportunity to view well-being from many different perspectives. When she’s not helping others to be their healthiest self, you can find her at a farm to table restaurant, down dogging at the yoga studio, or experiencing the Colorado landscape on a bicycle, snowshoes, cross country skis or on foot.