Taking a nice hot shower is something of a daily ritual for most people. But, according to a new study, rinsing off under the shower or in the bath isn’t as important as you might think. Bathing every day could increase people’s risk of infections, experts warn.
Showering excessively can reduce skin hydration, causing it to become dry and cracked, which allows germs to enter, according to infectious-disease expert Dr Elaine Larson from Columbia University. She adds most people bathe in the belief it will reduce their risk of illness, however, it actually does little more than remove body odour.
Dr C Brandon Mitchell, assistant professor of dermatology at George Washington University, adds washing strips the skin of its natural oils, which can disrupt ‘good’ bacteria that supports people’s immune systems.
According to Dr Mitchell, bathing just once or twice a week is usually sufficient for most, adding: ‘A daily shower isn’t necessary.’
Researchers at Colombia University have discovered that bathing too frequently can dry out and crack your skin. These openings then allow bacteria and other microbes to get into your body. And although you might be washing off some of the smells of the day you’re also washing off natural oils that your skin produces.
“I think showering is mostly for aesthetic reasons,” says Dr. Elaine Larson, an infectious disease expert at Columbia University School of Nursing.“People think they’re showering for hygiene or to be cleaner, but bacteriologically, that’s not the case,” reported the TIME.
The research from Larson and her team also revealed that antibacterial hand washes and other cleaning products aren’t necessarily better than plain old soap. Bathing will remove odour if you’re stinky or have been to the gym,” she said. But further explained that when it comes to protecting yourself from illness, washing your hands is the way to do it.
Larson and other experts didn’t come clean on exactly how often you need to shower – but they agree it doesn’t need to be every day.
“I think most people over-bathe,” Dr. C. Brandon Mitchell, assistant professor of dermatology at George Washington University was reported saying.
“Some people with a dry scalp and hair probably only need to lather it every few weeks,” said Mitchell. And even if you have dandruff or other scalp issues, you should be okay with just washing your locks a couple of times a week.