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How Often Do You Really Need to Shower?

How Often Do You Really Need to Shower? Dermatologists Reveal the Truth

Sexuality, food intolerances, and SPF all exist on a spectrum. Bathing habits do not. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. How often you shower typically falls into one of two (extreme) camps: every day without fail or as little as possible (isn’t that why wipes and dry shampoo were invented?).

But according to dermatologists, there’s a actually right (and wrong) number of times to shower each week. And, sorry to break it to you if you’re in the as-little-as-possible camp, a good general guideline is once a day or once every other day, says Nada Elbuluk, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

However, even that recommendation might vary depending on your workout habits or where you live, explains dermatologist Heidi A. Waldorf, MD, a member of the Women’s Dermatologic Society. Take the three things below into consideration to determine your own personal shower quota. Trust us, your skin will thank you.

Your activity level

There are a growing number of on-the-go products you can stash in your gym bag (or grab from your studio’s shelves, bless) that let you leave the gym smelling fresh without a shower. While these can be huge time-savers, if you’ve really been sweating, you probably want to grab a towel and head to the locker room to rinse off.

“We shower to remove oil, skin cells, sweat, bacteria, and dirt,” says Dr. Waldorf. When all that builds up on your skin, it can lead to anything from pimples to bacterial or fungal infections, she explains.

For people who are particularly prone to acne, Dr. Waldorf says, showering right after exercise can help ward off a breakout by clearing out pores—which is especially important if you work out in makeup.

If you’re really short on time, at least wipe down with a washcloth and water, suggests Clay Cockerell, MD, founder of Cockerell Dermatopathology.

Your skin type

For those with oily skin, Dr. Cockerell suggests sticking with the once-a-day rule. “But if you have sensitive or very dry skin, shower no more than a couple times a week to reduce dryness, itching, and inflammation,” he says.

If you have dry skin and work out on the reg, he suggests using a gentle soap and applying moisturizer after you shower.

And don’t forget that your skin type may change as you age. “As people get older, they generally tend to make less oil and may have skin troubles if they bathe more than several times a week,” Dr. Cockerell says.

Your environment

Exercise and work meetings aren’t the only things that make you sweat. If you live in a hot, humid environment, you’re going to want to shower every day to minimize the bacterial buildup (read: stink) on your skin.

If it’s cooler outside by you, you can get away with showering less. “During cold, dry winter months, it’s best to shower less frequently,” says Dr. Waldorf. Overdoing it on showers in dry air might actually dry out the skin more, Dr. Cockerell adds.

If you notice your skin is dried out, scaling, or itching more than usual, consider showering less and cutting down on scrubs and exfoliants. “Simply using your hand or a washcloth and body soap is best,” Dr. Cockerell says. (Then, lather on one of these derm-recommended moisturizers).

The bottom line

Showering correctly is more important than showering often or saving time with dry shampoo, Dr. Elbuluk says. That means using lukewarm (not hot) water, keeping it under 10 minutes, and not using an exfoliant on a regular basis unless your dermatologist recommended it.

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29 Comments

  1. Reply

    This is really good to know

  2. Profile photo ofChukwucee

    Reply

    Resourceful information

  3. Reply

    Everyday atleast

  4. Reply

    Amazing

  5. Reply

    God bless you for the time you brought out to share this with us

  6. Reply

    Very good post

  7. Reply

    Good article

  8. Reply

    Nice update

  9. Reply

    Wonderful

  10. Reply

    Thanks for this update

  11. Reply

    This is a very necessary information for everyone

  12. Reply

    Showering regularly is extremely beneficial. One shouldn’t overlook that

  13. Reply

    As often as possible

  14. Reply

    Resourceful info

  15. Reply

    Awesome information thanks for letting us know

  16. Reply

    Thanks for sharing this it’s interesting.

  17. Reply

    Thanks for the information

  18. Reply

    Good to know

  19. Reply

    great work

  20. Reply

    Nice

  21. Reply

    Wow…good to know

  22. Reply

    I think 3 times a day

  23. Reply

    Very true

  24. Reply

    Nice info

  25. Reply

    I can take shower up to 5 times daily depending on the mood and weather

  26. Reply

    Interesting

  27. Reply

    Nice piece

  28. Reply

    Three temes a day

  29. Reply

    Nice
    Thanks for sharing

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