How often should we have a shower in a week? The answer might surprise you

Most people shower once or twice a day and sometimes more during the summer months. But is that not enough or
How often should we have a shower in a week? The answer might surprise you!

Most people shower once or twice a day and sometimes more during the summer months. But is that not enough or too much? You might be surprised to find out the answer!

The social constructs around showering have been ingrained in us since we were kids. If you didn’t shower or didn’t look like you showered, you were ostracised, therefore we often have daily showers because we think we need to.

In actual fact, showering daily wreaks havoc on something called the horny layer. When you use hot water, soap and abrasive surfaces you strip off the horny layer, exposing living cells to the elements. And damaging this protective layer of skin makes us more susceptible to disease.

Before we had showers and baths in every house, people were very used to bathing less often and together – have you heard those stories of people sharing the same bath water?

Australians have taken the title for being one of the cleanest nations on earth – 90 per cent of women and 80 per cent of men bathe or shower at least once daily according to a 2008 report by the SCA, a leading global hygiene company.

And of those people, 29 per cent of us shower twice daily, while 9 per cent had three. That’s a lot of water. By comparison, 50 per cent of Chinese people have a shower twice a week, and in Sweden half the population has a daily shower.

Studies have shown that there are no measurable differences in the number of microorganism colonies a person is host to regardless of how frequently that person showers.

Technically speaking, there is no magic number of showers each week, but it has been agreed that less than seven is ideal – you need to preserve the horny layer. Skipping a shower a week is one way of preserving the layer so you don’t become more susceptible to infection.

Associate Professor Stephen Shumack, President of the Australasian College of Dermatologists, “Over-washing causes ‘defatting’ of the skin – getting rid of the natural body oils we produce to protect the skin cells. This can cause actual damage making them more permeable to bacteria or viruses, precipitating itchy skin, dryness, flakiness and worsening conditions like eczema”, he told SMH.

And when you shower, use warm or cool water and a mild soap (if at all), and moisturise afterwards.

As Shumack says, “God didn’t give us caves with hot running water”.


Do you enjoy showering or will you be having a sans shower day today? Tell us, how often do you shower? 

  1. Dianne Evans  

    People in cold countries do not have the sweating we haven’t so of course they can shower less we stink! I do not use products but dive under the cold shower to cool down bliss in a Brisbane summer.

  2. Renee Patterson  

    Sorry ‘horny layer’, but in summer I often choose to duck into the shower a second time, just to wash off the perspiration before bed. That cool water is soothing too.

  3. Marlee  

    I was aware of the “horny layer”” but didn’t know it was called that. Too many showers dry the skin when you get older, so I only shower about twice a week, except if it is really hot and humid.

  4. Joan  

    Go easy on the soap, water and friction removes dirt and perspiration.

  5. Hans de Rycke  

    According to Dr Z Rona MD MSc ” Numerous scientific studies report that chlorinated tap water is a skin irritant and can be associated with rashes like eczema. Chlorinated water can destroy polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E in the body while generating toxins capable of free radical damage (oxidation)”Chlorine has been documented to aggravate asthma, especially in those children who make use of chlorinated swimming pools. Several studies also link chlorine and chlorinated by-products to a greater incidence of bladder, breast and bowel cancer as well as malignant melanoma. One study even links the use of chlorinated tap water to congenital cardiac anomalies.
    “Anything you can do to filter tap and shower water that eliminates or even minimizes chlorine would certainly be helpful and possibly curative for some immune system problems. Have showers of short duration with the bathroom door open and the exhaust fan on is certainly helpful and the use of water filtration devices is increasingly popular and affordable.
    Drinking hlorinated water destroys much of the intestinal flora, the friendly bacteria that help in the digestion of food and which protects the body from harmful pathogens. These bacteria are also responsible for the manufacture of several important vitamins like vitamin B12 and vitamin K. It is not uncommon for chronic skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, seborrhea and eczema to clear up or to be significantly improved by switching to unchlorinated drinking water.

    • Mareela  

      The amount of chlorine used to disinfect the water in Australia is typically less than 1mg/L (0.0001%). Hardly a cause for concern. Home water filters will filter any residue if there are concerns.

      • Hans de Rycke  

        At less than 1 mg/L Chlorine is sufficient to kill bacteria in our drinking water. The human system is 60% water and has 90% beneficial bacteria, most of those reside in the gut. Chlorine kills those bacteria at the level you mentioned.
        Is that a cause for concern? My oath it is!

  6. peter  

    In Thailand the Thais shower 2 to 3 times a day, and the women have the softest skin and age very slowly a 45 to 55 year old could pass for 35 to 40, most avoid the sun as a dark skin is perceived as low class. So the sale of skin whiteners is huge. They also have what I call a bum gun in the toilets beside the pan this is used to wash your private areas after poo or pee and the loo paper is just used to dry yourself with. The only time I smell any body odour it is usually from a middle aged white man who has not discovered the use of deodorant yet

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