Most of us shower once or twice a day 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”.
Tell us, how often do you shower every day? Do you enjoy it or will you be having a sans shower day today?