Like cilantro and politics, showering is one of those polarizing topics: Either you love to do it or you could go without it for a few days… and maybe even an entire week. For those who fall into the latter category, your vindication has come: A little dirt won’t hurt you, according to leading dermatologists Dr. Joshua Zeichner and Dr. Ranella Hirsch.
Over-bathing, especially in too-hot water, can lead to skin irritations like eczema. It also washes away good bacteria and puts you at a higher risk for infections through any open cuts. Yuck! And listen up, parents. Dermatologists even recommend not bathing your infant or toddler every day. It could deny them of good bacteria that just might help their immune systems.
So, where did the daily cleansing ritual come from? Apparently it’s all due to societal norms. The everyday shower most likely came scrub-a-dub-dubbing to the U.S. around the time of the Civil War, when some mighty fine soap advertising starting popping up, according to Katherine Ashenburg, author of The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History. This combined with the continued emphasis on cleanliness in the workforce created the current way of thinking.
Just how much should you be showering? If you sweat normally (read: no two-a-day workouts) and live in a reasonably moderate climate, every other day or every two days, in tepid water, should keep you feeling and looking fresh. If you need a little spruce up, reach for that dry shampoo and deodorant. And don’t forget to belt one out while you’re in there!
Do you love to shower or hate it? Tell us in the comments!