Should we take a shower every day or remember Napoleon’s message to Josephine: “Don’t bathe, I’m home for a week?” People are generally bathing or showering daily. Two-thirds of Americans take a shower every day, in Australia 80% of the population do, but in China half of the population take a bath only twice a week.
Have you ever wondered why you are bathing every day? For many people it is more a custom and a social norm than something done for health. Perhaps this is why bathing habits vary from country to country. Apart from the fact that daily bathing creates a healthy habit in people, many choose to shower daily because they care about their body odor, because water helps them to wake up because they exercise in the morning and then have to take a shower and so on.
What is considered acceptable in the bath varies from culture to culture. And marketing can also influence habits. There is no reason to wash your hair twice, but if everyone follows the instructions, twice as much shampoo is sold. When it comes to health care, it is not clear whether daily bathing can achieve anything. And it can be worse.
Normal and healthy skin maintains a balance between good bacteria and other microorganisms. With bathing we remove that layer, especially if the water is warm. The skin can become dry and irritated and itchy. Dry and cracked skin allows bacteria and allergens to disrupt the dam that the skin presents to the body, resulting in skin infections and allergic reactions.
Antibacterial soaps kill normal bacteria. This disrupts the balance of skin microorganisms and promotes the emergence of more resistant, less friendly, antibiotic resistant organisms. Frequent showers can reduce the ability of the immune system to do its job. Some experts, who advocate less frequent bathing, suggest that water may contain salts, heavy metals, chlorine, fluorine, pesticides, and other chemicals, which can cause problems.
Although there is no ideal recommendation for how often we should bathe, experts find that showering several times a week is enough for most people, unless you have other reasons to do so more often. A short 3-4-minute shower with focus on the armpit and shoulders should be enough. However, it is difficult to avoid daily showering. But if you want to do it for your health, it may be a habit that is worth a little change.