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Daily showers could be harmful for skin health, some experts claim

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Daily showers aren’t necessary and may not have any health benefits, according to some experts.

Proponents of less frequent showers claim that most people take them every day — or multiple times a day — only because this has become a societal norm.

“Why are we washing? Mostly because we’re afraid somebody else will tell us that we’re smelling,” environmentalist Donnachadh McCarthy said in an interview with the BBC.

McCarthy said he only showers once a month, freshening up with sink washes in between.

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Approximately two-thirds of Americans shower every day, according to Harvard Health.

Some of the most common reasons are to prevent body odor, freshen up after working out and get help in waking up.

Proponents of showering less frequently claim most people take showers every day, or multiple times a day, only because this is today’s societal norm. (iStock)

Potential health impacts of daily showers

Robert H. Shmerling, M.D., senior faculty editor of Harvard Health Publishing, noted in an article for Harvard Health that frequent hot showers remove the healthy oils and “good” bacteria from the skin.

As a result, the skin can become dry, itchy or irritated, he noted. 

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The skin may also become more susceptible to infections and allergic reactions, as harmful bacteria and allergens are able to enter through dry, cracked areas.

Daily showers could also weaken the immune system, Shmerling warned.

“Our immune systems need a certain amount of stimulation by normal microorganisms, dirt and other environmental exposures in order to create protective antibodies and ‘immune memory,’” he said.

Man showering

Some of the most common reasons for showering, say experts, are to prevent body odor, freshen up after working out and get help in waking up. (iStock)

“This is one reason some pediatricians and dermatologists recommend against daily baths for kids. Frequent baths or showers throughout a lifetime may reduce the ability of the immune system to do its job.”

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Risks could also arise from exposure to chemicals in water — including salts, heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride and pesticides — and in shampoos, conditioners and soaps.

Woman taking shower

“Daily showers do not improve your health, could cause skin problems or other health issues — and, importantly, they waste a lot of water,” according to one expert. (iStock)

“Overcleaning your body is probably not a compelling health issue,” Shmerling wrote. 

“However, daily showers do not improve your health, could cause skin problems or other health issues — and, importantly, they waste a lot of water.”

A personal decision

While some dermatologists recommend showering every other day or just two or three times per week, according to Healthline, the frequency of showers comes down to personal preferences, routines and lifestyles.

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There are some risks associated with not showering enough, experts say, including unpleasant body odor, skin infections, discoloration of the skin, acne, and flare-ups of eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis in people who have those conditions.

Dry cracked skin

Frequent showers can cause the skin to become dry, itchy or irritated, an expert noted.  (iStock)

“While there is no ideal frequency, experts suggest that showering several times per week is plenty for most people (unless you are grimy, sweaty or have other reasons to shower more often),” said Shmerling in the Harvard Health article. 

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“Short showers (lasting three or four minutes) with a focus on the armpits and groin may suffice.”

Fox News Digital reached out to Shmerling for additional comment. 

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health



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