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Showering less frequently than you may think is a good idea, according to dermatologists


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The majority of us assume we know pretty well what our bodies require by now, but some recent internet debate has caused us to reconsider. Within the last few years, both celebrities and social media users have caused quite a stir when talking about how often they bathe—and exactly how they do it.

While some people are fine with intermittent showering, others cannot start their day (or head to bed) without at least a quick rinse.

We asked the professionals to find out if there are any very clear-cut guidelines for cleaning yourself.

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How often should you shower?

What is the deal? According to Dr. Angela Lamb, director of the Westside Mount Sinai Dermatology Faculty Practice, showering is mostly a matter of personal preference and there is not any scientific evidence to support this notion.

Dr. Mary Stevenson, an associate professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Health and dermatological surgeon, agrees, saying that the frequency of showering depends on some factors, including your skin type, age, and level of activity.

In general, she says, “You should be showering, bathing, or cleansing yourself every two to three days.” However, if you are exercising or engaging in an activity that causes you to lose moisture a lot, you may have a different idea.

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The largest issue that could arise from not taking enough showers is the stench. According to Lamb, some people may be able to avoid taking a shower for longer because they do not produce as much body odor as others, and others may just not feel the need to wash at the first whiff of funk. “A lot of how much we bathe in modern society and culture is cultural,” she continues.

Furthermore, Stevenson notes that having a thick layer of oil on your skin may also make you more susceptible to folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicles.

Can you shower too much?

While taking too many showers can also have negative effects, according to Lamb, washing too much can dry out your skin and compromise the integrity of your skin’s protective layer. “You can make yourself more prone to infection if you over-wash because the skin is protected with some nice natural bacteria and things that protect it and you want to preserve those,” Lamb explains, explaining why taking multiple showers a day is generally not a good idea.

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How to wash your body in the shower

Soap is a detergent that helps to break down the top layer of oil and get it off your skin. By soaping up everywhere, you remove some of these oils and make yourself more prone to dry, sensitive skin—especially during these colder winter months, Stevenson says. “What people tend to do is soap up their entire body, which is not necessary,” Stevenson says. “You only need soap in your armpits, your groin, and your feet. Places that you get stinky.”

A common mistake is taking long, steamy showers; Stevenson suggests keeping them to three minutes and keeping them lukewarm. Of course, there are rare occasions when you may need to scrub other areas of your body, like if you went on a hike or jumped in mud puddles with the kids, but generally speaking, you do not need to soap up your legs, arms, or abdomen, she says.

Both experts agreed that you should concentrate on using hydrating products because showering can be so harsh on the skin. “Using those more gentle products while you are washing can be extremely helpful,” says Stevenson. “One kind of cheat sheet is to look at stuff for sensitive skin and for babies because usually, baby products are formulated for sensitive skin.

But that being said, you also want to talk to a dermatologist about what ingredients might be irritating, and always look at the ingredient list.” Stevenson also advises against using products that contain fragrances or dyes. With all of that in mind, we are sharing some of the best products to use in the shower, experts and reviewers together.

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