How often should YOU SHOWER?
We’re all familiar with the adage, cleanliness is next to Godliness. And we’ve always poked ample fun at that relative or a friend who’s not a fan of taking a daily shower. Also, we’re impressed by those who shower twice or even thrice a day. But what’s the ideal number of times are we supposed to shower daily or shower daily after all?
Some experts say that most of us shower more than needed. Dr Elaine Larson, an infectious disease expert at Columbia University School of Nursing, US, says, “I think showering is mostly for aesthetic reasons. People think they’re showering for hygiene or to be cleaner, but bacteriologically, that’s not the case.” She added that though washing is required to get rid of odours of perspiration or after working out, it doesn’t necessarily provide protection from illness. She advises washing hands should be enough unless one rolls around in the mud regularly.
There’s evidence which suggests that regular bathing it in fact dries up the skin, opening gaps for germs to enter your pores. Dr C Brandon Mitchell, assistant professor of Dermatology at George Washington University, US, says, “Your body is naturally a well- oiled machine. A daily shower isn’t necessary.” He found in studies that bathing too frequently strips away natural oils and disrupts the skin’s process of fighting bacteria. showering is not necessary but gives a valid point for disagreeing with them saying, “It speaks nothing of the surrounding factors around us which are very different in a hot humid place like Mumbai. So, I do not agree that talking shower daily is unnecessary, for cosmetic reasons, hygience, activity as well as medical reasons. For the humid parts of India, twice a day during summer would be good for most of us and once is a must.” She says that people who are outdoors, working in sales or are sportspersons, can shower twice a day. However, refrain from using too much soap and if need be just use soap on your body folds and wash the remaining body with just plain water.
Does she agree that the body is a well- oiled machine and so frequent washing is unnecessary? “Well I do agree that body secretes natural oils. I also agree that frequent washing will strip away the natural oils. But it has to be considered that these body oils do attract dust, grime, bacteria, fungus, etc. So we can’t just depend on the natural oils of the skin. Once we wash the skin, it needs to be moisturised again so that blocked pores are cleansed and we can get rid of the impurities, pollution and dust as well. I would have agreed to the said theory, if we were living in a perfect world with no dust, pollution, etc., around us. But unfortunately, that is not the case. And on top of that the smoking, stress, hormones, etc. add to the skin insult,” she explains. reduces stress,” advises Dr Bhatia and cautions about going overboard adding, “Bathing twice a day is hygienic but over bathing can lead to loss of skin’s essential oils ending up giving you dry, cracked skin. It can cause serious skin issues and skin infections.” Agrees Dr Goel that showering after exercising is essential, “I definitely feel those who gym regularly must bathe twice a day. The skin is a dynamic organ and is multiplying and shedding constantly. If you shower twice a day, your skin will not fall off.” While bathing frequently strips the skin of its natural oils however, water is not the culprit here. Dr Goel explains, “The pH level of water is neutral. The problem is when one uses abrasives like a scrub which exfoliates the skin and strips it off its natural oils. The culprit are most soaps and shower gels, which add to the pH levels of the skin. Liquid shower gels have lower pH levels than most soaps, so the former is better. But don’t use a shower gel every time you batheas it disrupts the pH skin barrier making the skin sensitive and prone to infections.”
She points out other mistakes that many people commit. The temperature of water is important. Don’t shower for long hours in hot water. Take small showers with lukewarm water. Another thing that people do is rub and dry themselves aggressively using a towel. Gently, dab yourself with the towel. Also, it is imporant to moisturise the skin immediately after a shower. If one is in a hurry and doesn’t have have the time to moisturise the skin after drying themself, then using an inshower conditioner. Begin by holding a dumbbell in each hand, by your sides, with straight arms and have a slight bend in your knees. Now lower the dumbbells towards the floor. Ensure to keep your back straight. Your chest should be parallel with the floor. Now straighten your torso so you have a straight body alignment. Do three sets, consisting of 12 reps each set. Rest for 30 seconds to a minute in between sets.