How Often Should You Shower?

Dr. Amarjeet Bhatia    23-02-2021 Consult

A hot shower is the usual start of your morning, along with brushing your teeth and combing your hair, but you may want to take a new look at your showering routine. It's possible your daily shower is actually too much for your skin.

How Often Should You Shower?

There really isn't a magic number that is right for every person. Dermatologists vary in their recommendations, so advice runs the gamut from showering once or twice a week to once every two to three days.

-A shower every other day or so is a good guideline. Most people can shower every second or third day and still be clean.

-Some people do need a daily shower. There are exceptions to this, of course. If you work out daily, live in an especially hot or humid area, work a job where you get dirty/sweaty, or are prone to body odor, you will want to shower every day to rinse away sweat and dirt.

-Hands should be washed several times daily. Even if you're not showering daily you should still wash your hands with soap and water several times per day. Hands are the germ-magnets. It's the bacteria and viruses that you pick up on your hands and transfer to your eyes, mouth, and nose that make you sick. This will help keep you healthier, especially during cold and flu season. 

-Your face should be cleansed daily as well. Even on days you're skipping the shower, wash your face with a gentle cleanser at least at night before you go to bed. Removing makeup, grime, and excess oil is important to keep breakouts from forming and keep your skin healthy.

What Happens When You Shower too Often

If you're used to a daily shower, the thought of skipping a day (or two or more) may seem gross. But truly, we've been socially conditioned to feel the need to shower every day. 

The biggest problem with too frequent showering is that it strips your skin of natural oils. Human skin is covered with a fine layer of oil called sebum. This oil is meant to protect the skin and keep the skin moisturized. Frequent cleansing removes this oil and can make your skin dry and itchy. It can also irritate sensitive skin and eczema.

For what it's worth, you don't want to wash your hair too often either. Over-washing can make your hair dry and frizzy, especially if your hair is naturally dry, curly, or coarse. It can make your scalp feel dry and itchy too.

And if you think showering often helps protect you from bad bacteria, the exact opposite may be true. Showering can break down the skin's natural barrier, called the acid mantle. The acid mantle is slightly acidic. Showering too often, especially with alkaline soap or washes, can change the pH of your skin and leave your skin more susceptible to bacterial and viral invasion.

How to Shower (Especially If You Shower Often)

If you're active and simply have to shower often, that's OK. There are steps you can take to keep your skin healthy and hydrated.

i) Use warm, not overly hot, water.
ii) Keep showers short.
iii) Switch to a non-drying soap or body cleanser.
iv) Don't scrub too hard.