To bathe daily or not to:
Steps in Harvard Medical authorities in the form of Dr Robert H Shmerling, MD and Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing. ON the Harvard blog, Dr Shmerling asks, “Do you shower or bathe daily? If you do, you’re not alone.” He adds to that the findings that majority of the people world overdo bathe on daily basis
In July, CNN.com, reported how actor couple Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis appeared on an episode of Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast and when the talk turned to bathe Kutcher and his wife said that neither they nor their kids bathe every day and that the duo only washes vitals every day.
Here is what the Harvard doctor concerns are:
- Ruining the balance of friendly bacteria that live on the skin.
- Stripping off of the body’s natural oils that keep the skin soft and moist.
- Washing and scrubbing with hot water leave skin dry, irritated, or itchy.
- Dry, cracked skin may allow bacteria and allergens to breach the barrier skin.
- Skin’s function as a barrier fails, allowing skin infections and allergic reactions to occur.
- Antibacterial soaps can cause resistant strains while also killing normal, good microbes.
- Shoots our immune system down by robbing it of the stimulation by normal microorganisms, dirt, and other environmental exposures.
- That ends our skin’s and immunity’s ability to create protective antibodies and “immune memory.”
Dr Shmerling also warns that there could be other reasons to lose your enthusiasm for the daily shower: the water with which we clean ourselves may contain salts, heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride, pesticides, and other chemicals. It’s possible these may cause problems, too. For a good measure, the doctor also drags in the issue of scarcity of water and how daily baths are a waste of valuable resources – water.
So how often should one bathe?
According to Dr Shmerling, there is no ideal frequency, but showering several times per week is plenty for most people (unless you are grimy, sweaty, or have other reasons to shower more often). Short showers (lasting three or four minutes) with a focus on the armpits and groin may suffice. He ends the case for NOT bathing daily with, “If you’re like me, it may be hard to imagine skipping the daily shower. But if you’re doing it for your health, it may be a habit worth breaking.”