Showering everyday could have serious consequences for your health

Harvard doctor argues you should not shower everyday, as it can cause serious health issues. Here is why.

We should never shower everyday, as it can cause serious health issues
© Hemant Kanojiya / Unsplash
We should never shower everyday, as it can cause serious health issues

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, with its string of lockdowns and curfews, we have been getting used to going out less and spending more time at home. As a result, many people have stopped showering daily. An iFop survey from April 2022 reveals that before 2020, 71% of men and 81% of women were showering everyday. However, during lockdown, only 61% of men and 74% of women still showered daily. The survey reveals that women shower more than men, but also that many people have taken liberties with their daily hygiene. Scientists have told FranceInfo that this decrease in showering is actually good news.

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How often you should shower

It is not just any scientist who advises against showering everyday, it is Dr. Robert H. Shmerling from Harvard University who explains it after one of his researches. According to him, there is no specific reason to take a shower every day, it is simply a social norm and a habit we have picked up over time. He explains his argument in the Harvard Health Journal:

Ever notice that directions on shampoo bottles often say "lather, rinse, repeat"? There is no compelling reason to wash your hair twice with each shower, but it does sell more shampoo if everyone follows these directions.

No matter which shower gel you use, Dr. Robert H. Shmerling recommends washing only several times a week, without specifying a frequency. But certainly not everyday.

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

Read more:This is how often you should shower in a week

You should only shower several times a week, but definitely not everyday Curology / Unsplash

Showering daily can cause serious health issues

In his report, the scientist gives us several examples of benign problems caused by too much showering: dry, irritated, or itchy skin. But not only. Dry skin can also cause cracking and the introduction of bacteria and allergens into the epidermis. And an antibacterial shower gel won't help, since it would also attack some essential bacteria that live on our body.

But that's not all, unfortunately. For Dr. Robert H. Shmerling, showering everyday could also cause immune deficiency.

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'.

Showering too often would limit this response and therefore harm our immune memory. So think about it the next time you feel like taking a shower: when was the last time you washed?

This article has been translated from Gentside FR.

Read more:Tired in the morning? It could be your shower habits

Sources used:

FranceInfo: Douches, sous-vêtements... l’hygiène vestimentaire et corporelle des Français baisse avec le confinement

Harvard Health: Showering daily -- is it necessary?

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