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Are We All Showering Too Often?

Is showering frequently necessary — or excessive?



The broadcaster Johnathan Ross recently confessed in an interview that he and his wife, the screenwriter Jane Goldman, shower just once a week, and went on to admit that he often resents the fact he has to shower at all. According to Ross, any more than a weekly wash is a “waste of time”. So are those of us who diligently hop in the shower each morning overdoing it? Let the experts decide.

How often should you shower?

Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, founder of Adonia Medical Clinic, confirms that it is, unfortunately for Mr Ross, important to shower daily. “Showering helps to cleanse the skin by removing dirt, sweat, unwanted bacteria, and other impurities that accumulate on the skin’s surface throughout the day – essential for maintaining skin hygiene and preventing pore congestion that can lead to breakouts and other skin issues,” she says. Dermatologist Dr Anita Sturnham adds: “Cleansing skin removes dirt, sweat and the remnants of skincare products. Prolonged contact of sweat on the skin, for example, can cause irritation and skin sensitivities.” That said, Dr Sturnham notes: “There is a fine balance between keeping the skin clean and healthy and not over-washing and causing irritation and dryness, but if you use gentle cleansing products, the benefits outweigh the risks.”

What should you use to wash your skin with?

Sturnham recommends washing with gentle products to ensure skin stays healthy. “Cleanse with products that contain gentle surfactants (cleansing ingredients) with skincare benefits, for example products that contain humectants such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, and skin conditioning ingredients such as vitamin E and ceramides.”

Ejikeme agrees. “Showering with gentle cleansers can help to maintain the skin’s natural barrier function and pH balance, which are crucial for healthy, hydrated skin. It also allows for the effective absorption of skincare products applied afterwards.”

Showering everyday positively impacts your mood

Aside from the obvious hygiene reasons Sturnham and Ejikeme point out, they also point out that the ritual of bathing is good for your mental health. “It [showering] can have psychological benefits, such as helping you feel refreshed, relaxed, and ready to face the day. It can also be a form of self-care and a ritual to unwind and de-stress,” explains Ejikeme. Sturnham also points out the sleep benefits: “If you shower in the evening, it can aid good quality sleep. A drop in body temperature post having a bath or shower can support better sleep hormone production, which will help you to achieve good quality sleep.”

What temperature should your shower be?

“It’s best to use lukewarm water and gentle, hydrating cleansers, and to moisturize the skin afterwards to help maintain its health and integrity,” says Ejikeme. “Once a day with warm water is perfect. If you have certain skin conditions, such as moderate to severe eczema, you may need to adjust your showering frequency and use specific products recommended by your doctor. It’s also a good way to prep your skin for products, Sturnham points out. “Cleansed skin provides a blank canvas for moisturizer. Daily moisturization is important to support skin barrier health and hydration levels, which will result in skin that is less prone to dryness and irritation.”

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