The majority of people in the U.S. shower every day. A survey done by the market research company YouGov polled more than 1,100 people asking them how often they shower and found 63 percent of men and 53 percent of women admitted they showered at least once a day.
But is this daily task necessary or even healthy?
For most people, experts say the answer is no. In fact, did you know you shouldn’t be showering and washing your hair every day unless you suffer from certain skin diseases?
The reasoning behind not showering daily is twofold. Daily showers can lead to two main dermatological issues. First, when you shower, you typically wash your hair. When you do this every day, it can cause your hair to become dry and brittle.
“If you shampoo your hair every day, you can lose the cuticle oil,” says Dr. Amy Brodsky, a dermatologist at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “Most people will wash their hair and then blow dry it or let it dry naturally and not add moisture back into the hair.”
If you do decide to wash your hair every day, many experts recommend adding a leave-in conditioner.
The effects of daily showers can also have a negative effect on your skin. Washing your skin frequently can remove its natural oils and disrupt the population of bacteria supporting your immune system.
If you do insist on taking daily showers, Dr. Brodsky advises they should be short – five minutes long – at a lukewarm temperature. Depending on the season, she also recommends applying creams and lotions to your skin after you shower for protection. When you get out of the shower, it’s important to seal in moisture and not let the water evaporate.
So is showering daily a bad idea for everyone? In fact, there are certain groups for which daily showers are recommended. “If someone suffers from psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, they should be showering daily,” says Dr. Brodsky.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, psoriasis is a disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. Similar to psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis is a red, itchy rash that can appear on your scalp. Dr. Brodsky says these diseases have rapid cell turnover rates, which cause the skin to flake and appear dry but not actually be dry.
Still, for the average person, Dr. Brodsky recommends showering no more than twice a week.
If you decide to shower one day and skip the next, you will likely notice health benefits, including overall healthier skin and hair. How frequently you shower is of course a personal preference, but according to Dr. Brodsky, daily showers are simply not needed for the average person.