Healthy Living

How often should you shower?

Dermatologist Dr Katherine Armour shares the best approach to keeping skin clean and healthy.

Written by Editor Medibank
Frequent, long hot showers can leave our skin prone to dryness and infection.

While a lot of us would cringe at the thought of skipping a daily rinse, experts suggest we actually might be showering more often than needed. Dermatologist Dr Katherine Armour makes the subject clearer.

So, how often do you really need to shower?

According to Dr Armour, if you have a labour intensive job, live in a hot or humid area, or exercise a lot, you should probably be showering every day. However, perhaps contrary to popular belief, the average Aussie who isn't overly active can safely get away with showering every other day, or even less frequently.

Tips for getting the most out of your showering routine

  1. Keep showers short and lukewarm: Long, hot showers can strip your skin of its natural oils, leading to dry and cracked skin, and increasing the risk of infection. Dr Armour therefore recommends you try to keep showers short -- preferably under three minutes in length -- and at a lukewarm temperature.
  2. Moisturise: Following your shower, it’s worth applying a moisturiser. This will help trap the hydration from your shower into the skin's epidermis -- leaving it healthy and happy.
  3. Know where to lather up: It isn’t necessary to lather your entire body with soap / soap-free wash daily. To avoid body odour, cleansing your armpits, groin and buttocks is sufficient.
  4. Avoid being ‘squeaky clean’: According to Dr Armour, soaps are alkaline and can dissolve the skin barrier. The skin surface is meant to be quite acidic and good bacteria enjoy an acidic skin environment. Using soap-substitutes or soap-free washes is another way to safely shower daily, whilst avoiding the irritation that soaps can cause.
  5. Don’t forget about your hands: While you might only need to shower every other day, it’s worth remembering that your hands are the biggest culprit in passing on harmful bacteria. Therefore, regular and thorough hand washing remains important for maintaining hygiene.
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Written by Editor Medibank

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