If you have eczema, psoriasis or dry and sensitive skin you will no doubt have discovered that frequent bathing and showing strips what moisture and oil your skin might have and leaves you feeling tight and dry and needing to moisturise all over again.
So how often should you shower or bath?
Over the years I’ve worked out how often I need to shower and it’s usually every two to three days. You’re shocked? Well I do wash the bits that need it in-between and by that I mean the parts of the body that need refreshing, can smell and may need more frequent washing ie. down there, bum, face, arm pits and feet.
After sport or gardening I always shower because if I don’t my skin gets very itchy. In fact, the sooner I can get into a cool or warm shower after getting hot and sweaty the better – it can make my scalp in particular so itchy that I do lots of damage unless I can quickly cool down.
Another reason to shower less is to conserve a valuable resource – water. According to Waterwise you could use an incredible 62 litres of hot water in the average eight minute shower and an even more staggering 136 using some power showers. By comparison you could use 80 litres in an average bath. We have a cess pit which is basically a huge tank which fills up with water as we use it; this then needs emptying by a huge mobile tank so the less water we use the fewer times it needs emptying.
Try turning off the shower once you’ve soaked your hair and skin. Then lather up, get all squeaky clean and THEN turn the water back on. Perhaps not ideal in the winter months but perfectly acceptable when it’s warmer. This blog isn’t about saving water but next time you shower think about all that clean drinkable water you are just sluicing down your drain. Seems like a terrible waste doesn’t it?
It turns out not only am I saving water and nurturing my dry skin, I may also be helping my body to develop it’s own external microbiome of good bacteria.
If you don’t believe me the scientists and doctors all agree.
I read this online article on Buzz Feed this week which has some useful references. I warn you now, it’s one of those blogs with pictures throughout which move and repeat to illustrate certain points. Personally I hate these things and often stop reading any article with them but persevere with this one. It is also US focused but the points raised apply to anyone whether you have dry eczema skin or not. “How Often You Really Need To Shower (According To Science)”
Another online article backs up this research, read
“How Often Should You Shower?” for more evidence on the benefits of less bathing.
Tips for showering with eczema
If you have infected eczema it may be worth washing more frequently in warm water or taking a warm bath with suitable bath oil. I use PurePotions and Organic Baby bath oils. Sometimes a few drops of tea tree oil in the bath water and Epsom salts really help to heal my skin.
Bathing in very hot water can also damage and irritate eczema skin so try to use warm water and always use a suitable soap or shower gel. This is something I’m looking into at the moment so watch this space for a list of products that work best for me. I use Sanex at the moment but it contains SLS and doesn’t have particularly healing and natural ingredients so I’m on a mission. Avoid products with SLS, fragrances, perfume and parabens and if your skin is particularly sore you can bathe using your prescribed emollient just watch out as the shower or bath could become very slippery.
After showering or having a bath always apply lots of emollient to prevent skin drying out.
What if I start to smell more if I wash less?
Are you worried that you’ll smell if you bathe less frequently? We all have a natural ‘odour’ and I don’t mean smelly BO. I think we mask this with deodorants, perfumes etc. and hardly ever smell the real person any more. Scientist believe that humans use smell just like animals do, to sniff out a mate. How this works I do not know but we are attracted to people with a certain smell and I don’t think it’s Lynx or Old Spice.
Anti-perspirants and deodorants are also important. You may think you’ll have to use more if you wash less. I don’t think so. I use a rock crystal deodorant and find it works incredibly well and lasts for absolutely yonks, both in deodorising and it never seems to run out. As far as I’m aware I don’t stink. No one has mentioned it anyway but you might all be being incredibly polite.
Straw poll – how often do you shower?
So finally, what do you think? How often do you bathe? Did this blog make you think about perhaps showering less often?
Please fill in the five questions in this simple quick google survey – let’s find out whether we all agree about the frequency of washing. Thanks in advance. I will publish the results, anonymous of course in a future blog post.