When we think of people prone to skipping showers, your mind might skip straight to an image of unwashed hippies with dreadlocked hair. This is probably fitting, but it is not just hippies known to not shower all the time, pretty much everyone is guilty of skipping a shower every once in awhile. What we all might not know is what actually happens to us when we decide to let personal hygiene go for a few days, so here is a quick rundown.
Human's are constantly covered in bacteria, over 1,000 kinds actually, but before you freak out it isn't actually as bad as it sounds! Bacteria is a natural part of our bodies 'ecosystem' and most of this bacteria is actually good for you. But when you don't shower the bad bacteria starts to take over.
Everyone has felt the discomfort of unwashed skin at some point, whether it was from playing in the mud as a kid or forgetting to take your makeup off at night. Not only is it not comfortable to have dirty skin, it is actually damaging to it's health.
A fun night out with the girls, can lead to waking up in the morning with a face covered in makeup and a few new pimples. The clogged pores get angry quickly and lead to inflamed spots that take days to clear up.
The cause of these brown spots is obvious, dirt! This dirt build up is called dermatitis neglecta, and the name sounds exactly like what it is, when you neglect your skin. Dermatitis neglecta is a plaque build up on the skin from oils mixing with dirt.
This one will get the most reaction from the people in your life, because it is the only one that affects everyone you interact with and not just you. When you don't rinse off your pits bacteria builds up and cause a serious stink.
The good bacteria on your skin that I mentioned before is normally in control, but when you don't shower the bad take over. This leads to a higher rate of infection with a wide array of diseases that go far beyond just skin infection.
Most adults choose to give their hair a good shampooing every one to two days, and this creates a dependency on that good scrub. When you stop removing the oils your scalp is producing it goes into overdrive leading to seriously greasy hair.
Shampoo does not only function to remove grease, but build up of all kinds, such as dandruff. When increased oil is present on the scalp the dandruff becomes trapped which then irritates the healthy skin underneath, and this becomes seriously itchy.
Everyone knows that one of the more delicate skin areas is in the groin area, so obviously this area is a big problem when you are not washed. The region becomes more susceptible to rashes and a yeast called intertrigo that gets red, itchy, and painful
This skin affliction affects millions of people, even those who shower on a very regular basis. Athlete's foot happens when a warm, moist environment becomes home to abundantly growing bacteria. When you have this, and don't shower the bacteria can spread to other regions.
While there is a lot to be said for keeping clean, you don't need to be showering every day. When you exercise or break a sweat it is best to give a good rinse off, but otherwise it is actually okay to be showering on an every couple day basis.
Antibacterial products sound like a great idea, but in the end they might not actually be very effective. Research has shown that antibacterial soap actually does not lower the users risk of getting infectious diseases and can build bacterial resistance.
In fact there are actually downsides to showering too regularly. The water and soap can be way too drying and cause cracked skin. The cracked skin is thinner and may increase your odds of being exposed to diseases and becoming sick.
The treatment for this thin dry cracked skin is healthy oils. These oils are produced naturally by healthy skin, but if you have been showering too frequently, or have been feeling sick and unhealthy you might need to supplement with oils you can buy over the counter.
In the end it is your call how much you want to shower, but for health reasons we would suggest that it is at least once every week. Or for the consideration of the people around you, at least often enough that you don't smell terribly.