Showering: Dermatologist recommends ways to keep skin healthy
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As the colder months roll in, the temptation to linger longer under warm water may grow. For others, more time spent indoors may lessen the need for regular showers. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that there is a sweet spot with shower frequency.
Benefits of showering
Showering is essential for clearing the pores and allowing the skin cells to function properly, thereby boosting the immune system.
Evidence also suggests a warm shower or bath before bed can aid the sleeping process, with research suggesting showering two hours before bed is optimal for a good night’s sleep.
Blood flow, breathing, and concentration also improve during showering, making the habit an important part of our daily routines.
But healthy skins preserve a layer of oil and a balance of good bacteria, so washing too often can remove these, causing dryness.
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The frequency of showers will likely vary throughout the year, particularly as indoor heating leads to drier skin.
Showering too often during the winter months could dry out the skin too much, making it vulnerable to infection.
Healthline explains: “Your skin might be drier in the winter, in which case too many showers can bring on extreme dryness.
“Yet, a shower every day in the summer may not negatively affect your skin.
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“Since there are no hard or fast rules on how much is too much, it’s important that you get to know your body and determine what your skin can tolerate.”
Risks of not showering regularly
Surveys show that people can go weeks without showering before they start to emit a bad odour, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they should.
There are a number of risks associated with prolonging the periods between each shower, but the main problem is bacteria.
When individuals leave three to four days between showers, they risk accumulating dark patches of scaly skin, which can lead to fungal or bacterial infections.
These patches consist of dead skin cells, dirt, and sweat, which can trigger acne, or exacerbate pre-existing conditions, such as psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema.
Doctor Michele Green, a cosmetic dermatologist based in New York City, explained that some people need to shower more than others, depending on how often they work out.
Doctor Green told Real Simple: “Aside from the odour, you’ll need to be concerned about a host of different skin issues, like acne, irritation, flare-ups of existing skin conditions, and even years or fungal infections.
“Acne forms when there is a blockage and inflammation of sebaceous follicles, not only on the face but on the chest and back as well.”
Showering too little opens the window of opportunity for acne-causing bacteria to become trapped inside the pores.
When bacteria isn’t washed away from the areas surrounding the eyes, mouth or nose, it can enter the orifices.
This can put the body at risk of developing a cold or infection, inciting a response from the immune system.
While there is no ideal frequency for showering, experts suggest that short showers lasting between three or four minutes, with a focus on the armpits and groin, may be enough.
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