The answer isn’t straightforward, in that it depends on a lot of variables. Personally, that question seems a little silly to me, since taking a shower is my favorite 10 minutes of the day (or 20, if I do it twice). But is it necessary to shower every day? Perhaps that’s the question you’re asking. And if it’s not daily, how often should you shower?
I tapped a bunch of dermatologists and grooming pros on the topic, since they can answer the question from a technical perspective. (And not from a frivolous one, like me.) Here are some of the variables to take into account, as well as their professional opinion on showering daily. Hopefully, given all of their expertise, you can answer ‘Should I shower every day?” for yourself.
When to shower daily
In humid climates: “In humid areas, if you are more acne prone, or if you work out frequently, showering daily will be in your best interest to keep away acne, body odor, or other skin problems such as common fungal rashes.” —Dr. Kendra Watson of Dakota Dermatology in Sioux Falls, SD
If you’re physically active: “If you are a sweaty, smelly guy that likes to hit the gym, then for all our sake, please shower daily. This will decrease risk of clogged pores, acne, fungal infections, and odor. “ —Dr. James Collyer of Modern Dermatology in Seattle
If you have normal or oily skin: “For those with normal to oily skin, I would recommend bathing daily in order to minimize the risk of infection, reduce body odor, and avoid acne.” —Dr. Ted Lain of Dr. Ted Lain Dermatology in Austin, TX
When to shower every other day
When the air is dry, or cold: “If you live in a dry climate or in a place with harsh winters, then excess hot water and too much soap use can be drying and irritating to the skin.” —**Dr. Kendra Watson of Dakota Dermatology in Sioux Falls, SD
If you have dry or sensitive skin: “Men with sensitive skin, such as those with eczema or dry skin, may wish to avoid bathing daily. Soap and water tend to strip the skin of its natural moisturizing factors, therefore daily bathing can make already dry skin and sensitive skin even worse. Instead, I recommend simply rinsing most of the body with water and focusing on the underarms and groin areas with soap.” —Dr. Ted Lain of Dr. Ted Lain Dermatology in Austin, TX
If you care most about the technical details: “From a health perspective, the answer is an easy ‘no, you should not shower every day’. The human body was not designed and nor does it require to have its natural oils and the ‘good’ bacteria stripped away on a daily basis. Some solutions: Avoiding occlusive and synthetic clothing and staying within a healthy weight (to minimize occlusion within the folds of skin) should be sufficient to avoid any skin issues that may arise from only bathing a few times per week. In fact, there may be some downsides to showering daily: Excessive showering can lead to dry skin and a disruption of the natural pH and ‘ecosystem’ of bacteria and yeast. This disruption of the natural barrier can open you up to more irritants, allergens, and pathogens.” —Dr. Jeremy Fenton of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City
When to shower more than once a day
“I recommend that all men shower at least once a day. Depending on their exercise routine, I recommend twice to some: It's always best to rinse off excess oil and sweat after exercise. A shower also helps rinse off any environmental contaminants. These contaminants can include bacteria, yeast, fungus, and chemicals like pollution or pesticides,” —Dr. Christopher O'Connell of Skin Associates in South Florida in Miami
Should you shampoo every day?
We’ve answered this at length: most people don’t need to shampoo daily. “Excessive shampooing strips your hair of good oils that help with shine and volume. Over-washing can cause your scalp to overproduce these oils resulting an oily mane, or under produce causing dry skin. This might be why you think you have dandruff. Try washing three or four times a week with a quality shampoo instead. Cutting back might feel weird at first, but after a few weeks your hair will never be the same.” —Lauren Rachel, men’s grooming expert at Boardroom Salon for Men(in various US locations)
Unless it’s a medicated shampoo: “If you have a scalp condition such as seborrheic dermatitis that requires medicated shampoos, it can be helpful to shower every day to keep the hair and scalp healthy and styled.” —Dr. Kendra Watson of Dakota Dermatology in Sioux Falls, SD
The general consensus on daily showers
Most people should shower daily, especially if they get sweaty, oily, or stinky. But take a short, warm (not hot!) shower. (Not 10-minute steaming-hot ones, twice a day, like me.)
Here are a few things to remember while showering daily, to minimize the impact.
Avoid harsh products:
“Showering daily isn’t necessary good for skin health, but isn’t a bad idea either. If you choose to shower daily, avoid using harsh, drying soaps and exfoliators, like loofahs and washcloths, that can overly dry the skin and cause itchiness, focus on the smelly areas of the body (groin, underarms, feet).” —Dr. James Collyer of Modern Dermatology in Seattle
Try a wipe down instead: “From an American culture perspective, you may be pushing it if you don’t reduce your odor on a daily basis, but that can be done without a full shower: Use a washcloth to clean the odorous parts such as underarms, groin, buttocks, and feet. Showering every day comes mostly from cultural norms and society; there is no medical or health reason to do it.” —Dr. Jeremy Fenton of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City
Lather on the lotions afterwards: “Moisturize right after the shower to lock in the moisture.” —Dr. James Collyer of Modern Dermatology in Seattle
Originally Appeared on GQ