Your daily shower might be an essential part of your morning ritual, but it could damage your skin, says a recent study. The news might have stopped there, but the research behind this study set off an uncomfortable showering debate last week when “Glee” actress Naya Rivera suggested, while guest hosting on “The View,” that showering multiple times a day is “a white person thing.”
Twitter dragged Rivera for the next 24 hours, as her comments set off a firestorm of discussion about racism and hygiene.
The experts steered clear of the racial aspects of the debate, but did agree that Americans bathe too much.
Here’s what else they said: Frequent showers “undermine the integrity of the horny layer of the skin,” which is the part that retains moisture. The more often you use hot water and soap, the more you dry, irritate and crack your skin. This is further exacerbated by using a towel to dry off and frequent exfoliation, especially if you don’t apply moisturizer afterward. And very hot water washes away the good bacteria on your skin, leaving you susceptible to infection.
So what do the experts suggest?
- Skip the daily shower, unless you work out regularly. Otherwise, every two to three days is fine. Use lukewarm, not hot, water. Don’t dry yourself with a towel. Instead, apply baby oil to wet skin, and then drip dry. Follow up with lotion or other moisturizers.
- If you can’t stomach the idea of going without a shower, focus on sweaty, stinky areas, such as your armpits, groin and feet. You don’t have to hit your back, legs and arms every day.
- Give your really dirty areas a once over with soapy washcloth or cleansing towelette on non-shower days.
- Wear clean undies and clothes every day.
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