Cleansing Reduction or Showering Daily?

Showering  http://www.everystockphoto.com/photographer.php?photographer_id=12523
Showering http://www.everystockphoto.com/photographer.php?photographer_id=12523

Bathing or Showering Daily


Back in the days when I was a girl and before we had a plumbed in bathroom, bathing was a weekly chore not to be undertaken lightly. I say chore because it wasn’t easy. Bathing or showering daily wasn’t an option. The water had to be drawn from the tap in jugs and poured into a tin bath which was set in front of the fire.

You were very lucky indeed if you got a bath and hairwash more than once or twice a week. Obviously all this changed with the advent of proper plumbed in bathrooms and nowadays it isn’t unusual for people to bath or shower more than once a day.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness http://www.everystockphoto.com/photographer.php?photographer_id=109957
Cleanliness is next to Godliness http://www.everystockphoto.com/photographer.php?photographer_id=109957

Cleanliness is next to Godliness


Cleanliness is next to godliness they say but do we really need to have all these baths and showers? Did you know for instance that surgeons and operating theatre personnel are normally asked not to shower immediately prior to entering into an operating theatre? (Source: Dr Elaine Larson)

When you wash using antibacterial/antimicrobial gels or soaps this will clean the bacteria from your skin but normal washing with ordinary soaps and shower gels doesn’t do this. In fact what it does do is disturb the skin microbiota and disperse the microcolonies into the air and thus the shower or bathtub. The shower room then is really not the place to be before performing an operation on a vulnerable patient because bacterial counts on the skin have been found to be higher after showering or bathing with non antibacterial soap. Although this microbiota is not easily transferred from person to person by skin contact, many of the microbes are dangerous and even fatal if they enter the body through an open wound.

Poll

How Often do you Take a Shower or Bath?

  • Every Day
  • Every Other Day
  • Three Times a Week
  • Twice a Week
  • Once a Week or Less
See results without voting

Skin Bacteria


This is not to say that you should use antibacterial products on a daily basis in an endeavour to have a body free from skin bacteria. There needs to be a certain amount of bacteria on the body for immunistic purposes. The only time it becomes a problem is if you are about to have surgery or have a depleted immune system in which case daily body cleaning with an antimicrobial solution such as Octenisan® may be recommended by your surgeon.

Skin Microbiota - Staphyloccus Epidermis Google.com Labelled for Reuse
Skin Microbiota - Staphyloccus Epidermis Google.com Labelled for Reuse
  • A shower every day

A shower every day or a daily bath definitely has benefits but they are more psychological than antibacterial. A bath or shower makes you feel better; it relieves stress and relaxes tired and aching muscles.

  • Skin Chemistry

Everyone’s skin is different so whilst one person may suffer from dry or irritated skin from daily bathing another may not.

A Healthy Skin


So if you thought that the more you bathed the cleaner you would be; you were wrong dear reader. A healthy skin isn’t necessarily achieved by frequent showering and bathing. Apparently even without a daily bath for a prolonged period the microflora of the skin remains quite stable

By Wong, D.J. and Chang, H.Y. Skin tissue engineering (March 31, 2009), StemBook, ed. The Stem Cell Research Community, StemBook, doi/10.3824/stembook.1.44.1, http://www.stembook.org. [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wiki
By Wong, D.J. and Chang, H.Y. Skin tissue engineering (March 31, 2009), StemBook, ed. The Stem Cell Research Community, StemBook, doi/10.3824/stembook.1.44.1, http://www.stembook.org. [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wiki

The skin is made up of a protective outer layer which is a layer of hardened dead skin cells bound by fatty compounds called lipids. It is these lipids that keep the skin moist. If you take a hot shower or bath and scrub yourself vigorously; whilst it may feel good you could be damaging your skin’s Stratum Corneum which is the technical term for the protective outer layer. The combination of hot water and soap dissolves the lipids in your skin and causes trans-epidermal water loss. Because you are doing this damage on a daily basis your skin does not have time to fully recover.

How you can minimise damage to skin

Method
Damage Minimised?
Damage worsened?
Not using a Loofah
Yes
No
Using non moisturising Shower Gel
No
Yes
Bathing/Showering every day
No
Yes
Bathing once a week
Yes
No
Towel Drying
No
Yes
Air drying
Yes
No
Choose the tips above to minimise damage to skin
Photograph attributed to Flash.pro www.everystockphoto.com/photographer.php?photographer_id=14295
Photograph attributed to Flash.pro www.everystockphoto.com/photographer.php?photographer_id=14295 | Source

Is bathing or showering less often harmful?


If you look back at your grandparents lives, they probably didn’t have the facilities for daily bathing. In fact it used to be traditional for the whole of the family to bathe in the same water. If you were an only child you were very fortunate but imagine if you were one of 10! Added to that, the washing sometimes used to go in there as well.

Obviously in a hot summer or if you work in a manual occupation and sweat a lot or take part in daily sport or exercise you will need to take a shower to wash away the sweat but if you live a sedentary life and don’t break into a sweat it isn’t harmful to skip the shower or bath. Provided armpits and other sweat producing areas are washed, the rest of the body and hair can be safely left alone and may even benefit from the rest. It must also be remembered that the hands are the part of the body which contain the most bacteria so they should be washed regularly; especially after using the lavatory or handling pets or raw meat.

Washing skin the alternative way


There is an alternative to washing skin, with a method that uses no water. It is called DryBath™ and was invented by a young student from Cape Town. It is ideal for use in countries where water is at a premium and infection is rife as the gel is germicidal. The gel is thought to save up to 10 litres of water on conventional body washing methods. It contains moisturisers too so will not dry out the skin as conventional washing does. At present it is not available to retail consumers for purchase but the website states that it will be soon

Source

New trend


It may surprise you to learn that Prince Harry is just one of the famous people skipping the shower in a new trend called ‘cleansing reduction’. This trend involves bathing just once or twice a week to reduce damage to the skin due to depletion of the skin’s oils. Rather than washing the hair daily, dry shampoo products are used.

The added benefits are that less bathing and showering means lower water consumption. Ah! How things come full circle.

© Susan Bailey 2013 All Rights Reserved


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20 comments

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Well who would have guessed that about not washing before performing an operation? Wow! all those bacteria! Seriously, I would never ever have thought of this! I did however know that if you flush a toilet and stand near it you get covered in bacteria from the toilet! lol! there are toilets down the local park that don't have a top to them, people flush, then wash their hands! I on the other hand, wash my hands first, open the door then dive back to flush! lol! great info, shared and pinned. nell


LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

I used to wash my hair every day when I had a shower. For decades. I recall being genuinely surprised when I discovered that I could still have nice hair for a couple of days without washing it. Now that I live off the grid I shudder to think how much more water I would have to collect if my entire family wanted to take the time to wash and condition their hair every day.

Interesting hub. Voted up +.


Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK Author

Thanks Nell. That surprised me too.


Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK Author

Thank you LTM. We do waste such a lot of water with our daily ablutions. I only wash my hair every two to three days.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is a very interesting and informative hub, Sue. It contains a lot of food for thought! Thanks for providing all the facts. I'll share this hub.


Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK Author

Thank you Alicia. Much appreciated.


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 3 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Interesting hub. I have read that some experts believe that the rise in the numbers of babies suffering from eczema and other skin conditions is because they are now bathed so frequently. Infants don't really sweat, so 'topping and tailing' is all they really need and their delicate sking can't handle soap or harsh detergents.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

This is a very interesting hub. I would not have thought about more bacteria with showering before surgery. Lots of great information.


Gypsy48 profile image

Gypsy48 3 years ago

Interesting hub. I've cut back on washing my hair everyday and shower with warm water instead of the steamy hot showers I use to take. I didn't realize how damaging hot water was to the skin and hair. Voted up.


Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK Author

I can see how that might be the case CMHypno. I used to top and tail my babies every other day. Thanks for your comment.


Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK Author

Yes Pamela that surprised me too. Thanks for taking the time to comment.


Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK Author

We can still learn a thing or two from our our ancestors


angryelf profile image

angryelf 3 years ago from Tennessee

I've personally always wondered how damaging daily washing was to the hair; I mean, it produces oils for a reason. I would think that stripping them would lead to thinned hair, brittle/dry hair, etc. Anyway, voted up! Great hub!


Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK Author

Thanks angryelf for the vote. I think provided you condition it to put the oils back in it will be okay but it isn't necessary in my opinion to wash hair every day unless you do a really dirty job.


angryelf profile image

angryelf 3 years ago from Tennessee

That is true, but then again I think the initial stripping is what's so bad. Now, the sulfate free shampoos... wow! I used a set of the sulfate free, and my hair was incredible. Go back to what I consider the "crappy" kind now (even though it is technically good stuff) and my hair returns to being dull and frizzy. There's clearly a lot of hype for a reason I've found :)


Abby Campbell profile image

Abby Campbell 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

This is very interesting, Sue! Because I workout and get sweaty nearly every day of the week, I feel it is a necessity to take a shower each day... at least for the sake of my family. LOL. Quite interesting about Prince on Prince Harry as well. Hmmm... .


Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK Author

Yes, I'll bet his Granny has something to say about it! Thanks Abby


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

Wow! I learned a lot about bathing in your hub. I have never heard about the bacteria being released in the air after showers. That's interesting. But, what's really ironic for me is that after bathing, I apply body lotion all over my skin. After reading your hub, I'm going to look into doing what Prince Harry does. And, I'll be glad when DryBath(TM) is released.


Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 2 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK Author

Yes the DryBath™ sounds like a good idea Marlene. It could be good for if you need to have a hospital stay.


Miss Muse profile image

Miss Muse 2 years ago from Ohio

Huh, I never considered bathing a lot could be harmful to the skin. Useful and good Hub!

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