Is taking a daily shower really all that necessary?
It depends. Doctors agree that if you have a labor-intensive job, live in a hot, humid climate, or exercise—basically, if anything makes you sweat—then yes, medical professionals recommend showering daily.
“Excess oil on the skin clogs the pores, which can lead to facial and body acne as well as folliculitis, or acne-like red bumps and pustules,” says dermatologist Monika G. Kiripolsky, M.D.
Plus, there’s the small matter of smelling better. Rinsing off every day can remove odor-producing oils and bacteria from your skin, says Jeffrey Benabio, M.D., Physician Director of Healthcare Transformation at Kaiser Permanente.
But guys who don’t perspire much can afford to go 2 to 3 days without showering, says Dr. Kiripolsky.
Excessive showering weakens your skin’s barrier function, making it more likely to react to fragrances, dyes, and other potential irritants. As a result, your skin can become red, dry, and itchy.
The real takeaway? Showering right is more important than showering often. Avoid harsh bar soaps that strip natural oils off your skin and use lukewarm water. Hydrate your skin when you’re still damp with a petrolatum-based product like Aquaphor, and avoid acne-prone areas like your face, Dr. Kiripolsky says.
And if you don’t feel like scrubbing your whole body every time you hop in the shower, at least show some love to your chest, armpits, and genitals: These areas are the biggest producers of sebrum, which is responsible for body odor and bacterial, fungal, and yeast growth, says Dr. Kiripolsky. Clean them with a washcloth and mild cleanser.