I know it’s important to shower, but is there such thing as showering too often or not enough? Should you always use soap? Do I have to wash my hair very often? If you have other hygiene tips, I’d love to hear them.
Nebraska Medicine University Health Center provider Szuhua Lambdin, APRN: You ask some great questions. Let’s break things down a bit.
How often should you shower?
It depends. For specific skin conditions, it is possible to shower too often or not enough. For instance, people who have dry skin conditions like eczema do not need to shower daily. And technique matters on dry skin, too. Instead of enthusiastic (and abrasive) scrubbing that can worsen dry skin, try gentle lathering with your hands. Skip loofahs, washcloths and exfoliating products.
However, if your skin is on the oily side, you should shower more often. If you deal with acne you should shower and wash your face daily or a couple of times a day. This will help with breakouts.
It also depends on your personal preference. If you feel better with a daily showering routine, go for it. If you would rather skip some days, that’s OK, but never go more than two or three days without washing your body with soap.
Do you need to use soap when you shower?
Yes, use soap on your groin, your armpits and your feet. These are areas that are prone to bacteria and can get smelly. Any other areas are likely good with water.
How often should you wash your hair?
When it comes to washing your hair, that is very individual. Some people need to wash their hair daily or it becomes too greasy, whereas some only wash their hair once every two weeks. When you need to wash your hair is driven by genetics, as well as the texture and thickness of your hair. For example, African American hair usually needs less frequent washing.
Other hygiene tips
The length and temperature of your shower can affect your skin as well. Don’t shower in too hot of water, and keep showers to about 10 minutes. Otherwise, you can dry out your skin.
Always put moisturizing cream (not lotion) on immediately after stepping out of the shower. This helps to lock in the moisture and rehydrate your skin. Some of the best brands are Cerave, Cetaphil and Aveeno, but there are many great ones.
You can’t train your skin or hair to be less oily or need less showering. There are instances where people have hormones that are out of alignment and, once their hormones get under control, we see improvement in their hair and skin. Otherwise, it’s hard to “train your skin.”