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Shower routines: how often should you shower?

Showering is one of those things most of us do on auto-pilot without overthinking it, but ever wondered how your shower routine measures up, and how often you’re really meant to be lathering up? Interestingly, our shower routines (or baths if you prefer a long soak) can have an impact on not only how we look and feel, but our general health, too. Here’s what you need to know.

When it comes to how often to shower, most experts agree that one shower (or bath) a day is enough to keep most of us clean and healthy. Of course, factors like our lifestyles and activity levels also play a part. Work up a daily sweat in HIIT classes? You’ll probably want to shower afterward. Work with food, in a hospital or outdoors? An extra shower when you get home sounds like a smart move.

Although how regularly we shower usually comes down to personal preference and how active we are, other factors can impact our routine – like our skin type, health issues or even our age. For example, some women experiencing menopausal symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats, might prefer to shower more regularly, along with those with oilier skin types. Likewise, very young babies and children usually need to be washed less frequently and those with dry skin might find themselves showering less often, for fear of drying out skin (more on that shortly).

What happens when we don’t shower enough?

We get it – it’s tempting to press snooze and skip the shower sometimes, but not showering often enough can exacerbate a multitude of skin complaints ranging from mild skin irritation and dull-looking skin to conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and acne.You also increase the risk of fungal infections if you don’t regularly wash away the build-up of dead skin cells, dirt, sweat and bacteria on the skin’s surface. Oh, and there’s the small issue of body odor too – when sweat mixes with the natural bacteria on skin, that’s when things can start to take a strong smelling turn for the worse.

Experiencing dry or sensitive skin and worried about showering too much? If the thought of a daily shower makes your skin feel dry or itchy, it’s time to upgrade your products. Unlike ordinary soap, the Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar is hypoallergenic and doesn’t leave a residue on skin or dry it out, making it a great daily shower companion. Our Dove Body Love Moisture Boost Serum-Infused Body Cleanser is made with face care ingredients like hyaluronic acid serum and moringa oil, boosting your skin’s moisture and fortifying that delicate skin barrier.

What can happen if we shower too often?

While not showering enough is a no-go in the skin stakes, the same can be said for showering too often. As well as washing away any bad bacteria on the skin, showering too much means any beneficial bacteria, which our immune system needs to function, is also washed off. Some experts say this can make us more susceptible to infection – not great news.

As well as wasting water, taking more showers than we need can also strip our skin and hair’s natural oils which disrupts the skin barrier, causing dryness and irritation. Those suffering from conditions like psoriasis or eczema can also experience flare-ups. Need more than one or two showers a day? In hot temperatures or if you’re working out regularly it might be necessary, in which case aim to keep showers short (a few minutes each) and avoid hot temperatures which can aggravate skin. Using a gentle cleanser or shower gel can also help – our Dove Soothing Care Body Wash for Sensitive Skin with calendula oil hydrates and replenishes skin in just one shower.

Should you have a hot or cold shower after a workout? 

Tempted to dial down the temperature to enjoy those health-boosting properties? Interestingly, studies suggest that both cold and warm water exposure after exercise can have its benefits. Studies indicate that cold showers, for example, can stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, as well as strengthening recovery and even improving your immune system and mood. Likewise, research has found that because heat can increase blood flow, a warm shower or bath can also prove beneficial when it comes to recovery. 

Unsure which temperature to choose? Mixing it up could be a smart call, since alternating between hot and cold can bring about impressive health benefits (one study showed people who routinely enjoy hot-to-cold showers reported a 29% reduction in sick leave from work). The good part? Just 30 seconds of cold water is all it takes.

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