Stop Showering... It's making you dirty


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It's been rumored that King Louis XIV (The Sun King) took three baths in his entire life. Allegedly, he believed that a thick layer of bacteria on the skin would keep out germs from reaching your first "clean" layer of skin. Though it's difficult to find any evidence of this, perhaps even the rumor has some substance.

            According to Dr. Richard Gallo, a professor at the University of San Diego, excess bathing is counter-productive. "Good bacteria are educating your own skin cells to make your own antibiotics and they produce their own antibiotics that kills off bad bacteria." What this means is that excess showering is essentially killing good cells that fight off bacteria. Instead of getting cleaned, the skin becomes dry and irritated. Many soaps simply remove the lipids from the skin, the hot water carries them off, and the skin is left dry and over-exposed to germs. Furthermore, dermatologist Dr. Tabasum Mi seems to agree with Dr. Gallo, especially when it comes to loofahs. "Not only do you scrub off the healthy bacteria, you then hang it up in the shower where more bacteria breed. The next morning you rub that less-than-healthy bacteria back into your pores. It's pretty gross when you think about it." 

Obviously, like anything, there are two sides to the argument. Elaine Larson, a professor at Columbia University simply states. "If it's cold and flu season, you want to get rid of the stuff that isn't a part of your own normal germs." To me, it is important to distinguish between "bad" germs and "good" germs. We often hear the word "germ" and immediately the word triggers negative connotation. However, such germs in our skin are healthy germs that help us stay clean by fighting off bacteria.

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            In short, these teams of researchers and professors are not advocating for people to stop showering all together. The take away is that showering each and every day, (I'm sure some of us shower twice a day), can actually be counter-productive. On days when there is no gym session or excess sweating, it may be worth skipping out on a shower. Does it gross you out, or does it seem logical?  

6 Comments

That is pretty cool to know. I know a couple of people who shower 2 or more times a day. Besides wasting all of the power and water that they use to wash themselves they are washing away the bacteria that could probably help them stay healthier. So it would probably be pretty smart to tell them that they can skip a day. It doesn't really gross me out because i have been in situations where it requires me to not be able to shower for a little while. So it does not really gross me out. According to Wikihow it is good to"Wash every other day so the oils in your hair can nourish your hair" (http://www.wikihow.com/Have-Great-Hair). What do you think?

Pretty interesting post, but I think what needs to be established is what is an "excessive" amount of showering? Once a day? Twice a day? And at what point would all of that become ultimately harmful to your health?

It makes sense that we need some form of bacteria on us so that our bodies can get sued to them and know how to fight them off. The fact about the loofah really grossed me out when thinking about the amount of bacteria that breeds on it after you shower even though it is supposed to "clean" you. Is there any other way of cleansing ourselves that is more "clean"? I feel like there isn't much to do about that, because everything will hold bacteria.

I agree with Levi, that showering more than once a day is excessive and so wasteful of energy and resources. It really is entirely unnecessary unless you were rolling around in the dirt. Besides a few circumstances, I think showers should be limited to one per day. But even that, like William stated, is that considered excessive? Is once a day harmful to your health?

Interesting article. I've always known that some bacteria is good for you because it keeps your immune system strong and they "educate" your skin cells as you said in your blog post. I've seen parents growing up with their kids that either have OCD or are just 'health-nuts' but it is ironic because while they think they are being extra extra clean and healthy and doing what is best for themselves or their child, they are actually doing the opposite. The occasionally jump in a pile of mud should be allowed for kids because it keeps some bacteria on there. But it does seem logical to maybe miss a shower here and there. I believe however this is an example of everything in moderation. It would be interesting to see a study done of how much bacteria you have on you if you shower twice daily vs 1 daily vs once every other day and see how healthy these people are in comparison.

This blog entry reminds me of a quote, "Too much of a good thing is a bad thing." I guess this can be applied to showers? This is similar to the suggestions to not wash your hair everyday, because hair washing can also wash away the healthy oils hair needs. The reasons you said about the body needing to keep good bacteria relates to why when we were children, our parents made us go outside and play: to get dirty and build up antibodies to help us not as likely to get sick in the future.
So many showers are bad for you..how about long showers?
I looked it up, and apparently long showers could be bad for you as well! Not only does it waste clean water (more than 1 billion people in the world still don't have access to clean water), but long showers open the pores of our skin, meaning bacteria can enter more easily. Long showers also tend to dry out the skin, the skin needs to be moist in order for it to protect your body; it is the biggest organ of the human body after all.

Wow,a guy who uses loofahs all the time,I only came to know that they are no good for me at dermatological level.What's even worse,I don't usually follow the advice of renewing a loofah every three months.It is absolutely a bad thing to hear that during the process of scrubbing off metabolical wastes on the body,I am also endangering myself with a relatively larger exposure to more bacteria.But I vary my shower frenquency based on seasons.Right now during winters,I shower much less often than summer.But I've heard people talking about our bodies produce rather similar amount of wastes for both summer and winter.I got confused by that,which could be good to blog about:)

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