Showering is often harmful to health

How often should you shower?

Especially in winter we often long for a long, hot shower. Neither too high a water temperature nor too frequent or too long showering are healthy for the skin. Consequently, the following applies: body cleansing should not become a wellness break, but simply washing off the dirt of everyday life.

"You don't shower for pleasure, but to clean yourself," says Werner Aberer, head of the University Clinic for Dermatology and Venereology at the Medical University of Graz. His recommendation: All you need to do is put shower gel on yourself in the shower and then rinse off again just as quickly. That is the end of the matter.

Skin type and environmental factors influence frequency

There is no standard answer to the question of how often to shower. That depends, among other things, on the skin type. "Ten to 20 percent of the population naturally have drier, more sensitive skin," says Aberer. "There are many different levels of what the individual's skin can withstand."

Environmental factors also determine how often we should or are allowed to take a shower. These include lifestyle habits, the professional environment, climatic conditions or how much someone sweats. When it comes to personal hygiene, the fulfillment of social expectations plays a major role: you don't want to spread any odor if possible. And if so, it should be a pleasant one.

A quick shower once a day is enough

From Aberer's point of view, it is enough to take a short shower once a day. "This is very useful and important for most people with normal skin," he recommends. Whether someone feels the need for a second shower depends on both lifestyle and personal feelings.

If you don't feel like taking a shower every day, you should at least clean the big bends, such as the armpits, but also the genitals every day. This reduces the number of bacteria. These like to be warm and humid and therefore multiply faster in the areas mentioned. If they decompose, they give off an unpleasant body odor.

If you shower frequently, you should use lots of cream

The surfactants contained in shower gels ensure that the dirt is loosened from the skin. The problem: it is degreased at the same time. "But we need the protective grease film on the skin, it is an important part of its barrier and keeps it in balance," explains Aberer. Therefore, the more often we shower, the more often we should apply lotion afterwards.

This ensures that the skin is re-oiled and kept supple. "Normal, healthy skin does not need any special care," explains the doctor, "but those who shower intensely should help it to stay healthy anyway." Even with increasing age, it is advisable to add oil to the skin after showering. Because over the years it loses its ability to regrease independently.

Lazy men are prone to skin problems

In everyday life it has become a matter of course for many women to apply lotion after showering, according to the expert. Men would shower often, but often forego greasing afterwards. "That is why there are many young men who suffer from inflammation of the skin. The surfactants make it practically dust-dry," the expert knows from experience.

The explanation for this: "If the skin is degreased, water penetrates into the superficial layers of the skin and can lead to damage." Even small injuries and infections can spread more easily if the protective grease film is damaged.

Recommendations for proper showering

The dermatologist gives the following recommendation for the correct shower: Do not shower too hot, preferably between 37 and 40 degrees Celsius. Firstly, so as not to scald the skin, secondly, to prevent the blood vessels from expanding - which leads to after-sweating.

The amount of shower gel should also not be excessive. That means: do not use too much, do not leave it on for too long. "Washing for hygienic reasons is important for every person and their environment", summarizes Aberer, "but too much stresses the skin." (Maria Kapeller, November 6th, 2017)