How often should a person shower?

I read somewhere that dermatologists say it is better for one to shower once every 2-3 days not to eliminate good bacteria and to keep the skin healthy. How true is this, and how frequently should one shower?

Dear Doctor,

I read somewhere that dermatologists say it is better for one to shower once every 2-3 days not to eliminate good bacteria and to keep the skin healthy. How true is this, and how frequently should one shower? James

Dear James,

Showering has been linked to personal cleanliness and hygiene. How many times one takes a shower and in what way, is linked to geographical, social, cultural and economic factors. People living in hot climates would shower daily and more frequently than people living in cold climates. Easy access to water, surplus water, nature of work of a person are other factors that determine the frequency of bathing.

With increasing awareness regarding good hygiene, daily bathing has been considered to be useful. However soap and warm water used for shower tend to make the skin dry, thus increasing risk of chapping and peeling. A dry skin becomes itchy. Scratching can cause secondary infection manifesting as boils and abscess. Allergy to the chemicals present in soap or shower gel can cause eczema or skin rashes. It can also precipitate or aggravate attacks of asthma. Scrubbing the skin while taking a shower, can deplete the skin of useful bacteria.

Considering these factors, some experts advocate not to take a daily shower. A daily shower has its own benefits. It removes the dirt, toxins adhering to the body, removes bad odor of sweat and other body fluids and rejuvenates the body. Bathing also helps one to feel relaxed after a hard day. Considering these advantages, one can take a shower daily as well. But one should avoid using very warm water. Organic soaps should be used in place of those containing chemicals. After shower, a suitable moisturizing lotion should be applied over the still damp body to prevent dryness. By adopting these measures, the risks of daily bath can be minimised.