Doctors Tell How Showering Affects Immunity

Our immune system needs a certain amount of stimulation from normal microorganisms. Studies have shown that quarantine has radically changed people’s daily routines over the past year.

According to a YouGov survey on personal hygiene, 17 percent of people are showering less than usual.

The survey showed that only one in 10 people showers more often than before the pandemic. In the article, he said: “however, when it comes to health concerns, it’s not at all clear that a daily shower does much. In fact, showering daily may even be harmful to your health.”

Schmerling cited several reasons for this conclusion, from skin irritation to the destruction of beneficial bacteria by soap.

“Skin can become dry, irritated, or itchy. Dry, cracked skin can allow bacteria and allergens to penetrate the barrier that the skin is supposed to provide, leading to skin infections and allergic reactions. Antibacterial soap can actually kill normal bacteria. This disrupts the balance of microorganisms on the skin and promotes the emergence of hardier, less friendly organisms that are more resistant to antibiotics.

“Our immune system needs some stimulation from normal microorganisms, dirt, and other environmental factors to create protective antibodies and ‘immune memory’. This is one of the reasons why some pediatricians and dermatologists do not recommend taking Baby Baths daily. Frequent baths or showers throughout life can reduce the ability of the immune system to do its job.”

The main factor that reduces the benefits of taking a shower for us is that it allows us to retain more natural oils and microorganisms in our skin. The surface of the skin is home to trillions of microbes, many of which are extremely beneficial as they help strengthen your body’s immune system and preserve your complexion.

Microbes also play a key role in reducing the likelihood of skin disease and preventing potentially harmful pathogens from entering the body. They can often be washed away by taking a shower with soap and water, which means that changing people’s hygiene habits can be a good thing.

The YouGov survey also concluded that a quarter of people wash their hair less, and a third of people are less likely to wear clean clothes every day.

According to Harvard Medical School, when it comes to showering, “there is no ideal frequency,” although experts there recommend showering “several times a week” or more frequent and shorter ones, with an emphasis on the armpits and groin.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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