How Often Should You Shower? (2023)

For many people, showering is an everyday event, as much a ritual as brushing your teeth or taking daily medications. Others contend that daily showering isn't necessary and that it is perfectly okay to do so a few times a week. Or, even once a week.

The decision is based a lot on personal preference but also your lifestyle. If you're physically active, daily showering may be needed. But, if you over-shower—say, two or three times a day—it can disrupt the barrier function of the skin, stripping away oils and healthy bacteria. This can lead to dry, cracked skin and an increased risk of skin infections.

On the flip side, not showering or bathing enough can lead to equally serious harm.

This article discusses how often should you shower compared to how often most people in the United States shower or bathe. It also looks at what happens if you don't shower enough and how to protect the barrier function of your skin by showering wisely.

How Often Should You Shower? (1)

How Often Adults Should Shower

People in the United States shower a lot. By way of example, a 2013 study in Environmental Health reported that 76% of females in the U.S. shower at least once daily, and 28% take a bath at least once daily.

While showering daily is not necessarily "unhealthy," it also may not be necessary. For most people, a full-body shower every other day or every third day is likely enough.

Healthy skin has a natural layer of oil and bacteria that help keep it from drying out. Excessive exposure to soap and water, especially hot water, can strip away this protective layer, which can cause the skin to become dry, flaky, and itchy. This can be particularly problematic for people with skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema.

On days when you don't shower, you can use a clean washcloth to wipe yourself down. It's also a good idea to wash your face every night to remove dirt, makeup, and sunscreen, which can all clog pores.

It's important to wash your hands. Wash more frequently when you're sick or are around others who are sick to help prevent the spread of infection.

Who Needs to Shower Every Day

Shower daily if you get dirty, sweaty, or are exposed to allergens or dangerous chemicals at work or in your activities. Examples of those who may consider showering every day include:

  • Farm workers
  • Animal rescue volunteers and staff
  • Landscapers
  • People who garden
  • Construction workers
  • Funeral directors
  • Athletes
  • Fitness instructors
  • People who do intense workouts

Avoid showering twice a day unless it is really necessary.

Bathing needs can change throughout the year. If you live in a region that is very hot in the summer and cold in the winter, a daily shower may be necessary only during the summer months.

How Long Can You Go Without Showering?

How long you can go between showers depends on your day-to-day activities, how dirty or sweaty you get, and what types of allergens or chemicals you may be exposed to.

(Video) How Often Do You Really Need to Shower?

Going too long without bathing can lead to body odor. Dead skin cells, sweat, and oil also tend to build up, which can clog pores. This may trigger acne breakouts in people who are prone to them.

After exercising or working up a sweat, be sure to shower and change as soon as possible. Wearing sweaty, moist clothes for long periods can increase the risk of bacterial or fungal infections, such as jock itch.

What Happens If You Go Months Without Showering?

Going months without bathing can lead to dermatitis neglecta (DN), a condition where brown patches of dead cells, dirt, sweat, and grime form on the skin. This condition tends to impact people who are unable to adequately clean their bodies.

It can also develop after surgery if a patient is afraid to clean the area around the incision or finds it painful to do so.

Whatever the cause, DN is easily treated simply by washing the affected skin regularly.

An Overview of Dermatitis Neglecta

Healthy Showering Tips

No matter how often you shower, there are things you can do to keep your skin as healthy as possible.

  • Use warm water. Hot water can strip the skin of protective oils, like sebum.
  • Keep it short. Five to 10 minutes is ideal.
  • Use a non-drying soap. Whether you prefer a bar or liquid body cleanser, choose one labeled as moisturizing.
  • Use soap only on select areas of the body. Limit lather to spots prone to odor—armpits, groin, buttocks, and feet.
  • Be gentle. If you use a body scrub or loofah, don't scrub too hard. When using a towel, pat your skin dry instead of rubbing.
  • Moisturize after showering. If your skin tends to be dry or sensitive, slather your body with a fragrance-free moisturizing cream, body lotion, or oil while your skin is still damp.
  • Keep poufs and loofahs clean. Damp sponges, loofahs, and shower poufs are breeding grounds for bacteria and mildew. Let them air dry outside of the shower and replace or sanitize them in a dishwasher at least every other month.

Summary

Each person's bathing needs will differ depending on a variety of factors including the weather, their job environment, and hobbies. In general, showering every other day or every few days is typically sufficient.

Keep in mind that showering twice a day or frequently taking hot or long showers can strip your skin of important oils. This can lead to dry, itchy skin. Skipping showers for long periods of time can also cause issues including infections, acne, and dermatitis neglecta.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How often should I shower if I have eczema?

    Ideally, shower once a day for five to 10 minutes. This will add moisture to your skin. To lock it in, pat skin gently with a towel, apply medication to affected areas of skin, and apply moisturizer to your entire body within the first few minutes of exiting the shower.

    Learn More:How to Keep Skin Hydrated

    (Video) How Often You Should Shower And Wash Hair | Responding To Comments Ep. 22
  • How often should I change my bath towel?

    At least once a week. More importantly, allow towels to dry completely between uses, as dampness can breed bacteria. Spread towels out to dry on a towel bar rather than hanging them on a hook to speed up the process.

  • How often should my teenager shower?

    If they've hit puberty, a daily shower is ideal. Kids this age should especially shower after swimming, playing sports, or sweating a lot. They also should wash their face because excess oil and dirt can contribute to acne.

    Learn More:When Your Smelly Teen Refuses to Shower

9 Sources

(Video) How Often Should You Be Showering?

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Agopian AJ, Waller K, Lupo PJ, Canfield MA, Mitchell LE. A case–control study of maternal bathing habits and risk for birth defects in offspring. Environ Health.2013;12:88. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-12-88

  2. National Eczema Association. Eczema and bathing.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Handwashing: clean hands save lives.

  4. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Acne: who gets and causes.

  5. MedlinePlus. Jock itch.

  6. Saha A, Seth J, Sharma A, Biswas D. Dermatitis neglecta -- a dirty dermatosis: report of three cases. Indian J Dermatol. 2015;60(2):185-187. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.152525

  7. National Eczema Association. Eczema and bathing.

  8. Cleveland Clinic. How often should you wash your (germ magnet of a) bath towel?

  9. American Academy of Dermatology. Bathing: how often do children need to take a bath?

By Angela Palmer
Angela Palmer is a licensed esthetician specializing in acne treatment.

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(Video) Just how often should we bath/shower?

FAQs

Is showering once a week OK? ›

A daily shower isn't necessary. ' Mitchell suggested showering or bathing once or twice a week, and experts generally say a few times a week rather than daily is plenty. Also, keep showers short and lukewarm, as too much water, particularly hot water, dries out the skin.

How often does the average person shower? ›

In the United States, most people bathe daily but, in other countries, many people bathe only 2-3 times per week or less. Many times it can come down to habit and ritual, as daily showers can help people feel more awake, avoid body odor, relax tight muscles or simply because that's what they've been taught to do.

How long can I go without showering? ›

"If your skin tends not to be dry, you could extend it to every other day or so." If you take it from a certified germ expert, though, you can skip showering for as long as you wish.

Do we need to shower everyday? ›

While there is no ideal frequency, experts suggest that showering several times per week is plenty for most people (unless you are grimy, sweaty, or have other reasons to shower more often). Short showers (lasting three or four minutes) with a focus on the armpits and groin may suffice.

Is 3 days gross without showering? ›

Health Risks Of Not Showering Enough

Yikes. “Some adults who go longer than 3-4 days between showers run the risk of accumulating patches of dark, scaly skin, especially in oily areas, and an accumulation of 'bad' bacteria which can lead to fungal or bacterial infections,” adds Dr. Young.

Is it unhealthy to shower everyday? ›

Many doctors say a daily shower is fine for most people. (More than that could start to cause skin problems.) But for many people, two to three times a week is enough and may be even better to maintain good health. It depends in part on your lifestyle.

How often do the French shower? ›

Most French People Don't Shower Every Day, Study Shows

The remaining 8% shower just once every four days... or less. And when the French are in the shower, it's not for very long, either. The study found that a French person spends, on average, nine minutes a day in the shower.

Is it OK to shower once a month? ›

Poor hygiene or infrequent showers can cause a buildup of dead skin cells, dirt, and sweat on your skin. This can trigger acne, and possibly exacerbate conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema. Showering too little can also trigger an imbalance of good and bad bacteria on your skin.

Which race showers the most? ›

According to Kantar Worldpanel, Brazil takes the cake when it comes to overall showering. The average Brazilian averages 14 showers per week, or around two showers a day. This is nearly double the rate of every other country in the survey. For the rest of the world, the average number of showers per week is five.

Will I smell if I don't shower for one day? ›

When you skip showering for a couple days, it can lead to your body releasing potentially unpleasant odors. Dr. Muhammad says, “Body odors form naturally as a result of bacteria on the skin breaking sweat down into acid. By not washing while continuing to sweat, bad smells will just get worse and worse.”

What happens if you don't shower for 2 months? ›

What Happens If You Go Months Without Showering? Going months without bathing can lead to dermatitis neglecta (DN), a condition where brown patches of dead cells, dirt, sweat, and grime form on the skin. This condition tends to impact people who are unable to adequately clean their bodies.

What are the benefits of not showering? ›

Showering less preserves your skin's natural microbiome

This means making sure our skin stays as healthy as possible. Say goodbye to pricey topical ointments and let your skin do what it does best naturally when left to its own devices succinctly, illustrated in this NPR interview.

When did humans start bathing daily? ›

According to an article from JStor, it wasn't until the early 20th century when Americans began to take daily baths due to concerns about germs. More Americans were moving into cities, which tended to be dirtier, so folks felt as if they needed to wash more often.

Can you wash your body with just water? ›

All you absolutely need, bare bones, to stay clean is water. Just water. Water does a fine job of rinsing away dirt without stripping vital oils from your skin. Also, avoid those luxurious long, hot showers.

Should you shower at night or in the morning? ›

“Humans tend to perspire at night,” Dr. Goldenberg said. “When you wake up in the morning, there's all this sweat and bacteria from the sheets that's just kind of sitting there on your skin.” So take a quick shower in the morning, he said, “to wash all of that gunk and sweat off that you've been sleeping in all night.”

What would happen if you didn't shower for a year? ›

Skipping your shower could lead to an excess of dead skin cell buildup, says Amy Wechsler, a New York City dermatologist. Hyperkeratosis, which is the thickening of the outer layer of the skin, would undoubtedly occur. Rashes and itchy irritation will occur.

How can I stay clean without showering? ›

How Can I Stay Clean Without Showering?
  1. BRING A WASHCLOTH. I prefer to use a square of synthetic chamois camp towel because it's lighter and dries more quickly than cotton.
  2. WEAR DEODORANT. ...
  3. USE BAKING SODA AS DRY SHAMPOO. ...
  4. DEODORIZE YOUR SHOES. ...
  5. HAND-WASH YOUR CLOTHES.
1 Apr 2013

How often do men shower? ›

Nearly 40 percent of the guys we spoke to said they don't shower once a day, with 15 percent preferring every other day, and a freakishly extra clean 12 percent showering more than once a day.

Are cold showers healthy? ›

Cold showers can help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, improve circulation, lower stress levels, and reduce muscle soreness and fatigue. Hot showers, meanwhile, can improve cardiovascular health, soothe stiff joints, and improve sleep. Understanding when to take a hot or cold shower is essential.

How long should a shower take? ›

According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Edidiong Kaminska, MD, the recommended maximum shower time is about 5 to 10 minutes. This is enough time to cleanse and hydrate the skin without overdoing it.

How do you properly take a shower? ›

Do a quick rinse to wet your skin before applying any soap. Using a loofah, washcloth, or just your hands, apply bar soap or bodywash to your body. Start at your neck and shoulders, and work your way down the length of your body. Don't forget to wash your legs and get between your toes with soap and water.

How often do Japanese people shower? ›

Research suggests that whereas people in many parts of Europe and America now make do with just a shower nearly 90% of the time, in Japan between 70% and 80% of people still bathe in the traditional way at least several times a week. This rises to 90% or more in families with small children.

How often do Russians shower? ›

1 in 5 Russian citizens have no water supplies in their houses and so shower only once a week. Daily Shower Stats – 30% of women and 221% of men shower once a day. Weekly Bathing Breakdown – On average Chinese citizens have 5 showers and 3 baths a week.

How often do Germans shower? ›

The same study showed Brazilians, on average, shower for 10.3 minutes a time. Americans spend 9.9 minutes under the water, us Brits 9.6 minutes, and the Germans half a minute less.
...
Country% of people who shower each week% of people who bath each week
Germany92%20%
Brazil99%7%
China85%11%
USA90%13%
1 more row
30 Aug 2019

How long should a shower take for a girl? ›

Dermatologists recommend keeping showers relatively short (around 5-15 minutes) so you don't dry out your skin. However, if you're washing and conditioning your hair, shaving your legs, or just trying to relax and unwind, it might take a bit longer. Take as long as you need to get everything done! Thanks!

Is showering every other day gross? ›

You can get away with showering every other day or at least three times a week to stay clean. Bank says there are perks to skipping the shower, since over-showering can disrupt your skin's moisture balance, leading to dry and flaky skin.

Can you skip a shower for a day? ›

"It's definitely fine to skip showers once in a while," says Lipner. As long as you're washing your hands to get rid of germs, you can wait until tomorrow.

What is the fear of taking a shower called? ›

Ablutophobia is the overwhelming fear of bathing, cleaning, or washing. It's an anxiety disorder that falls under the category of specific phobias. Specific phobias are irrational fears centered around a particular situation.

How often do the English shower? ›

Most Brits (62%) bathe or shower at least once a day, and in the shower Brits spend on average between 7-8 minutes – but there's more than just washing going on while we're in there.

How often do Mexicans wash their hair? ›

Hair washing generally correlated with the frequency of showers, too – except for Mexicans, who wash their hair much more often than anyone else, with an average of over six shampoos a week. Indians in the poll wash their tresses the least, with an average of two shampoos per week.

Can I go a week without washing my hair? ›

How Much Should You Wash? For the average person, every other day, or every 2 to 3 days, without washing is generally fine. “There is no blanket recommendation. If hair is visibly oily, scalp is itching, or there's flaking due to dirt,” those are signs it's time to shampoo, Goh says.

What are the benefits of not showering? ›

Showering less preserves your skin's natural microbiome

This means making sure our skin stays as healthy as possible. Say goodbye to pricey topical ointments and let your skin do what it does best naturally when left to its own devices succinctly, illustrated in this NPR interview.

How often should a teenager shower? ›

Tweens and teens should shower daily. (Their newly stinky pits will probably clue you in when it's time to step up their hygiene game.) They should also wash their face twice a day.

Why should you only wash your hair once a week? ›

shampoo can strip your hair of natural oils, and using heat products on your hair over and over again causes further damage and breakage, so washing your hair only once a week actually helps keep it in great condition.

What is the no poo method? ›

The no-poo method involves forgoing shampoo containing detergents that strip your hair of its natural oils. Your hair won't smell, because you're still cleansing it. Research the best shampoo alternatives for you: water only, conditioner only, coconut oil, ACV and baking soda, or a no-poo product.

Does wetting your hair count as washing? ›

Let's be clear though: by wetting your hair, we don't meanwashing it. We simply mean rinsing natural hair either in the shower or spritzing water over your hair. Washing natural hair with shampoo everyday is not recommended, as this can dry the hair out significantly and cause stress to curls.

Can I wash my hair with just water? ›

Water is effective at washing away dirt, dust, and other water-soluble debris from the hair and scalp without stripping the hair of this sebum. However, Mamelak notes that if there are other oils in the hair (from a haircare or styling product, for example), a good portion of these will be left behind as well.

Does your body naturally clean itself? ›

A healthy body eliminates unhealthy substances naturally, a self-cleaning system – the kidneys filter toxins from the blood and excretes them in urine, the liver helps remove unwanted substances from the body, the lungs breathe out toxins and the digestive tract absorbs the nutrition from food while letting unhealthy ...

What happens if you don't shower for 2 months? ›

What Happens If You Go Months Without Showering? Going months without bathing can lead to dermatitis neglecta (DN), a condition where brown patches of dead cells, dirt, sweat, and grime form on the skin. This condition tends to impact people who are unable to adequately clean their bodies.

How long should a shower take? ›

According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Edidiong Kaminska, MD, the recommended maximum shower time is about 5 to 10 minutes. This is enough time to cleanse and hydrate the skin without overdoing it.

What do you call someone who doesn't shower? ›

For people with ablutophobia, that means trying to avoid bathing and washing, which can lead to different problems for health, well-being, and social acceptance.

What age should girls shower themselves? ›

It could be as late as nine or 10 years old, although some kids are ready by age six or seven. Children with special needs will likely be older when they're ready to transition. Paediatrician Sanjeev Luthra from Brampton, Ont., says a child's readiness largely depends on their exposure to independent hygiene.

Why does my daughter not want to shower? ›

One of the most important things to consider about kids who have poor hygiene is that refusal to shower, bathe, or brush their teeth can sometimes be a symptom of depression, bipolar disorder, trauma, or another mental health issue.

How often should you change your sheets? ›

Most people should wash their sheets once per week. If you don't sleep on your mattress every day, you may be able to stretch this to once every two weeks or so. Some people should wash their sheets even more often than once a week.

How do girls shower faster? ›

How To Speed Up Your Shower
  1. Don't turn on the water until you're ready. ...
  2. Try a cleansing conditioner. ...
  3. Read more: Why You Need To Be Using A Hair Scrub.
  4. Multi-task. ...
  5. Turn off the water whilst you lather up. ...
  6. Finish on an ice-cold rinse. ...
  7. Make dry shampoo your best friend.
19 Mar 2019

Videos

1. How Often Should You Shower?
(BuzzFeed Multiplayer)
2. How Often Do You Really Need To Shower?
(CBS New York)
3. How Often Should You Shower?
(Cleveland Clinic)
4. The Raging Controversy Over How Often You Should Bathe
(DoctorOz)
5. HOW TO SHOWER PROPERLY | Shower Routine & Hygiene Routine
(Audrey Victoria)
6. Doctor Settles The "Shower Daily" Controversy
(Doctor Mike)
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