Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve learned that celebrities are not showering as much as you might think. Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Kristen Bell all seem to hold the same controversial opinion that the daily full-body shower is not necessary and that there are actually merits to avoiding it, whether it’s an environmental decision or a time-saving one.
Jake Gyllenhaal, ambassador for Prada brand, suggested that you might not need to shower if you have sensitive skin. “There’s a whole world of not bathing that is also really helpful for skin maintenance,” Gyllenhaal told Vanity Fair in a recent interview, adding his belief that “we naturally clean ourselves.”
Let’s find out: Is there a skin benefit to not showering as often as you would like? Perhaps every other day, once a week or around your shampoo schedule.
Gyllenhaal claims that our skin cleans its own skin, but it is not true. “Your body does not clean itself,” clarifies dermatologist Joshua Zeichner “Soap and water are the only things that can clean your body.”
Gyllenhaal’s reasoning is not completely wrong. From context clues, he’s likely referencing the skin’s microbiome, and the argument that the overuse of soaps and detergents may be stripping our skin of its good bacteria. James Hamblin, a preventive medicine physician, wrote an entire book on the concept, Clean: The New Study of Skin and the Beauty of Doing Less, making the claim that in terms of biology and maintaining a healthy skin flora, you probably don’t need to shower as often as every single day.
Dr. Zeichner says you can shower every other day, but it won’t make your skin look better. You also need to wash certain parts of your body daily. He says that showering every other day is acceptable. To prevent the growth of microorganisms on your skin, it is important to maintain good hygiene. You should wash sensitive areas such as the underarms and genitals with soap if you don’t shower every day. Showering after a hard workout or heavy sweating is a good idea.
It is best to continue to shower every day or as close as possible. You might try shorter, colder rinses with a soak once a week. Be cognizant of not over-exfoliating your face or body, and don’t forget to use a body oil or moisturizer if you find that your skin is tight or dry. You’re more likely to over-index if you are mindful, especially during the summer heat.