How Often Should I Shower?

How often someone should shower will depend on their daily activities. This means that some individuals may need to shower every day, while others can shower every few days.

Keep in mind that showering too often can negatively impact the skin's microbiome, the beneficial bacteria and fungi that live on the skin and help the immune system. However, not showering often enough can also lead to issues such as acne, certain infections, and skin irritation.

This article explores how often you should shower. It also explains what happens when you shower too often or when you don't shower enough.

Woman showering.
Choreograph / iStock

How Often Should Adults Shower?

For some people, a full-body shower every other day or every third day is likely enough. On days where 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.

Do You Need to Shower Every Day?

Individuals who get dirty, sweaty, or are exposed to allergens or dangerous chemicals at work or in their activities may want to shower on a daily basis. 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

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.

Should You Shower Twice a Day?

Only shower twice a day if it is totally necessary. Excessive exposure to soap and water, especially hot water, can throw off the skin's natural balance.

Showering twice a day 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.

How Long Should 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.

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.

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 local weather, 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.

To keep your skin healthy, shower with warm water and use a moisturizing soap. Be gentle when cleansing yourself and when drying off your body. If you opt to use a loofah or shower pouf, be sure to sanitize them thoroughly every other month.

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 in moisture, 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 out of the shower.

  • 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 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 shower after swimming, playing sports, or sweating a lot. They also should wash their face because excess oil and dirt can contribute to acne.

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9 Sources
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.
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