How Often Should You Shower?

And what happens if you shower too often or not enough.

How often you should shower is based on your health needs, what you do for work, your lifestyle, and your preferences. For example, if you're physically active or have a messy job, you might need to shower every day.

This article will help you figure out how often you should 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 your skin when you do shower.

Woman showering.
Choreograph / iStock

How Often Should Adults Shower?

People in the United States shower a lot. According to Harvard Medical School, approximately 2/3 of Americans shower daily.

Showering daily is not necessarily "unhealthy," but you may not need to. For many people, a full-body shower every other day or even every third day is enough.

That said, just because you don’t shower daily does not mean you want to skip out on personal care. 

On the days when you do not shower, use a clean washcloth to wipe yourself down. It will also help if you wash your face every night to remove dirt, makeup, and sunscreen—all of which can clog pores.

One of the most important personal hygiene steps you can take is washing your hands. Proper, frequent hand washing is key for keeping yourself and your loved ones safe from illness.

Who Needs to Shower Every Day?

Showering daily would be necessary if you get dirty, sweaty, or are exposed to allergens or dangerous chemicals at work or in your typical activities. 

People who may want to take a shower every day include:

  • Farm workers
  • Animal rescue volunteers and staff
  • Landscapers
  • Gardeners
  • Construction workers
  • Funeral directors
  • Athletes
  • Fitness instructors
  • Intense gym goers 

Multiple showers a day is probably not necessary, though there might be times when you need to bathe more than once a day if you get dirtier than usual or are exposed to something like a harsh chemical more than once.

Your showering needs can also change throughout the year. For example, if you live in a region that is very hot in the summer, you might prefer to shower daily to clean off the sweat and stay cool.

After exercising or working up a sweat, shower and change into clean, dry clothes as soon as possible. Wearing sweaty, moist clothes can raise your risk of getting bacterial or fungal infections, such as jock itch.

Do Teens Need to Shower Daily?

A daily shower is ideal for teens who have hit puberty. They should also shower after swimming, playing sports, or when they’ve been sweating a lot. They also should wash their face daily, as excess oil and dirt can contribute to acne.

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 are exposed to.

What Happens If You Go Months Without Showering?

If don’t shower for a few days, you may develop body odor. Dead skin cells, sweat, and oil also tend to build up, which can clog pores, which can trigger acne breakouts in people who are prone to them.

Going months without taking a shower or 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 affect people who are unable to adequately clean their bodies because of a physical or mental health condition.

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

DN can be treated by making sure the person has the support they need to wash the affected skin regularly.

What Happens If You Shower Too Much?

Showering too often can affect the barrier function of the skin. 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, may strip away the skin's 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 the flip side, not showering enough can cause body odor, acne, and even skin infections.

Healthy Showering Tips

Whenever you take a shower, there are some steps you can take to protect your skin. 

  • Use warm, not hot, water. Hot water can strip the skin of its protective oils, like sebum.
  • Keep it short. Five to 10 minutes is ideal for showering. If you stay in the water too long, it can dry out your skin. 
  • Use non-drying soap. Whether you prefer a bar or liquid body cleanser, choose one labeled as moisturizing to help keep your skin hydrated. 
  • Use soap only on select areas of the body. Limit lathering to spots on your body that are prone to odor, like armpits, groin, buttocks, and feet.
  • Be gentle. If you use a body scrub or loofah, do not scrub your skin too hard. When using a towel after your shower, pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it.
  • 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 after you get out of the shower 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 the shower and replace or sanitize them in a dishwasher at least every other month.
  • Change your towels. You should change out your towels for clean ones 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.


Each person's bathing needs will differ depending on various factors including the weather, their job, their environment, and hobbies. In general, showering every other day or every few days is enough for most people. 

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 a long time can also cause 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 your skin gently with a towel, use medication on affected areas of your skin, and apply moisturizer to your entire body within the first few minutes of exiting the shower.

11 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.
  1. Harvard Medical School Health Publishing. Showering Daily - Is It Necessary.

  2. American Academy of Dermatology Association. How To Control Oily Skin.

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

  4. Virginia Department of Health. Unknown Chemical Exposure.

  5. National Library of Medicine. 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. American Academy of Dermatology Association. 8 WAYS TO STOP BATHS AND SHOWERS FROM WORSENING YOUR PSORIASIS.

  8. National Eczema Association. Eczema and bathing.

  9. Herrero-Fernandez M, Montero-Vilchez T, Diaz-Calvillo P, Romera-Vilchez M, Buendia-Eisman A, Arias-Santiago S. Impact of Water Exposure and Temperature Changes on Skin Barrier FunctionJ Clin Med. 2022;11(2):298. doi:10.3390/jcm11020298

  10. University of Washington Medicine. This Is How Often You Should Clean Things, According to a Microbiologist.

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