How Often Do You Shower?

Mark another point for Team Dirty, folks: Our new favorite writer at the New York Times, Catherine Saint Louis, is singing the praises of “laissez-faire” hygiene today.

As some of you may recall, soon after we launched this blog, Siobhan went public with the following statement: “Alexandra and I both hate soap.” It seems we’re not alone.

The article tracks fellow members of our dirty tribe who are abandoning their antiperspirants and daily showers in favor of natural oils and a little sweat—one guy likened antiperspirant to covering his pores in Saran Wrap (we’re stealing that one, buddy!).

But it goes beyond keeping skin and hair hydrated. As the article points out, it’s also about healthy bacteria:

Resist the urge to recoil at this swath of society: They may be on to something. Of late, researchers have discovered that just as the gut contains good bacteria that help it run more efficiently, so does our skin brim with beneficial germs that we might not want to wash down the drain. “Good bacteria are educating your own skin cells to make your own antibiotics,” said Dr. Richard Gallo, chief of the dermatology division at the University of California, San Diego, and “they produce their own antibiotics that kills off bad bacteria.”

I’m just going to put it out there and say that, like some of the subjects in this piece, I generally do not shower more than three times a week. Am I gross? Maybe. But my skin and hair feel better, and I’ve reduced my water consumption by about 1,000 liters a week—something worth thinking about when you live in California. I also don’t take the subway, work out vigorously or go to an office every day… All things that make it easier to shower less.

So how about you? What’s your weekly shower number?

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55 Responses to “How Often Do You Shower?”
  1. GEORGIE says:

    When I was a kid and teen money was very tight. We only bathed about three days a week unless we were doing heavy work on the weekends. In the military I bathed every day, sometimes twice day if I worked out twice but only washed my hair 2-3 times wa week. When I was deployed to Iraq I learned to be clean without taking showers for weeks on end; baby wipes or wet rag. Now that I’m out of the military I have reverted back to showering 3-4 times a week and washing my hair a max of 3 times weekly. My son bathes about the same. I have never been told I smell and I’m a woman. I even take fast showers as a result from a lifetime of restricted water use rules. Know how often we get sick or have ever gotten sick? Hardly ever. I last had the flu in 1999. My son was last big sick in 2007. There’s something to be said about not overcleansing. Other countries I have lived in or deployed to, their people generally bathe every few days, week or weeks. People in other countries have learned how to be clean where it counts with using minimal water. If only the majority of Americans learned that.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Bruneau and Bill Nigh, La Source. La Source said: How often do you shower? Showering less is better for the #environment and for #you it turns out. http://bit.ly/c19mWj #howoften [...]

  2. [...] and no. There are a lot reasons not to take showers so often. It dries out your skin. You’re applying chemicals to your [...]

  3. [...] I’ve cultivated a bit of a reputation around my infrequent showering and general lack of hygiene. I’m lucky to have hair that doesn’t require a daily shampooing and I like to think that my body can steep a few days in its natural oils and odours without offending anyone too much. When I do decide to take a shower, I hardly ever use soap. I rarely wash my face before bed, I never wear antiperspirant and sometimes? As in most of the time? When it’s just pee? I don’t even wash my hands. Yes, really. Are you repulsed by me yet? You’re probably not alone, but as it turns out, neither am I. [...]

  4. [...] wait wait, don’t jump to your conclusions yet. There are a lot of reasons not to take showers so often. It dries out your skin. You’re applying chemicals to your skin. [...]



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