Once, twice or three times a week, or once or twice a day: when it comes to showering, everyone has their own habits. But how often should we really wash to maintain an acceptable level of hygiene while protecting our skin and (incidentally) the planet? The experts are fairly unanimous: there is apparently no need to soap up every day... far from it.
The daily shower, forget it?
At least, that's what Dr. C. Brandon Mitchell, assistant professor of dermatology at George Washington University, interviewed by the Times on this all-important hygiene issue says:
I think most people wash too much.
Excessive washing, he says, can disrupt the bacteria that support the skin's immune system. He explains:
Your body is naturally a well-oiled machine.
A daily shower is not necessary.
I tell patients who shower every day not to soap their whole body.
According to the dermatologist, a dab of soap under the armpits, on the groin and on the buttocks is more than enough so as not to inconvenience other people who might be too close to you. Dr. C. Brandon Mitchell's solution: wash two to three times a week.
Two to three times a week
A point of view shared by Dr Guibal, a dermatologist practising at the Saint-Louis Hospital in Paris, interviewed by Le Figaro. He explains:
If we stick to the 'cat' toilet every day and wash ourselves completely once every two days, we will be just as clean as if we were to shower every day.
But according to the professional, there are some exceptions. Overweight people have to be careful because maceration in the folds of the skin can lead to superinfections. On the other hand, people with very dry skin are better off spacing out their showers.
As for whether it's better to shower in the morning or the evening, the experts have their own ideas. And if you're one of those people who wash every day, we strongly advise you not to keep the same bath towel for more than a few days at most.
Pee in the shower
If you want to do your skin and the environment some good, you should seriously consider giving up your daily shower and soaping up only two or three times a week. And to take it a step further, you can even.... pee in the shower.
This is a practice that gets a bad press because it's considered unhygienic, but it does help you avoid flushing the toilet too often. This loss is estimated at several billion litres of drinking water every year.