Showering: Dermatologist recommends ways to keep skin healthy
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There are a woefully slim number of activities in life that require little exertion or thought yet provide health benefits. Showering is one of those anomalies. Your morning shower can sooth stress levels, supply you with energy and wash away nasty toxins from the night. However, daily showering is not an entirely benign activity.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Cheryl Lythgoe, Matron at Benenden Health, explained: “After a great night’s sleep, the first thought for many is to wake up with the morning ritual of a shower.
“Whilst this is great for reviving us and managing the bodies accumulated odours, it can actually cause more harm than good.”
According to Lythgoe, the issue lies in disrupting a delicate balance in the body that helps support a healthy skin structure.
“Maintaining a healthy skin structure is dependent upon the normal oils the body produces and the gentle balance of the good bacteria and microorganisms.”
As she explained, daily showers, especially in hot water, can disrupt the body’s way of maintaining healthy skin as well as causing dry, irritated and itchy skin.
“Dry skin has a greater chance of offering lower protection against infection and allergens with bacteria breaching the barriers.”
Excessive cleaning different areas of the body also exacerbates the problem, Lythgoe warned.
She explained: “In our germaphobe lifestyle we are using antibacterial products that, again, disrupt all types of bacteria including those that are healthy for our skin.”
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“The results of this are that our immune systems are less effective at managing not only the bad bacteria, but the good too.”
So, what does Lythgoe recommend?
“Therefore – step away from your daily shower ritual, just wash those important areas and allow your healthy bugs and beasties to flourish.”
It is not an exact science but generally showering less frequently than every day may confer health benefits.
“While there is no ideal frequency, experts suggest that showering several times per week is plenty for most people (unless you are grimy, sweaty, or have other reasons to shower more often),” explains Harvard Health.
According to the health body, short showers (lasting three or four minutes) with a focus on the armpits and groin may suffice.
Skipping a daily shower may be inconceivable but “if you’re doing it for your health, it may be a habit worth breaking,” it adds.
Another daily ritual that may present hidden health risks is eating lunch at your desk.
“When our days are busy, we’re feeling lazy, or we just want to catch up with our desk neighbours, many people opt to eat their lunch at their workstation,” noted Lythgoe.
However, as she explained, our desks and workstations tend to have 400 times more germs than a toilet seat, with keyboards alone having 70 percent more bacteria than a toilet seat.
“We also must consider the impact that our mindless eating is having on our long-term health with increased risks of diabetes and heart disease,” warned Lythgoe.
Instead, “aim to move away from your desk when having a meal and concentrate on the meal in front of you – enjoy the taste, texture and colours of your food,” she advised.
“If you aren’t able to move away from your desk then clean it with a detergent wipe prior to eating, pop a serviette down and make sure you remember to clean after your meal as well – no one wants to be on IT’s hit list for a couscous-ridden keyboard.”
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