What do you do when you feel sweaty, mucky and dirty? You take a shower! Nothing as refreshing as a cold shower on a warm day or as relaxing as a warm soak after a long, cold day. When you lather up with loofah and a good soap or cleanser, you are washing away your body’s impurities so the more you shower, the cleaner you get, right? Conventionally, we would all like to believe so but medical research hints at quite the opposite.
According to the findings, using a regular soap without anti-bacterial or anti-microbial properties does not kill any bacteria that might be on your skin and thus, does not really clean you. Rather, the usage of such soap or body wash is said to disturb microcolonies of skin flora and fauna. Showering with regular cleansers transfers bacteria to your surrounding environment like the shower etc. Researchers clarify that their study does not suggest people should not shower regularly as it is essential to maintain personal hygiene.
However, frequently washed skin does not always translate to good skin. Showering too much can potentially damage your skin.
The skin’s outermost layer, also called the horny layer, is made of dead skin cells and acts as a barrier to protect underlying layers of healthy, living skin cells. The horny layer is held together by lipids or fatty compounds that maintain skin moisture. Every time you indulge in a hot shower, complete with soap and a loofah/washcloth, the lipids get dissolved and ultimately, damage your skin. The more you shower, the more frequently this happens and more damaged your skin gets. Showering often gives skin very little time to repair itself through its natural oil production.
Also, drying yourself with a scruffy towel after a shower is another disservice to your skin. Though ideally, skin should be air dried but due to time constraints and other deterrents, that might not be possible. In that case, its best to use a soft towel and pat yourself dry. Don’t forget to moisturise immediately when your skin is still damp.