Are you showering too much?
In this fast paced world with all the hurriedness and busy work schedules, showering has become an important part of our daily routines. Whether its first thing in the morning to help us kickstart our day, or last thing at night to help unwind and relax after a stressful day at work, a lot of people will rank at least one daily shower as absolutely necessary.
Daily showering has just become the status quo for most of society. We’ve been sold this idea that a daily shower means we’re “put together”, “ready for the day”, “clean”. Showering is not only a physical act of becoming clean, but a psychological one. When we feel clean, we feel good about ourselves.
But we haven’t been told of how this might impact a very important organ of ours. The skin.
How Much is Too Much?
So, this poses the question of how often should we actually be showering? It depends.
Many scientists believe that showering two-three times a week is plenty for maintaining good skin health and keeping clean. But the decision really comes down to the health of the skin, your activity level, and the environment that you’re in.
The skin is the largest organ in the body. Its living and breathing. One of the most important components to the health of not only the skin, but the entire body, is the hydrolipidic film. This is a protective layer that is comprised of oil and water, which prevents harmful substances and pathogens from entering our body and causing damage and disease.
When we shower too much we run the risk of stripping away this protective barrier. Using harsh chemicals and synthetic soaps can alter the pH of the skin and break down this protective layer, rendering our bodies vulnerable to an array of different skin conditions and infections.
So, If the skin is already compromised, for example if someone suffers with a condition like eczema or simply has dry or sensitive skin, then daily showering will only further exacerbate the issue.
So, what exactly happens then if we over shower and break down the skins hydrolipidic film?
Unfortunately there are a number of issues that can arise.
- Compromised skin: As the skin’s barrier is broken down, the skin’s outer layer becomes inflamed, irritated, and sensitive. This can lead to changes in tone and texture of the skin.
- Frequent skin infections: When the skin is compromised the skin can no longer protect itself efficiently, making it vulnerable to infection. Gaps in the weakened hydrolipidic film can allow harmful pathogens such as bacteria, fungi and viruses to enter the skin and set up camp. An example would be developing thrush from washing with a product that has too high of a pH.
- Dry, flaky skin: Over washing the skin, especially with ingredients that strip the skin can severely decrease the skins natural moisture. This leads to the skin feeling tight, dry and uncomfortable, and can lead to flakiness and scaling of the skin.
- Worsened skin conditions: People that have pre-existing skin conditions such as acne, eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis can experience worsened symptoms of their condition if they over wash the skin and use harsh products regularly.
- Accelerated aging: Overtime, very frequent washing can speed up the aging process of the skin. Dryness, sensitivity and irritation are all factors that can contribute to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making the skin look more aged.
What to Avoid
So, now that we know that daily showering can be harmful to our skin’s health, what else should we avoid when showering in order to better protect our skin?
- Avoid using harsh, synthetic ingredients on the skin. Always read the ingredients label on your products and watch out for parabens, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate, synthetic fragrances, formaldehyde and mineral oils.
- Don’t over scrub. Ditch your loofahs and scrubbing brushes. Not only do these harbour a lot of bacteria, overusing them can further break down the hydrolipidic film, and can even create microtears in the skin, which can greatly increase the risk of bacterial and fungal infection in the skin.
- Turn down the heat. Be careful not to set the temperature of the water too high. Heat will further dry out the skin and can disrupt the skin’s nature pH balance and hydrolipidic film.
Now that we know the dangers of showering too much, how do we adopt a more safe showering routine?
For sedentary individuals, working at a desk, who have limited physical activity, try to cut your showering down to maybe 2 or 3 times a week using natural, pH balancing soap.
If you have a very active, physical lifestyle, a daily shower may be essential. Make sure to use very gentle and natural products to keep skin soft and nourished.
Secondly, look at what products you’re using. Are they really healthy for the skin? Swap harsh soaps and washes, for organic, natural and nourishing products. These will help to restore and retain the skin’s natural hydrolipidic film and won’t compromise the skin’s natural pH.
The skin has a pH of 4.7 and 5.75, which is slightly acidic. Make sure not to use products with a pH of higher than this as they can make the skin more alkaline, which bacteria and fungi thrive in.
Finally, in between showering you can use a gentle cloth and natural soap to cleanse the areas needed on the body. Rinse off with warm water, and wash out your cloth and leave dry to use for the next time.
What Makes a Good Soap?
A good soap to use is one that contains all natural and organic ingredients, with a high content of oil to mimic the skin’s natural hydrolipidic film.
If you’re not sure of a skin safe brand to use, look no further. Najel is a wonderful all natural and organic skincare brand that was developed with the skin’s natural pH in mind. We chose to back this brand because we believe that the ingredients are of the highest quality, and are certified by COSMOS and ECOCERT for being an ethical, sustainable, fair trade and organic brand. Meaning the customer can rest assured that they are purchasing a product with the utmost integrity.
Najel is a brand that specialises in making body products, such as shower gels, shampoos and body lotions that are kind and nourishing for the skin.
It is a multi-generational company, originating in Aleppo, Syria. The family has formulated these soaps with the most simplistic, yet effective ingredients: Bay laurel oil, and olive oil. Both oils are rich, nourishing, and anti-bacterial, and help to maintain the skins hydrolipidic film. Other natural and organic ingredients such as jasmine, tiare flower, damascus rose, and violet add beautiful natural aromas to the products.
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Written by Deirdre Lynch, Senior Beauty Therapist at V Claire Health and Beauty Salon