How often should you actually shower? During this hot weather, an expert reveals when to wash

It’s a question we often ask ourselves – do we really need to shower every day? Or is it one of those daily habits we’ve soaked up by osmosis instead of actual necessity?

Like all the great debates, there are two sides to every story – it’s never simple. We first got to thinking about this when Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher  admitted that they don’t wash themselves daily. 

The news came to light on Dax Shephard’s podcast Armchair Expert, when Mila said: “I don’t wash my body with soap every day,” and Ashton added: “I wash my armpits and my crotch daily, and nothing else ever.”

Meanwhile, stars such as Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) and Cardi B both spoke out about their disturbed reaction to these habits. Cardi tweeted: “Wassup with people saying they don’t shower ? It’s giving itchy.” Johnson showers three times a day, which is a whole different vibe.

Dax’s wife Kristen Bell also weighed in, confessing that she’s “a big fan of waiting for the stink”. She said: “Once you catch a whiff, that’s biology’s way of letting you know you need to clean it up.” Jake Gyllenhaal also told Vanity Fair: “More and more I find bathing to be less necessary, at times”.

They’re not the only ones leading the shower-less charge, either. Julia Roberts previously confessed she doesn’t shower every day, though more for its eco-friendly merits than anything else, while deodorant has “never been her thing”. And in an interview with E! News, Cameron Diaz gave us more reason to consider putting the Mitchum down: “I don’t believe in antiperspirant. It’s really bad for you. I haven’t used it for almost 20 years. You’re stinky because you use antiperspirant. It keeps all the stink in.”

So, we want to settle the “to shower or not to shower” debate once and for all…

We’re previously cleaned up (see what we did there?) the debates around how long we should shower for once we’re in, and whether we should take one in the morning or evening, but is there actually any sense, or science, in steering clear of showering once a day? Here’s what medical doctor and founder of Illuminate Skin and Wellness Clinics Dr Sophie Shotter has to say.

How often should you shower?

“You don’t necessarily need to shower or bathe your entire body daily. If we overwash, hot water can dry our skin out, and too many harsh soap-based products can irritate the skin, both of which cause a compromised barrier. Overwashing can also harm the microbiome on our skin – the cells which protect us from germs, and so could mean our immune system is compromised and we end up getting ill more often – think coughs and colds.”

If we go too far the other way and don’t wash enough, however, Dr Sophie adds: “We can become dirty, providing a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and bugs like lice, and that’s without mentioning the body odour.”

The ideal frequency? Like most things in life, it varies from individual to individual, and largely comes down to lifestyle. “There’s no one answer to suit everyone,” Dr Sophie explains. “If you exercise a lot, naturally sweat more or the weather is very hot, you might want to shower every day, but if not, every couple of days is enough, with washes in particular areas that require more attention to hygiene in between.” Said areas include the groin and armpits, which Dr Sophie tells us contain more sweat glands and breed more bacteria, so will get a bit pongy if not washed when they need to be.

Do we need deodorant?

As for the deodorant dispute, Dr Sophie tells us it’s probably a non-negosh, unless you, by some miracle, don’t sweat much. “For most women, a degree of underarm sweating is very normal,” she says. “And anti-perspirant is a good choice. That said, deodorant in its own right doesn’t do an awful lot – it literally means to de-odour, or to neutralise smell. It’s better to try and prevent the smell developing by washing as and when you sweat.” Who knew?