After a year, he said, you'd have a build-up of skin stratum corneum, or dead skin on top of your skin. It includes a build-up of a protein our skin produces that has a funky odor to it. Bacteria also would accumulate on the skin, giving off a nasty smell when it mixes with our sweat.
According to Shirley Chi, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Los Angeles, there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. Showering "once every three days is fine." If you have a skin condition, the answer is different, however.
Skipping your shower could lead to an excess of dead skin cell buildup, says Amy Wechsler, a New York City dermatologist. Hyperkeratosis, which is the thickening of the outer layer of the skin, would undoubtedly occur. Rashes and itchy irritation will occur.
Bathing is our second line of defense against some of the nastier bacteria, so if you don't regularly bathe and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes, you're exposing yourself to harmful germs that could get you sick. That balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria on our skin can be upset by not washing enough.
Legionella bacteria can build up in any shower, tap, or water outlet that is not used regularly as the water in the system remains stagnant. When turned on, bacteria will flow out of the system with water, and whoever is using the shower will breathe in aerosols containing Legionella bacteria.
Occasionally, the refusal to shower could be linked to certain mental health problems. For example, teens with serious depression may lack the interest and energy to shower. 2 But taking a shower won't be the only problem they'll struggle with; depression could also lead to academic and social problems.
In the United States, most people bathe daily but, in other countries, many people bathe only 2-3 times per week or less. Many times it can come down to habit and ritual, as daily showers can help people feel more awake, avoid body odor, relax tight muscles or simply because that's what they've been taught to do.
While common, there are multiple reasons why someone stop showering depending on the individual. The reasons can range from not feeling secure and in control in the bathroom anymore, to early signs of dementia and psychological issues.
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). Short showers (lasting three or four minutes) with a focus on the armpits and groin may suffice.
Prolonged periods of not washing can cause cause buildup on the scalp, damaging hair and even impeding its ability to grow, Lamb said. Grime from dirt, oil and hair product can show up within four to six days for people with finer, straighter hair.
“One reason that depression often makes it hard to shower is that decreased energy and motivation are two of the symptoms,” Ballard said. Fatigue involves feeling too tired to do things, even when you want to do them. The added lack of motivation makes it even harder to take care of routine things like showering.
Dermatologists recommend 2–3 showers a week, or every other day. I shower when I'm dirty. For example, an intense workout, I smell, actually being covered in dirt or food, etc. this amounts to once or twice a month on average for me specifically.
When you skip showering for a couple days, it can lead to your body releasing potentially unpleasant odors. Dr. Muhammad says, “Body odors form naturally as a result of bacteria on the skin breaking sweat down into acid. By not washing while continuing to sweat, bad smells will just get worse and worse.”
Australians have the status of being one of the cleanest nations on the planet. 90 per cent of women and 80 per cent of men bathe or shower at least once daily according to a 2008 report by the SCA, a leading global hygiene company.
Traditionally, bathing is viewed to be a ritual of large cultural importance, although it has evolved into being less ritualistic and more of a common practice. Research by the Kantar World Panel, goes on to say that 85% of people shower per week in China and average 6 showers per week.
How often do you take a bath? In Japan, most people take a bath every single day. Some people prefer a shower as it allows them to save water and time. However, taking a short shower is much more common than taking a bath in other countries.
Great Britain has the lowest rate of showering per week, at 83 percent. However, the English do love their baths: they have the most baths out of every country, with 32 percent of people bathing each week. Germany comes at a far second, at just 20 percent.
For people with ablutophobia, that means trying to avoid bathing and washing, which can lead to different problems for health, well-being, and social acceptance.
Showering daily is not necessarily "unhealthy," but you may not need to. For many people, a full-body shower every other day or even every third day is enough. That said, just because you don't shower daily does not mean you want to skip out on personal care.