5 Reasons Not to Wash Daily

Regular bathing is for the birds, or so touted some in a recent article from the New York Times, “Great Unwashed Raise Stink about Being Clean Enough”. Citing examples of citizens from around the country who are ditching anti-perspirants and daily showers for baby wipes and dry shampoos, the Old Gray Lady brought a new awareness of what it means to forgo daily bathing. The public’s reaction? Calm, order, and screams and gunshots echoing from the hills to which some ran.

Was it really that bad? You be the judge. As one commenter wrote, “And these same filth mongers wonder why disease’s are so abundant, you that dang important or special you can’t take three to five minutes to scrub your…” Others used the forum to discuss their own bathing habits, ranging from showering twice a day, to every other day, to lathering up with baby wipes after a strong run. Opinions and tempers ran high. It seems that people take their bathing habits with a defense that might have rivaled what the Japanese threw down at Iwo Jima.

Why? Well, because bathing is personal. People take it as a sign of class, culture, and identity. But as the NY Times pointed out, letting go of a daily shower is no longer for just people who like to chain themselves to trees. So as a shout out for the people who live among, who drive a Prius or a Hummer – here are five practical reasons not to wash daily.

1. You will strip your skin of natural oils.

Dry skin is sometimes caused when your skin’s natural oils are stripped off it like a bad wallpaper. Your skin naturally lubricates itself with natural oil. Yes, you still want to wash your body. But washing it too much could cause problems. Dr. Richard Gallo is chief of the dermatology division at the University of California, San Diego. As he told the NY Times, over-washing can cause eczema flare ups. According to Dr. Gallo, “It’s not just removing the lipids and oils on your skin that’s drying it out,” he said. It could also be “removing some of the good bacteria that help maintain a healthy balance of skin.”

2. Dry shampoo is awesome.

So maybe you’re too busy for a daily shower. Or you want a quick rinse but not the time investment of washing your hair. Dry shampoo has been used for centuries – essentially, it’s a fine powder or corn meal that can grab dirt and excess oil from your hair. Comb it through and you’re clean. Read our review of a great dry shampoo here.

3. Most of us can live a productive, fulfilling life without antiperspirants.

Antiperspirants are tricky because they contain aluminum chloride and aluminum chlorohydrate to stop you from sweating. Some worry that this is unnatural and worse, could cause cancer. While the NY Times points out that the National Cancer Institute and the Alzheimer’s Association don’t share those concerns, some are just reluctant to stop their bodies from doing what it’s designed to do – sweat.

4. Some natural deodorants really do work.

If you use a natural deodorant, odds are that you’re going to sweat a little. But consider taking a day or two without it. See how much you really sweat. You might be surprised. Recently, a friend gave anti-perspirant the heave-ho. As she wrote to me, “maybe I’m just more mellow lately, but I’m really not sweating all that much.” We’ve already covered natural and/or organic deodorants – if you’re interested in giving natural deodorant a go, try the sprays first.

5. You can conserve water.

Okay, so yes, this is a green reason to step away from the daily shower. But is that so terrible? As the EPA reports, a full bath tub requires about 70 gallons of water, while taking a five-minute shower uses 10 to 25 gallons.” So if you’re able to sponge bath just once a week, you’re saving quite a bit of water.

Image: eelke dekker

Katherine Butler

Katherine Butler is the Beauty Editor of EcoSalon and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.