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Monday, June 14, 2021

Do you bathe every day? More than once? The answer to the ideal frequency

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Jiya Saini
Jiya Saini is a Journalist and Writer at Revyuh.com. She has been working with us since January 2018. After studying at Jamia Millia University, she is fascinated by smart lifestyle and smart living. She covers technology, games, sports and smart living, as well as good experience in press relations. She is also a freelance trainer for macOS and iOS, and In the past, she has worked with various online news magazines in India and Singapore. Email: jiya (at) revyuh (dot) com

The idea, that a relentless fight against skin germs, needed is changing for dermatologists, who now warn that people may be bathing too often.

Taking a bath is one of those habits that people do every day without questioning it. In hot weather or for those who exercise or have physical work, taking a shower twice a day is almost a mandate. No one can doubt that this is a relaxing activity but is it really healthy to bathe so often?

It is known that humanity has never been so careful about its hygiene as it is today. Nor have so many possible products or treatments to care for the skin been found before. And yet some dermatologists are beginning to warn that many people could be indulging in a kind of excess hygiene.

In an article for the American magazine The Atlantic, the professor at the Yale School of Public Health, James Hamblin, captures the stance of Dr Sandy Skotnicki, a professor of dermatology at the University of Toronto that when she receives patients with skin irritation problems, her first question would be, ‘How do you shower?’ .

Patients often respond that they usually bathe twice a day and scrub the entire body with sponges. The expert does not hesitate and replies: “As soon as I get them to stop doing that and just wash their bits, they’re totally fine.”

With the term bits, the specialist refers to parts of the body such as the armpits, groin or feet. As she explained, these parts should be washed, something that is not necessary with other areas of the body such as the forearms, for example.

What might seem like an unhygienic recommendation has its scientific support: according to the expert, excessive washing progressively removes the oils that help the skin stay moisturized, protecting it from dryness and, therefore, from irritations and allergies.

The article in the American magazine advances in understanding that Skotnicki’s concern is part of a change in the scientific community in the relationship between people and their germs. People no longer have to fight microbes at all costs – using all kinds of chemicals – but need to learn to live with them in a balanced relationship.

Paradoxically, interacting with germs is no longer an easy task. Scientists know that people today use countless hygiene and cosmetic products that have antimicrobial properties. Its prolonged use makes people’s bodies full of substances that kill microbes by millions, even those necessary to protect the skin.

Interestingly, people seem to have accepted the presence of bacteria in their body in a better way than on the skin. American geneticist Julie Segre puts this paradox into words, consulted by Hamblin: “I don’t understand exactly why it is that people have such a different sense of the microbes that live in their gut than they do about the microbes that live on their skin.”

Segre highlighted the contradiction between many people’s fondness for consuming yogurts and “being colonized by bacteria” but then using hand soaps with powerful disinfectants.

Befriending the microorganisms on the skin is not easy. For this task, Segre recommends using some substances that work as prebiotics, since they feed our microorganisms, which are usually called probiotics.

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