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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Showering for less than five minutes can cause bacterial or fungal infections: experts warn

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Showering has many health benefits. Among other things, the daily practice helps to strengthen the skin’s barrier and is stress-relieving. It is possible, however, to pay a high price for not spending sufficient time in the shower.

“Showering for less than five minutes may not be long enough to cleanse your body, and can cause bacterial or fungal infections,” warns Abbas Kanani, a pharmacist at Chemist Click.

Mr Kanani believes that showering should be done for eight to ten minutes.

“In regards to how long to shower for, around eight to ten minutes is usually enough time to hydrate your skin and cleanse.”

Showering for an excessive amount of time can be dangerous to one’s health.

Mr Kanani said: “Showering for too long (especially in a hot shower) can strip your skin of its natural oils, causing it to become dry.”

He recommended moisturising with an aqueous-based cream after a shower to help lock in moisture.

Is taking a shower every day harmful?

Showering every day can be enticing, especially when you consider that it helps you wake up in the morning and removes unpleasant body odour.

Showering every day, on the other hand, may seem counterintuitive.

Normal, healthy skin retains an oily layer and a healthy balance of “beneficial” bacteria and other microorganisms.

According to Harvard Health, daily washing and scrubbing remove these, particularly if the water is hot.

As a result:

  • Dry, irritated, or itchy skin may develop.
  • Dry, cracked skin may allow bacteria and allergens to penetrate the protective barrier that the skin is supposed to provide, resulting in skin infections and allergic reactions.
  • Antibacterial soaps are capable of eradicating common bacteria. This disrupts the balance of microorganisms on the skin and promotes the emergence of more resistant, hardier, less friendly organisms.
  • Our immune systems require some stimulation from common microorganisms, dirt, and other environmental exposures in order to develop protective antibodies and “immune memory.” This is one of the reasons why some paediatricians and dermatologists advise against giving children daily baths. Bathing or showering frequently throughout one’s lifetime may impair the immune system’s ability to function properly.

There may be additional reasons to your enthusiasm for the daily shower.

“Some people suggest that the water with which we clean ourselves may contain salts, heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride, pesticides, and other chemicals,” notes Harvard Health.

“These may cause problems, too.”

However, emphasizing the risks should not overshadow the benefits of showering.

Indeed, cold showers may be beneficial.

Using cold water to wash your skin and hair has a plethora of hidden benefits.

A cold shower, for example, can help with blood circulation.

Holland and Barrett explain:

“By reducing your core body temperature through showering or bathing in cold water, your body has to work harder and faster to warm itself up.

“It does this by increasing blood flow to the surface of your skin, therefore promoting healthy circulation.”

Image Credit: Getty

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