A few ways the experts say we’re showering all wrong

Suds. Warm water. Steam and relaxation…There’s just nothing like a nice, long, hot shower.

It feels good, that’s for sure. But dermatologists have other ideas about what’s good for you when it comes to soaping up and rinsing down.

Really? Could there possibly be a wrong way to take a shower?

Well, not wrong, exactly. But if you want to get the most benefit for your skin, it seems there are some guidelines to follow before, during and after you shower, especially if your skin tends to be dry.

Is it possible to shower too much?

When someone tells us they don’t shower every day, we may look at them strangely. Aren’t we supposed to clean ourselves every day?

According to professionals like Dr.Casey Carlos, not necessarily. Dr. Carlos is assistant professor of medicine in the department of dermatology at the University of California School of Medicine. He gives a simple, science-based explanation for why it may actually be bad to shower every single day.

The top layer of our skin is made of dead cells that protect underlying skin layers. This top layer of dead cells is held together by fats, and covered with a fine layer of oil called sebum. The job of fats and sebum is to hold in moisture.

When we shower every day, we strip these moisture trappers and often end up with dry, itchy skin, especially in the winter. If you have sensitive skin or eczema, stripping this fatty layer with a daily shower is especially harmful.

Does your whole body need cleaning?

Yes, dermatologists have weighed in here, too.

Dr. Rajani Katta, clinical professor of dermatology at the McGovern Medical School in Houston suggests you only apply soap to those places that are really dirty or sweaty: armpits, private parts, wherever there’s a skin fold.

As for those long, hot showers that feel so good on a winter’s night, Dr. Katta says. “Ideally, you’ll want to use lukewarm temperatures and limit showers to no more than 10 or 15 minutes.”

Peak Golden Oil

Helps Your Body Maintain Optimum Immune Balance!


To soap or not to soap?

Dr. Katta notes that, while her younger patients are hooked on scented body washes, her older patients often stick with the old-fashioned bar of soap.

Who’s right?

Body washes have more water content, which means they need to use more preservatives to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.

Many people believe that bar soaps transmit germs. However, two well-known studies disprove this.

In 1965, scientists tested this question by intentionally contaminating their hands with about five billion bacteria, including staph and E. coli. They then washed their hands with a bar of soap and had a second person use the same soap. No bacteria were transmitted to the second user.

A 1988 study confirmed these findings by inoculating bars of soap with E. coli and Pseudomonas bacteria, and found that no one who used the soap had any detectable bacteria on their hands.

Morning or night?

While this may seem to be a personal choice, based on your daily activity level, dermatologists have something to say about the best time of day to shower. It has to do with helping you get a good night’s sleep.

A morning shower can energize you and help you wake up, while an evening shower can help your body and mind wind down for sleep.

Wait … how can the same activity have such opposite effects?

It’s all connected to your circadian rhythm, the “biological clock” that determines your sleep cycles.

In the evening, your core body temperature naturally begins to drop, and remains low while you sleep. A bedtime shower may heat you up for a bit, but you’ll feel colder shortly afterward as water on your skin evaporates. Several studies have shown that this effect could help you fall asleep more easily. So if sleep is elusive, try nighttime showering.

In the morning, on the other hand, your circadian rhythm is naturally driving your body temperature up, so the cooling of your skin won’t have the same sleep-inducing effect — which is a good thing if you’re on your way to work or have things to accomplish.


  1. How to take a shower, according to dermatologists — NBC News
  2. The Best Way to Shower, According to Experts — Mental Floss
  3. Can a Bar of Soap Transmit Infection?The New York Times
  4. The relationship between insomnia and body temperaturesSleep Medicine Reviews
  5. Washing with contaminated bar soap is unlikely to transfer bacteriaEpidemiology & Infection
Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.