HomeHealthDo you really need to shower every day?

Do you really need to shower every day?

For most people, a daily shower is as essential as eating. But do we really need to shower that often? Could it even be harmful to your health?

It can be the first thing you do in the morning or the last thing you do before bed at night– a nice hot shower is a part of just about everybody’s daily routine. And for good reason too.

Your skin comes into contact with thousands of different allergen, virus and bacteria particles every day. Not to mention the dirt, grime, airborne chemicals and other human-produced pollutants.

Read: Nine everyday things hold more bacteria than a toilet

Naturally, a shower washes all of this away and prevents body odour. Obviously not showering at all would eventually catch up with you, but does this need to be done every day?

Dr Robert Schmerling, clinical chief of rheumatology at Harvard Medical School, told wellness blog Hella Health there is no medical reason to shower every day.

“When it comes to concerns about health, however, it’s not at all clear that a daily shower accomplishes much,” he said.

“In fact, a daily shower may even be bad for your health.”

Read: Can you reheat food more than once?

Washing and scrubbing removes the skin’s protective oils and healthy bacteria, and can cause it to become dry, itchy and irritated.

This is especially true for older people, whose skin is generally thinner, less hydrated, and more sensitive. Dry, cracked skin can allow bacteria to get through, causing infections and allergic reactions.

Associate Professor Dr Stephen Shumack told The Sydney Morning Herald that in some cases showering daily can worsen existing conditions.

“Overwashing causes ‘defatting’ of the skin – getting rid of the natural body oils we produce to protect the skin cells,” he said.

Read: Expert post-swim skincare tips

This can cause actual damage, making them more permeable to bacteria or viruses, precipitating itchy skin, dryness, flakiness and worsening conditions like eczema.”

The need to shower daily seems to be more of a societal norm than a medical necessity. But like choosing a time of day to shower, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

If you work a labour-intensive job, exercise frequently or live in a hot or humid area, you should probably be showering every day as you will produce enough sweat to warrant it.

But for the rest of us, the average Australian who isn’t overly active (so, most of us) can safely get away with showering every other day, or even less frequently.

How often do you shower? Does the thought of not showering daily make you feel dirty? Let us know in the comments section below.

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyerhttps://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/bradlockyer/
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.


  1. Recently, due to balance problems caused by Peripheral Neuropathy and an unnatural fear of falling over in the shower, I had reduced my showering to once a fortnight, or even longer.
    Although I’m living in a sub-tropical climate (Brisbane), I had no problems with body odour … strange because I am a very large person (279 kgs) and have deep joint creases in my body fat.
    In the past couple of weeks I am now being attended to by Blue Nurses assistants who now come in twice a week to help me shower, so I suppose I am now fitting into society better.
    But, I’m only saying all of this to prove that the Australian fixation of daily (or more) showers is entirely unnecessary.

  2. I am 75 and in winter I shower every time I use my local pool (I am an annual member). That is every second day. But in summer it is very hot in Perth, so I shower at least once a day. So it looks like I may be doing the healthy thing.

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