Michael Staines
Michael Staines

09.44 24 Sep 2020


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Showering every day can lead to outbreaks and other inflammatory skin conditions, according to a leading microbiologist.

It comes after Jonathan Myers, CEO of one of the world’s largest soap makers PZ Cussons said the rise in working from home has seen people cutting back on showering and shaving.

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Dr Orla Cahill, Microbiologist at Technological University Dublin, said a reduction in showering may not be the worst idea.

“A lot of people are working from home,” she said. “They are not travelling on public transport; they are not running and racing in the morning trying to get out and get into the office and they are taking the pace a little bit slower.

“They are maybe not showering until later in the day until after they have exercised or not at all maybe.

“Obviously that is a personal choice but from a microbiological and a dermatological perspective, it might not be all that bad not to shower every single day.”

Microbes

Dr Cahill said a study published in the Harvard Medical Journal last year found that over-showering can strip the skin of essential microbes that boost immunity.

She said previous generations bathed less regularly than people do today – and suffered from less conditions than are around these days.

“There was far fewer allergic diseases around at that time,” she said. “Whereas we are now seeing now a huge amount atopic dermatitis, an explosion in the rise of cases of eczema, psoriasis and these skin conditions.

“That is down to an imbalance in the skin microbiome and essentially if you overbathe you can create little tears in your skin from excessive scrubbing which can potentially lead to pathogenic bacteria getting in, leading to flare ups

“As well as that, if you take too much of the natural oils off your skin will start to overproduce sebum which can lead to outbreaks and other inflammatory skin conditions.”

Shower

She said it is “perfectly OK” to shower every other day.

“Obviously if you exercise quite a lot or if you perspire more than other people do then yes, it is a personal choice,” she said.

“But I think every other day would be absolutely fine to maintain that good balance of good and bad bugs on the skin.”


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