shower

May 10, 2021
By BYTEWRTHY
In Eco-Wellness

Shower Basics

Playing In Waterfall

There is an ongoing, lively, and occasionally heated outpour of opinions on how often to shower, what body parts to wash, and what to wash them with. Let’s be honest – we are fortunate to have enough clean water and hygiene resources to be able to debate the point.

But the topic is not entirely frivolous either. Finding one’s ideal hygiene ritual is a delicate balancing act between removing unwanted dirt and bacteria and preserving healthy microbiome. As bodies move through seasons, cycles and changes, what is best evolves and must be fine-tuned.

In addition, personal hygiene choices are not made in a vacuum. Norms of hygiene are part science, part societal choices and distinguishing fact from opinion can be a challenge. That said, here are some rules we believe to be pretty universal.

Clean Up at Night

Showering too often can be counterproductive, washing away the beneficial skin microbiome and stripping skin of its natural oils, which can trigger a flare-up. Some suggest that a daily shower is not even necessary. Though, we will side with those who rely on a thorough nightly cleanse to remove sweat, grime, and allergens. Slip clean into sheets: your skin – and any body next to you – will thank you. In the morning, after working out, and whenever needed, a gentle rinse should do.

Be Gentle on Yourself

You would not take steel wool to fine wood. Use gentle, allergen-free, fragrance-free cleansers. If you use a loofah, which we totally recommend, scrub lightly.

Keep Water Warm or Cold, and Keep Showers Short

Use warm water for comfort, or cold water for a bracing jolt. Avoid very hot water and long showers which will strip away oil and actually dry out your skin.

On Balance, Showers Are Better for You and the Environment

Baths can be fun, so can showers. Do enjoy the variety and run a bubble bath sometimes, but keep in mind that a typical water-efficient shower head dispenses 2 gallons per minute. Filling a typical bath tub takes 35 gallons.  But cheap, free-flowing water cannot blithely be taken for granted.

A 2019 US government study projected that over a third of US fresh water basins might not fully meet water needs by 2021 (now!), due to a decrease in water supply from climate change and an increase in demand from population growth.  National Geographic highlights that “nearly half may be unable to meet demand by 2071. This will mean serious water shortages for Americans.”

Globally, the U.N. stresses that “individual countries and regions need to urgently tackle the critical problems presented by water stress” while UNICEF stated earlier this year that “1.42 billion people live in areas of high or extremely high water vulnerability“.

Do the right thing!  In addition, just like taking a long shower, soaking in a bath too long will wrinkle and dry one’s skin.

Moisturize

Do your present and future skin a favor and do not skip this step. Use lotion, cream, or any moisturizer. Trap the moisture in your skin when you are still damp, right after toweling off.

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

♦ For most people, there is no need to shampoo every day. Of course, if you really need to, then do! But most of all, use a gentle shampoo. And remember to clean the back of your ears! This oft neglected skin fold is in a prime location to collect sweat and provide a breeding ground for bacteria. You might not smell it, but it is there for someone else to get a whiff of it.

♦ Don’t forget your back. A loofah or bath brush can really help; the quick-soapy-hand-swipe-and-done thing does not do it.

♦ We’ll take a stand: wash your lower limbs. With all due respect to those who might disagree, famous or not, do not rely on the water run-off from your upper body! Scrub legs, heels, soles, and toes. Your feet will have accumulated stuck-on dirt and sweat at the end of the day, unless perhaps you just walked barefoot on a pristine beach.

In Short

Clean up from head to toes, don’t overdo it, and moisturize.  Last, remember to wash loofahs, washcloths and towels frequently to avoid turning them into damp bacteria havens.

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