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There’s no need to shower every day – here’s why

Is washing ourselves very frequently necessary? Some experts believe that everyday showering is based more on a ‘social contract’ than actual need.

A few years ago, I stopped taking daily showers. Pandemic-induced work from home, moving in with a partner who showered less than me and pure, middle-age laziness pushed me to abandon an almost three-decades-long habit: So long as I don’t exercise, I now shower only around three times a week. Some of my friends shower as little or even less – a few just once a week in winter, occasionally because of skin problems or a dislike of having wet hair – but others fail to align with me, or are even icked out. “I can’t wake up properly without my morning shower,” they say. “Every day has to start with a shower and a cup of tea.” “There’s no way I’ll lay in my bed [unshowered] after commuting in London.” “Three times a week? Yuck.”

We infrequent showerers are quite often regarded with suspicion. That does not only go for nature-loving, tent-dwelling hippies but also for low-showerer TikTok users and even celebrities. Last month, British TV presenter Jonathan Ross caused headlines by stating that he sometimes washes less than once a week, and in 2023, actor America Ferrera astonished her fellow Barbie castmates in an interview when admitting that she occasionally skips the shower. In 2021, a mini furore broke out when actor Ashton Kutcher horrified commentators with his routine of washing his “armpits and crotch daily and nothing else ever”, and fellow actor Jake Gyllenhaal said he believed bathing was at times “less necessary” (only to later claim he had been sarcastic). As other celebs chimed in, the compounded upset became so great that actors Jason Momoa and The Rock soon had to clarify that they themselves shower a lot.

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