The correct hygiene of the skin will depend on each person, but there are certain age-related guidelines
that can help us take care of it with the shower since the needs of the skin change over the years. (Photo: Getty)
The debate around the number of showers needed to keep us clean is not new but the statements of Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher about their hygiene habits they are running like wildfire through the nets. But they are not the first or the only ones who think this way.
They claim that they only wash their children “when they see them really dirty.” A ‘relaxed’ approach that fits in with the principles of a natural upbringing away from the old prejudices or standards set by today’s society and that rsponsor your own beliefs and personal experiences. In fact, Kunis has said that she grew up without hot water at home and that when her children were newborns, she did not bathe them daily either.
This custom, which to most of us may seem unhealthy and dangerous, may have some scientific reasons behind it. In fact, personal cleanliness habits they depend on both age and time of year. But the number of showers or baths It also depends on the skin and the activity that is carried out.
This is what pediatricians affirm, who consider that the frequency of baths is linked to the age of the child, because it will get more or less dirty. For example, it is not necessary to bathe newborns every day as it is unusual for them to perspire or become so dirty that they need a full bath so often.
To specify, below 6 months, a daily bath is not necessary, since at this age they get very little dirty. Probably, says the Mayo Clinic, it is enough to bathe the baby three times a week during your first year. When the child begins to crawl and eat alone, it is often soiled enough to need a bath more often.
It is not a fixed limit or an obligation, bathing in babies depends on the preferences of the parents and the child. There are babies who spit up, and the sour smell of milk can be very unpleasant. These babies may need a bath before others. Also if the pee or poop has escaped, or if it is very hot … But, be careful, in children who have atopic dermatitis, little bathing and a more spaced hygiene is recommended.
So each case is different. However, even if you do not bathe the baby every day, you can pass a wipe or a damp cloth in the diaper area and the folds of the skin (neck, armpits, English …) that can accumulate non-visible dirt such as sweat and lint that, with humidity, can generate the appearance of bacteria and various conditions. If you see that these places are dirty, take advantage of putting on pajamas before going to bed, for example, and try to dry those sensitive areas well and not leave them wet.
If you are not clear, consult your pediatrician. Some associate the increase in skin conditions in children with the fact that they bathe too much, and it is that, as the Academy of Pediatrics warns, excess bathing can reduce the natural bacteria that babies have and make them more susceptible to infections and rashes.
Let’s think that a baby does not get dirty or sweat like a child or an adultIn addition, the skin has its own cleaning mechanisms and the excessive frequency or duration of the baths can irritate it, especially if the baby has a very sensitive dermis, inappropriate bath products are used or when too hot water is used.
This theory is also applicable to adults. Shower every day it may not be entirely beneficial to our skin. In the case of people with atopic skin, changes in temperature as well as dryness and humidity in large quantities can be very harmful to the dermis. According to the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV) it is important to “avoid excessive washing” because the skin loses 25 percent of its natural hydration during the shower.
Although there is no specific limit of showers, yes there is some consensus among dermatologists that it is better not to shower every day, if possible. Excessive washing causes the skin to lose some of its natural oils, which causes the protection of skin cells to be lost and, therefore, cause damage and this is more permeable to bacteria or viruses, precipitating itching, dryness and flaking.
The skin is an ecosystem of thousands of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The lipid layer has a pH of approximately 5.5, which is what prevents these germs from going freely through our skin. It is important, therefore, not to alter this acidity. These inhabitants need to be in balance, as excessive bathing alters the natural distribution of good bacteria on the skin.
Because, except daily cleaning of the face, armpits, feet, hands and genitals, dermatologists consider that showering two or three times a week is enough to keep our epidermis clean and healthy.
However, there is no hard and fast rule for everyone. Experts point out that in puberty and adolescence, the production of the lipid layer is much more important. In this age group, a daily shower is very beneficial for those adolescents who practice a lot of physical exercise. For the rest, the golden rule is repeated: prioritize the use of mildly harmful products for the skin.
In addition to leading to a loss of the skin’s protective barrier, the problem of showering daily is also due to the chemicals contained in products such as shampoos, conditioners and body gels, which interfere with our hormones, causing dangerous health imbalances.
In this sense, the AEDV recommends “Avoid excessive washing and do not use aggressive products for washing the face and body.” Skin care specialists recommend choosing “Gentle and dermatologically tested products and avoid showering with very hot or very cold water. The ideal is lukewarm water and not showering more than once a day, as this would increase the dehydration of the skin. And is that the skin loses 25 percent of its natural hydration during the shower “.
Some dermatologists even suggest that showering biweekly it would be enough to prevent the skin from losing the natural oils that protect it from harmful microorganisms and insist that excessive showering can lead to a reduction in skin hydration causing not only dryness but possible cracking wounds.
This is how excessive cleaning hurts us
Along the same lines, we would include the theory of excess cleaning and its relationship with childhood allergies, “In recent years the respiratory, digestive, skin allergies. And one of the theories says that in the last 50 years infectious diseases decreased thanks to vaccines and medicines, but the allergies grew by not giving the child the opportunity to get in touch with the environment (letting him lie down and play and get dirty) it confuses the immune system and causes that immature system to drift towards allergy “, explains the allergist Pilar Cots, from QuironSalud.
This is what is known as the ‘hygiene hypothesis’, according to which the increase in children with food allergies would also be explained by being caused by “excess zeal” of the body against external agents. So, as the expert points out, excess hygiene would be behind the increase in diseases of allergic origin (asthma, food and skin allergies).
So what are the necessary hygiene measures? Well, it all depends on the age and the physical wear or effort that we make. As we get older the skin becomes more dry. Sweat decreases a lot with age, and the production of the lipid layer is also reduced. Then a daily shower is no longer necessary. And it is that the skin and its needs change over time.
Because, “We must find a suitable balance between correct hygiene and excess hygiene, which can be harmful. And that depends on each person”, concludes the doctor Susana puig, head of the dermatology service at Hospital Clínic de Barcelona. In addition, in most cases the shower water is more than enough for intimate hygiene, as long as there is no pathology present. Must avoid putting soap directly in the mucous areas, that is to say in the vulva female or in the gland male. It is best to maintain hygiene in the parts that need it most and limit showers, partly depending on how dry we are.
Of course, we must take into account the time of year in which we are, and the weather of the place where we live. In summer and in Spain, with the heat waves that we are suffering, not showering daily can be a big problem not only for health but for family life and general well-being. But this does not mean that you should spend a quarter of an hour under the artichoke (in Spain we overdo it) or waste the gel. Remember, You must take care of the protective mantle of the skin if you do not want to favor the appearance of eczema and dermatitis.
If you are not convinced by what we have told you and you are going to continue in your thirteen with the daily shower, remember that it is important not to rinse the whole body, only those areas of the body that get the most dirty (armpits, feet and genitals, which are those that produce body odor). For the rest of the body, such as arms and legs, it is not necessary to use soap every day to protect the oils and lipids of the skin that provide us with adequate moisture and dermatological hydration. Remember that showers have to be with gentle hand massages (no need to use aggressive sponges), warm water and short cuts. Finally, use a soft towel to dry yourself, being careful not to scratch too much, and apply moisturizing cream or oil every day.
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