January 20, 2020 | Abby Caviness
After a long day, it can sound so appealing to take a hot bath with your beloved bath salts and bath bombs to melt the stress of the day away. While a bath can be a great stress reliever, is it the healthiest option to clean your body? USHEALTH Group® is breaking down bath safety, the health facts of taking a bath, and the importance of staying clean.
About National Bath Safety Month
National Bath Safety Month is all about revisiting the proper ways to take a bath and keep yourself safe when you decide to take a bath.1 For example, installing grab handles and non-slip mats in your bathtub will keep you from falling and hurting yourself when exiting the shower. You should also keep all your toiletries within arm’s reach. However, there are also guidelines for using your favorite bath time products, such as Epsom Salt and essential oils.
Epsom Salt Guidelines:1
- 100 lbs. and up, add 2 cups or more
- 60 lbs. to 100 lbs., add 1 cup
- Under 60 lbs., add ½ cup
Essential Oil Guidelines:1
- 100 lbs. and up, add approximately 10 drops
- 60 lbs. to 100 lbs., add 6 drops
- Under 60 lbs. and more than 2 years old, add 4 drops
Following these simple guidelines will keep you and your family safe during bath time and still allow you to fully relax.
Is a Bath Good for You?
While a lot of things people love to do are not necessarily good for them, taking a bath breaks the stereotype—baths are enjoyable AND beneficial (if you do it right). There are plenty of health benefits of taking a bath, including:2
- Elevating your mood
- Helping you sleep better
- Relieving muscle tension
- Making your heart healthy
- Burning calories
- Relieving cold and flu symptoms
- Soothing irritated skin
- Helping you feel more awake
Recommendations for a healthy bath experience include using the directed amount of additives (like salts and oils), opting for a warm bath rather than hot, and only soaking for a maximum of 15 minutes to avoid drying out your skin.2
How Often Should You Bathe?
People have varying preferences on how often they hop in the shower or bath to rinse off. Some people shower multiple times per day, while others shower a few times a week. In fact, one man has not showered in more than a decade.3 However, experts say you should not shower more than once per day. Showering more than once per day can strip your skin of its essential oils, which may cause dryness, inflammation, or eczema.3 However, if you can go without showering for a day and start showering every other day instead, your skin will improve. On the other hand, not showering enough will lead to additional issues, like body odor and acne.
How to Bathe Properly
When you do bathe, there are a few tips you can follow to avoid harming your skin. These tips include:3
- Using warm water instead of hot
- Limiting showers to 5-10 minutes
- Using gentle soap or cleanser, thoroughly rinsing off the soap before exiting the shower
- Not rubbing your skin with the towel, blotting it instead
- Avoiding cleansers and soaps with fragrances or deodorants
- Applying moisturizer to your skin after each shower or bath
So, while not showering enough is bad for you, showering too much can be bad for your skin. Knowing how your skin reacts to more washing rather than less will help you to know when it is time to hop into the shower for a wash. Then, knowing the right techniques to properly clean your body will help you keep your body odor at bay and skin in tip-top shape.
What Happens If You Don’t Bathe?
You get gross, basically. While dermatologists suggest you not bathe more than once per day, waiting too long between showers can have some negative effects. Going a few days without showering will produce:3
- Increased body odor
- Skin condition flare-ups
- Areas of dark or colored skin
- Dermatitis neglecta—thick patches of scaly skin—in extreme cases
Not Showering For a Year
Also, if you (hypothetically) held off your shower for an entire year, these are some of the possible effects:4
- You would have to become immune to body odor
- Dead skin will build up and cause hyperkeratosis
- Rashes and itchy irritation will occur
- You would become more prone to infection
So, because of these effects, it is important to better understand your skin to know the best course of action for how often to shower and when it is time for your skin to take care of itself.
While baths have a variety of health benefits, keeping the water too hot and sitting in the water for too long can dry out your skin. Also, washing your body too often can strip your skin of its natural oils and cause dryness and irritation. However, every person has a magic recipe for healthy skin, which involves either frequent or infrequent showering. It is important to spend time discovering how your skin reacts to these practices to keep your skin healthy and clean!
*This material is provided by USHEALTH Group® for informational/educational purposes only and should not replace medical/clinical advice or direction from your health care provider.
- Prueher, Ingrid, “National Bath Safety Month Is Time to Consider Safety, Epsom Salt & Essential Oils That Promote Sleep,” HuffPost.com, published January 5, 2019, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/national-bath-safety-month-is-time-to-consider-safety_b_5a4f7a26e4b0f9b24bf3166d
- Silverman, Leah, “8 Reasons Why Baths Are Great For Your Health,” TownAndCountryMag.com, published November 6, 2019, https://www.townandcountrymag.com/style/beauty-products/a18673205/hot-baths-benefits/
- Higuera, Valencia, “How Often Should You Shower?” Healthline.com, last modified January 29, 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/how-often-should-you-shower
- Kinonen, Sarah, “What Would Happen If You Didn’t Shower for a Year?” Allure.com, published April 24, 2017, https://www.allure.com/story/what-would-happen-if-you-didnt-shower-for-a-year