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I only shower once every few days, sometimes as little as once a week depending how oily/sticky I'm feeling (I lead a pretty sedentary lifestyle so I don't reach that stage daily). People around me find it disturbing/disgusting but I usually shrug it off, telling them that it's unnecessary and that they're just wasting water showering once/twice a day.

I also see articles like this around the web skeptical of daily showering (though it's really only talking about skin health): http://www.cbsnews.com/news/is-showering-bad-for-your-health/

I also understand that people living in very clean environments during their childhood are more prone to certain health problems like allergies and asthma.

I understand that people who work in dirty environments (e.g. car mechanics?) will have to do it frequently but what about people who don't? Should we only be showering after we fall into a pool of mud or after a heavy workout?

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    I'm in your situation, but does anyone claim that daily showering is good for your health, as the title states? – gerrit Mar 10 '14 at 14:27
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    It seems to be conventional wisdom. It's pretty much the norm here (Singapore). Not showering everyday is frowned upon, at least in my society, regardless of your situation... – Dois Mar 10 '14 at 14:31
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    Reactions I've heard primarily boil down to you'll stink. It does depend on climate though, I'd probably shower more often in more hot and humid climates, not because I think it's healthy, but just to cool down. – gerrit Mar 10 '14 at 14:46
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    Additionally I've also heard many people claim that showering makes them more alert (usually the specified reason why they do so every morning). While I don't find it hard to believe, I still wonder about the accuracy of their claim. – erb Mar 12 '14 at 13:57
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    The closest I came to finding an answer was this 2001 paper claiming "However, aside from hand cleansing, specific evidence is lacking to link bathing or general skin cleansing with preventing infections." and a discussion on why it was hard to prove. I wasn't happy with the references though. – Oddthinking Mar 13 '14 at 7:05
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There doesn't seem to be an obvious, definitive answer to this question - The research on bathing frequency and infection prevention is severely lacking. However, there are authoritative recommendations available. For example, teens and tweens should shower once daily. If you're athletically inclined, you should shower after exercising. The same applies if you're spending significant time in places where communicable diseases are easier to pick up, such as the subway. Beyond that, the recommendation seems to be that you should choose whatever makes you comfortable with your cleanliness.

All that being said, if the people in your immediate vicinity are saying what you're doing is disgusting, I'd guess that it would be good for your social relationships (and hence mental health) to start bathing more often.

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    Welcome to Skeptics!. The "authoritative" references here don't have any references themselves, so they are largely valueless here; I suggest you drop them. Also, can you quote from the CDC article to explain where it says the research is "severly lacking". A very brief perusal revealed nothing. – Oddthinking Apr 26 '14 at 0:54
  • I was giving the AAD the benefit of the doubt on being an authoritative source, as they're a publisher of scientific journals, however your point is well taken. (Note that not all of the links lack citations - For example, the How Stuff Works article has references on the final page of the article.) The line in the CDC article referencing the lack of research can be easily found by searching the page for 'lacking': "However, aside from hand cleansing, specific evidence is lacking to link bathing or general skin cleansing with preventing infections." – Bill Horvath Jan 20 '16 at 18:31

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