What Happens When You Stop Showering!!!

Get ready for dry, itchy skin

Dry skin itches. It flakes. It can hurt. It feels all sorts of gross. And if you stop showering, you are in for a brutal bout with dry skin. Dr. David Lortscher, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Curology, points out that ceasing showering will mess with your previously healthy skin. You will develop rough, dry patches, which indicate that skin is dehydrated.

Slathering on scented oils and lotions can help with scaliness and they can freshen you up temporarily, but these methods are merely masking the problem, rather than addressing or solving it. It is best to “moisturize while the skin is damp after cleansing or showering to ‘seal in’ some hydration,” Lortscher advised.

If you are not showering, that process is negated, and applying product is actually a waste of your precious time. Plus, your body’s largest organ will begin to show even further signs of neglect.

The dreaded acne and bacne

As if smelly, dry, and scaly skin weren’t bad enough! If you stop showering, chances are you can develop acne in a variety of locations. That includes both chest and back acne aka “bacne.”

Lortscher explained that “part of acne development involves excess oil, or sebum, secreted by sebaceous glands into the pores of the skin. These glands are more prominent on our chests and backs, which can explain the prevalence of body acne in these areas.” Inflammatory acne is then exacerbated by microorganisms, which “love the oily environment, and our immune system works hard to fight against them via inflammation.”

Lortscher also noted that “the microorganisms also love a warm, moist environment, such as the one found on a sweaty back.” Since these microorganisms are commonly found on skin, not showering plays right into their hands, so to speak. In layman’s terms: Extra oil leads to more bacteria, which leads to more acne!

You can develop jock itch or athlete’s foot

If you are a runner or a gym enthusiast, you really don’t have the luxury of giving up a shower after rigorous physical tasks. When you do these sorts of things and then decide to curb showering, you can eventually develop something called “tinea cruris.” That’s more commonly known as “jock itch,” and it’s just as unpleasant as it sounds. Another, related, condition you may get is “athlete’s foot.”

These conditions are pretty unpleasant. The infections are spread by scratching or the use of an infected towel, according to Lortscher. “The fungus can grow more abundantly on sweaty skin,” Lortscher explained.

Therefore, cleanliness is absolutely paramount so you don’t develop these conditions after engaging in exercise or athletic activity. He added, “Showering after physical activity is important to do to avoid this. It is also important to dry the groin area carefully after showering with a separate towel.”

You can develop “hard skin”

It isn’t just dry, flaky, or smelly skin you have to worry about. If you stop showering, your skin can actually get hard, which is a condition called “retention hyperkeratosis” and mimics a rash.

Dr. Bobby Buka, a board-certified dermatologist, explained this condition is “also known as terra firma, which is Latin for ‘hard earth.’ All that means is that dead skin, dirt, and the body’s natural oils are compacted together forming a sticky, glue-like material on the outermost layer of the skin.” He explained that these unpleasant patches can show up on your neck, in the crook of your arm, or on the back of your knees, typically after about a week of not showering.

Buka explained that the name and description sound scarier than they are. “I’ve had patients come in asking, ‘What’s this crazy dark rash on my neck?,’ totally unsuspecting that dirt is the culprit,” he noted. “But then I take an alcohol swab and vigorously rub, and the ‘rash’ comes right off.” Terra firma is also often mistaken for the hyperpigmentation associated with eczema. With eczema, the pigmentation is under the skin. With terra firma, it’s on top of the skin.

Exacerbated eczema and other issues

If you already have sensitive skin or suffer from a condition like eczema or the aforementioned acne, not showering can exacerbate said conditions and make them worse, especially during hot and humid months. Lortscher explained, “Eczema can worsen with excess sweating, as can a type of sweat acne called pityrosporum folliculitis.”

The good doctor also explained that you can get heat rash or prickly heat, which are “thought to arise from plugging of sweat ducts, which give rise to tiny water bumps. Heat rash occurs especially after repeated episodes of sweating in a hot, humid environment.” He suggests taking a cool bath or shower after exercise or strenuous activity to prevent these noxious skin afflictions.

While some experts argue that a daily hot shower can dry out your skin and strip it of natural oils, all of these conditions might make you want to rethink the decision to curtail your showering. As Dr. Buka advised, “While someone might be inclined to skip showers to avoid over-drying and believe it’s helping their condition, it can have the reverse adverse effect.”

You can get a yeast infection

When you introduce not showering for a prolonged period of time into the equation that is your life, you are putting yourself at a higher risk for all sorts of infections, due to the overgrowth of bacteria on skin. And, yes, a yeast infection is among the possible resulting afflictions.

Yeast infections are fairly common and they are usually pretty easy to rectify. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t a nuisance and a hassle to deal with. Like many things, prevention is the best cure. “Regular cleansing is especially important in preventing an overgrowth of the bacteria Candida albicans that causes a yeast infection,” Buka explained.

While skipping a shower every once in a while is totally your prerogative and giving up on showering for extended periods of time is totally one’s own personal choice, a shower a day appears to keep plenty of body and skin conditions away.


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