To bathe or not to bathe?

If you bathe everyday, you might want to reconsider.

I’m guessing you had a shower today. Or maybe a bath. Perhaps you’re a person who bathes daily.

It’s here where I confess that I do not.

Now don’t get all judgmental, because there’s a perfectly good reason I let a few days go by before stepping into the shower. And I have the medical community on my side.

“Showering every day may be a habit, but unless you’re grimy or sweaty, you may not need to bathe more than a few times a week,” said the good doctors at WebMD.

I know! Surprising. Especially since I remember the days, back when I was still involved with sports on a regular basis, when I was known to lather up twice a day, but it seems doing so was bad for my health.

“Washing removes healthy oil and bacteria from your skin, so bathing too often could cause dry, itchy skin and allow bad bacteria to enter through cracked skin.”

That I live in the Sonoran Desert—one of the driest places in the U.S.—also adds to the bathing conundrum. Since the skin of desert dwellers is already quite crispy, adding a daily shower to the mix means there isn’t enough moisturizer in the world to keep us from scratching our flesh off.

I will now put on my history teacher hat.

Those ancient Greeks were all about competing in the nude, so daily baths were important.

In ancient times, bathing was a communal operation. One massive construction, the Great Bath of Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan that encompassed 880 square feet, dates back about 5,000 years. Then the Greeks came along and invented the shower, because of all those sleek athletes heading to gymnasiums, the name for which comes from the word “gymnós” which means, you guessed it, naked. Back then sporting folks practiced and competed au naturel, so their bits no doubt needing a bit of soaping up at the end of the day. Jump ahead to Medieval times and bathing had mostly disappeared, with the exception of the very rich who were known, on occasion, to throw dinner parties in baths, where food was placed on boards situated over the water. However, when the Black Plague appeared people developed hyper aversions to bathing, because they believed the illness could sneak through their pores and that dirt on one’s skin would block the bubonic bugs from entering one’s system. Even into the late 1800s doctors didn’t bother washing their hands before surgery. But a bathing resurgence occurred in the 1900s when the Saturday night soak became popular with the whole family jumping in and out of the same tub of water to scrub away a week’s worth of grime. Ewwww!

Which brings us to today, where daily bathing is the norm, something we should reconsider. According to WebMD, “When you expose your body to normal dirt and bacteria, it actually helps strengthen your immune system.”

As a desert dweller, there’s also a conservation issue to consider, because showering can waste a lot of water. So, while I’m certainly not suggesting you stop bathing, perhaps you might think about the frequency with which you step into all that lovely water.

To bathe or not bathe? Something to consider.

Find Anne Montgomery’s novels wherever you buy books.



4 thoughts on “To bathe or not to bathe?

  1. sharonledwith says:

    Yeah, I’m like you and shower about three times a week. Keeps the hair color lasting longer. Wink. Plus, doesn’t dry out the skin, like you pointed out. Cheers and keep clean, Anne!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s