Did you know that the modern shower has only been around for about 100 years? Back in the day, it was the sponge bath that ruled, and it was thought that getting your whole body wet would increase the likelihood that you would get sick. Taking a daily hot shower is common, as is using a wide array of personal care products in conjunction with showering. But are we doing it right? Is there a better way to shower? Let’s take a look.
What we are not doing right
Here are a few things that most of us are probably getting wrong when it comes to showering:
- The water is too hot – Taking hot showers, especially if they are long, as well as drying yourself immediately after showering can dry your skin, stripping precious natural oils away. Keep in mind that water that is too cold can also dry your skin. Aim for a nice in-between temperature – not too hot or too cold.
- We use dangerous soaps and other products – Most soaps and personal care products contain surfactants. When surfactants intermingle with water, they bind to oil and remove beneficial fats that protect your skin. Everyone likes bubbles and lather, but the more bubbles and lather a product contains, the more surfactants it has. In addition, most personal care shower products contain dangerous chemicals that are readily absorbed by the skin.
- Washing all body parts equally – While it is necessary to wash areas with a large number of sweat glands and bacteria, such as the groin, buttocks, and armpits, it is not necessary to spend a great deal of time on other parts. You even need to be careful about how you wash your genitalia. Here is what anthropologist Leslie Turnbull has to say on the matter.
“The external genitalia of both men and women need to be cleaned … However, given the sensitivities of these areas, this is best done with the hand, not a cloth…and, believe it or not, the water of the shower is probably all you need.
If you feel you really need to use your surfactant-free soap on your groin and (for guys) testicles and (ladies) external labia, then whatever you do … keep that soap away from the areas where your outside turns into your inside.
Both urologists and gynecologists agree; soap in these places is as unnecessary and potentially harmful as soap in the eye. Both genders should clean their external genitals front to back, finishing with the perianal area. As with every other part of the body, rinse well both front and back.”
- You neglect your feet – It is usually the case that most people wash too much in most areas while neglecting their feet. Did you know that the runoff from cleaning your body does not remove bacteria and dead skin cells from your feet? You need to bend down and give your feet a good old scrubbing. If bending down is difficult, purchase a shower foot scrubbing mat – this helps remove bacteria and dead skin cells.
- You forget to wash behind your ears – Although your mother may have told you to do so, you may still forget the area behind your ears. A little nonsurfactant soap and water is all the area needs to stay clean and bacteria free.
- You shampoo too frequently – Just like your skin, your scalp, and hair will dry out if you wash it too frequently. The less often you wash your hair, the less often it actually needs to be washed. Ironically, over-shampooing can make your hair too oily. Take a look at what is in your shampoo. It is likely that some dangerous ingredients are lurking in the bottle. These chemicals include endocrine disruptors like sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates that are used make your shampoo smell like blueberries and such, and methylisothiazolinone ( MIT) and parabens for preservatives. Opt for organic products instead that use plant oils for fragrance.
- You waste water – Long showers are equally as bad for your skin as super hot showers. Not to mention the fact that long showers use a tremendous amount of water. The average American shower uses 17.2 gallons of water and lasts 8.2 minutes. That is an average of 2.1 gallons per minute. How much water do you waste waiting for your shower water to warm up? Why not place a bucket under the water and use it to water flowers or your veggie garden?
As a side note, go ahead and pee in the shower. Peeing in the shower may seem gross, but it does conserve water – 27% of all water used in America is used for flushing toilets.
-The Alternative Daily