There's something almost magical about taking a shower, isn't there? It can wake you up in the morning or mellow you out before bed. It leaves you feeling purified after a workout or a day at the beach. It helps relieve our stuffy noses and our kids' croup. It's even cathartic (who hasn't indulged in a good cry in the shower?). So it's almost painful to announce that there are times when you actually shouldn't shower, even though there are good reasons behind it.
Our ancestors would have laughed or gasped if they could have seen our modern clean-freak habits. Back in the 18th century, it was widely believed that bathing led to illness, and most homes had no washing facilities other than a simple basin. By the mid-1800s, indoor plumbing became more common, and more houses started including crude bathtubs, according to JStor. Even then, doctors warned against doing anything more than taking a quick dunk in cold water; warm-water bathing was considered extremely unhealthy. Not until the early 20th century, when more was known about the connection between bacteria and disease, did Americans begin taking daily baths and showers with soap.
Now, it seems almost impossible to imagine a day without a good wash. But depending on the circumstances and your beauty regimen, there are times when it's better to switch up your daily routine and take your shower an hour or more later, or even (yes!) skip a day. When? Read on for the surprising reasons.
1. In The Morning
This is going to come as a shock to those of us who start our day off with a quick splash, but showering first thing in the a.m. is unhygienic, explained USA Today. Why? It may leave you clean for a short time, but by the time you go to bed, you've accumulated a day's worth of sweat and dirt. That, in turn, gets transferred to your sheets and pillows when you turn in, which means that you're basically sleeping in a bacteria factory all night. Ew ew ew. You're better off hitting the shower before getting in your PJs, which will wash off the day's grime and leave your bed less stomach-turningly gross.
2. If Your Skin Is Dry
You may love a steamy shower to warm up in the winter, but your skin definitely doesn't. As WebMD explained, one of the most common causes of dry skin is exposure to hot water. That, along with winter's drier air and the heat in your home, can leave your skin scaly and itchy. To combat the problem, take shorter showers and keep the water warm but not scalding. Apply a good body lotion immediately after toweling off, and moisturize your hands often. Use a humidifier in your home to keep the air moist.
3. After Getting A Manicure
You just spent a chunk of time and money getting your nails lacquered to a perfect shine. Keep them that way by waiting at least six hours before showering or doing the dishes, advised Allure. Hot water will soften the fresh polish and make it more likely to chip and peel away.
4. During A Thunderstorm
Do you hear thunder rumbling outside? Step awaaaaaay from the bathroom. Seriously. National Weather Service lightning specialist John Jensenius told the Today show that home plumbing is highly conductive during a thunderstorm. In other words, if lightning hits your house — or even comes close to it — the electricity can travel through your pipes and deliver a powerful shock to anyone touching the water. (Talk about very very frightening!) That goes for washing dishes and clothes, too, as well as touching appliances plugged into the wall. Once the storm passes, wait at least half an hour before running the shower, just to be sure.
5. Right After A Workout
Just finished a cycling session or an aerobics class? Before hitting the showers, it's more important to stretch immediately after working out, according to Shape. Wait too long, and your muscles cool down and contract, making you more prone to injury if you try to stretch later. Take at least 10 minutes to bend and get loose; then you can go wash up. In fact, it's a good idea to get out of your sweaty clothes within half an hour of exercising, which reduces the odds of breakouts and yeast infections.
6. If You Showered Yesterday
It can be hard to imagine going a day without bathing, but scientifically speaking, we don't really need to shower every day, explained Lifehack. Dermatology professor Dr. Casey Carlos of the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, told the site that not only does daily showering make the skin dry and rough, it also takes off the beneficial bacteria that protect our bodies from infection. You can still feel fresh on non-shower days, he added, by wiping your armpits and groin with a wet washcloth, using deodorant, and wearing fresh underwear. It might take some getting used to, but it's better for your bod in the long run.
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