Dwayne Johnson bathes three times a day. A cold shower in the morning, a warm one after a workout and a hot bath on returning from work, he tweeted.
The Rock’s bathing routine doesn’t find favour with fellow Hollywood actors Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Jake Gyllenhaal. They don’t believe in bathing every day.
Hollywood couple Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis revealed they didn’t thoroughly bathe their kids every day. “I wasn’t that parent that bathed my newborns ever,” Kunis told the Armchair Expert podcast last month. “If you can see the dirt on them, clean them,” added Kutcher. “Otherwise, there’s no point.”
Gyllenhaal told Vanity Fair that his bathing has become more lax over the years. “More and more I find bathing to be less necessary, at times,” Gyllenhaal said.
So who’s right? Johnson or Kutcher?
Some people say frequent bathing damages the skin, while others say a shower rids you of bacteria, dust, allergens and makes you feel fresh.
We talked to the doctors and people for their opinions. Here’s what they said.
Skin will lose its protection
Dr Sara ElHadi, a dermatologist at Dermalase Clinic, Al Wasl, Dubai, said that she sees many patients with eczemas and contact dermatitis every month. “The topmost layer of our skin surface contains a layer of lipids called ceramides. They are like glue for the skin and act as a barrier protecting our skin from external assault, locking essential natural oil and moisture of our body, preventing the absorption of environmental pollutants such as harmful chemicals and maintaining the PH balance of our body,” she said.
“Ideally, we must bathe only once a day to wash out any build-up of dead cells, bacteria and germs. However, many people have the habit of stepping into the shower once too often, and that can be very harmful to the body as it strips away the protective ceramide layer of the skin, exposing it to allergens, irritants and resulting in ‘eczematic’ skin,” Dr ElHadi added.
Frequent showers dry the skin
Dr P Tamil Vendan, a specialist in internal medicine at Medeor Hospital, Dubai, warned of dehydration and dryness if people who work indoors bathe more than once. “I get many patients who complain of dry, itchy skin and red blotches that appear as soon as they take a bath. Not everyone is working outdoors. People who have desk jobs and are indoors in air-conditioning do not have a sweat or dirt problem. Yet many bathe at least twice a day,” the doctor said.
“Being in air-conditioned rooms all day strip the body of moisture, and then bathing more than once further aggravates the skin. I would advise people with indoor jobs to take a bath once in two days. If they do take a bath, they must not use very hot water, and it is important to moisturise as soon as they step out of the shower, to dab dry and apply a thick layer of moisturiser on the damp skin to trap the moisture in the skin and avoid dryness,” Dr Vendan advised.
Check for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder tendency
Dr ElHadi said people who shower three to four times a day may have an underlying Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
“Our body can naturally protect itself. If we feel sweaty and dirty, we can wear light cotton clothes during summers, change our tunic, wash in areas that produce excessive sweat, but we need not take a bath more than once. If people who work on dusty sites need to bathe twice a day, I would recommend using plain water or a non-chemical, hypoallergenic cleanser to protect the skin,” she said.
Scrub, sauna and Moroccan baths only once in two months
Dr ElHadi also cautioned against Moroccan baths and scrubs, saying such deep cleansing baths with scrubbing, steaming, cleansing should be undertaken only once in two months. “Once the skin’s ceramide layer is shed, it takes some time for it to return. Until then, our skin surfaces are exposed to environmental irritants.”
What do people based in UAE say?
Ajay Chaturvedi, a business development manager based in Dubai, said: “Taking a shower more than once a day is mandatory for me. If I step out of home on outdoor assignments and feel hot, sweaty and dusty, I return home, shower, change clothes before reporting to the office. During summers, I shower at least three times a day.
“Taking a shower before I go to my bed at night is an essential ritual for me, one that I don’t skip. I must shower, even if it’s 1 am. I feel a shower rids you of bacteria, dust, allergens and makes you feel fresh and light. I would not be able to sleep unless I shower.”
Hafed OP, a manager of a trading company based in Abu Dhabi, said: “I have to bathe at least twice a day. This ritual is part of my life since I got into a sales job. Before coming to the UAE, five years ago, I was working in Bangalore [India]. Back then, I would take a bath after coming home from work. I do the same now. Once I am home by 6.30 pm, I wash my hands, have my evening tea, and after that, I have to step into the shower before I sit down for dinner. For me, bathing is all about cleanliness, hygiene and feeling fresh. I will not miss my evening shower unless I am ill or indisposed. It is essential for me to feel relaxed and refreshed after a day’s work, and only a nice warm shower can give me that feeling.”
Muskan Babbar, a student based in Dubai, said: “Bathing is central to my routine. I bathe as many times as I step out of home, be it for shopping, meeting friends or even for a stroll. On average, I bathe twice a day, but sometimes the number can go up to three or even four times.
“In the morning, when I get up, I step into a warm shower, have a gentle scrub and step out. But my evening or night showers are prolonged where I use a shower gel, an exfoliator, and an intensive scrub. These scrubbings increase blood circulation and make me feel relaxed. I have an occasional soak in the night, but it is a cool shower more often than not. I step out feeling fresh, relaxed and have a cool head. The scrub makes me sleep well in the night.”