11 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Stop Showering

Personal hygiene is a major thing folks. And there's important reasons to shower frequently. But it's also a personal decision. Indeed, what one person defines as "frequently" is certainly not what the next person does. And frankly, neither is right or wrong. We know there are a lot of people who would shudder at the thought of not bathing daily — however, it's truly not necessary. Plus, it turns out that there are plenty of people who don't believe they need to suds up every day of the week. 


Also notable is that showering behaviors differ by country. In America, people tend to shower, well, a lot. While, according to The Atlantic, in countries such as Spain and Turkey, the practice isn't as commonplace. First off, not everyone has an almost obsessive "thing" with cleanliness. Truth be told, 100 years ago, our ancestors were certainly not bathing all the time. Not surprisingly, the advertising industry had a massive influence on our current standards of cleanliness. And so guess who was first behind trying to sell products such as soap and shampoo? Yes, the advertising industry. 

Enter the age of bathing to ensure we didn't smell. "The idea of needing to shower daily to maintain personal hygiene is more of a social norm and habit," Dr. Elizabeth Bahar Houshmand, dermatologist, revealed to Bustle. Experts report that bathing every two to three days is perfectly fine for the average person. Americans, however, seem to make showering part of daily life. 


In any case, here's 11 things that will happen to your body if you stop showering. 

Brown patches will pop up

One of the essential benefits of frequent showering, besides the obvious reasons, is you actually get rid of your dead skin. Generally speaking, the skin that's already dead comes up to the top of your skin and is then washed away while bathing. But stop showering and the dead skin comes together seamlessly along with your skin's oils. This creates plaques of crusty skin. As if this isn't bad enough, these crusty patches  continue to grow in clumps and turn brown after being exposed to pollution and dirt. Yes, it isn't pretty.


In fact, there's even a name for this condition. According to a study, this is known as dermatitis neglecta. It most frequently occurs from not hearty-enough-washing. In other words, you need to suds up your body with a washcloth. Without friction on your skin while in a shower, there is a build up of sweat and sebum which results in the dark plaques of skin. Additionally, the presence of dirt on your body and face won't be cleansed which means specks of dirt or makeup may show up on your clothing. It's hard to hide not showering folks! 

You'll stink

It may take awhile, but eventually you'll smell bad if you don't shower. But why? It turns out it's not actually our sweat that makes us smell but our skin's bacteria that meets with our sweat. Now that this has been established, let's explore it a bit more!


Like it or not, we all have bacteria on our skin. It's totally normal. But when we sweat, the water, fat, and salt come together with this natural bacteria creating an odor. However, funny enough, this odor isn't necessarily bad. The smell factor of the odor comes from your hormones, diet, and medications. Who knew?

Plus, it turns out that men have more issues with potentially smelling bad since they have more hair (and more apocrine glands). Fortunately, this smelly ordeal for men doesn't start until puberty. There's nothing worse than lingering body odor after a solid workout — and if you don't shower, everyone around you will surely notice. 

Your skin will get dry

Flakey, dry skin is also a result of not showering regularly. Generally speaking, if your skin doesn't have enough moisture, it becomes dry. Some dry skin gets itchy, while extremely dry skin can even result in bleeding from painful cracks in the skin. Ever noticed how the side of your finger by the nail "cracks" from wintery weather? This is an example of seriously dry skin. This condition is called xerosis.


However — and this is important — if you're someone who likes to stand in the shower for lengthy amounts of time (we all know them), your soaking could actually be the culprit of dry skin. Dr. Elizabeth Bahar Houshmand, dermatologist, told Bustle, "Regularly taking excessively long showers or baths can strip away natural oils from your skin's barrier. This can cause dryness and irritation."

Paradoxically, if you stop bathing for a while with soaps and body wash gels, your skin will actually begin to moisturize itself. So if you decide to forgo the shower, remember that while you may not be washing off the day's dirt, you will be aiding your skin in creating its own moisturizing process. Hmmm ... is it worth it? We think not. But what if you are showering regularly (and not excessively) and still experiencing dry skin? Moisturize right after bathing, of course! This is when your skin soaks up most of the moisturizer's good stuff. Hallelujah!


You'll get athlete's foot

Ugh! This is a bad one. Itchy and skin-peeling-between-your-toes feet are certainly not for the faint-hearted! Not only does this condition hurt but it really itches! And naturally, it's horribly uncomfortable to have ugly, itchy feet. Not to mention how easily it can spread to another person's foot. By simply walking on the carpet barefoot with athlete's foot, you can infect the next person to walk in that same spot barefoot. Double yuck!


"The more you sweat, the worse it gets, because that creates moisture that bacteria and fungus need to thrive. The areas that are impacted most are under the breasts, arms, groin, and in between the toes. These areas are most prone to become infected with yeast and other fungi," said Dr. Tania Elliott, internal medicine physician, to The List. The lesson here is pretty straightforward: Jump in that shower and be sure to change your socks!

You'll develop acne

It just makes sense that blackheads and acne will come around if you stop bathing regularly. As we've established, poor personal hygiene causes a host of issues including acne on the body. And if you're not changing your clothes enough, you create yet another potential environment for gross bacteria to grow on your skin. More bad news? Turns out tight clothes can end up producing acne as well (think "bacne"). We know, it's brutal.


Dr. David Lortscher, board-certified dermatologist and Curology creator, told Well + Good the dirty news on body acne. "Sweating and humidity can aggravate breakouts by giving the bacteria on the skin a better environment to grow," Dr. Lortscher said. "Restrictive, tight clothing, like athletic clothing can also contribute, as sources of friction can aggravate acne as well, which is why we often see acne in women that occurs along the line of a sports bra."

You'll save on your water bill

Here's one serious positive to not showering! Finally! You should certainly save on that water bill. But it begs the question — is it worth it? We're pretty confident most people's answer is a resounding "no." But the money you'd save brings up an extremely important point about our precious water. We need to be mindful of how much we're using and do our part to not waste it.


According to Big Bathroom Shop, a standard shower head (which are no longer sold in America), will use around 25 gallons of water during a 10 minute shower. While a water-saving low-flow showerhead will use around 20 gallons during a 10 minute shower.

It may be easier to visualize 20 gallons for you this way: Basically, it is the amount a 2009 Ford Taurus' car gas tank can carry. Obviously, low-flow items have taken off in popularity in the last few decades. And for good reason! They save water and in turn save our planet. So whether you're someone who takes a shower every day or spaces it out to a few times a week, be mindful of the water you're using. 

Fungus may grow in undesirable areas

We've already discussed the disgusting fungus that can grow in between your toes if you don't shower, but that's just one area fungus can show up. If you decide to forgo bathing, you may find that you have fungus popping up all over the more, um, personal areas of your body.


Amy Wechsler, New York City dermatologist, shared with Allure, "Aside from the body odor, there would be an overgrowth of yeast, and likely bacteria and fungus in the groin, underarms, buttocks, feet." Yes, it's disgusting. Nevertheless, it happens. So say fungus did grow on your groin, what would happen? Jock itch. According to Mount Sinai, this unfortunate condition occurs mostly in men who have been sweating a lot or are wearing clothes that easily retain moisture. Also, someone with athlete's foot can easily transfer the foot fungus to the groin area from changing their clothes — the clothing brushes against the fungus on the foot and is then pulled up to the groin area where it becomes a problem. Ugh! 


"Our skin is our defense to the environmental toxins and debris we encounter on a daily basis. If not cared for properly by washing, then we allow the opportunity for a fungal infection, [like] ringworm from the floor mat of the gym, or a bacterial infection [such as] staph you may have picked up on the subway," shared Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, family and emergency medicine doctor, to Bustle. Enough said, thankfully!

Your skin will get scaly

Oh, the depths of gross don't stop when it comes to a lack of showering. Elizabeth Tanzi, founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and associate clinical professor, department of dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center, shared with Allure that skin will probably get scaly. "In general, when the skin is not cleansed or exfoliated, it can get itchy from a lack of exfoliation, and a pink greasy scaly rash can form on certain parts of the face, scalp, and chest." Ouch!


None of this is attractive and can be prevented. So, let's be sure to suds up and get extra clean. We'd even throw in exfoliating to the mix to be safe. Of course, exfoliation removes dead skin cells that are already taking up residence on your skin. Exfoliating also keeps acne away, allows other products to really get into your skin, unclogs pores and even encourages circulation. Best of all? It leaves your skin shiny and healthy!

Your scalp with itch

This one's a nightmare! Anyone who has ever pushed their wash-their-hair-day out beyond the norm has experienced an itchy scalp. It's the unfortunate result of not shampooing your hair soon enough. And while we love dry shampoo for its hide-the-oily-strands result, it most certainly will not keep that frustrating itch at bay, friends. This is where dandruff comes from, and it always will.


So let's be sure to lather on the shampoo while showering to keep any horribly itchy scalp from debuting on your head. Plus, if you love long, healthy hair, keep in mind that industry experts report having clean hair helps it grow!

Jennifer Korab, hairstylist and colorist educator with Pureology, revealed to Allure, "Washing your hair regularly promotes hair growth. This is because hair washing involves gentle scalp massaging which stimulates the hair roots and increases blood flow to your hair." Need any other reason to hop in that shower?

You'll have dead skin cells all over your body

Did you know it's totally normal to have dead skin cells all over our body? Indeed, it's part of the human condition. Equally bizarre? It's also normal to have millions of bacteria taking up residence on our bodies.


However, rest assured that we actually shed millions of these dead cells every day. But if you stop regularly showering, the normal process of these dead skin cells sloughing off will be impeded, potentially creating many of the skin conditions we've discussed and want to avoid.

Family and emergency medicine doctor, Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, M.D. revealed to Bustle that, "We all have good bacteria that lives on our skin. But if you don't help out the good bacteria by washing and exfoliating, dead skin cells accumulate, creating a medium for bacterial or fungal overgrowth, infection, and inability to fight the bad bacteria and fungus we encounter."

You'll just feel gross

At the end of the day for most of us, not showering just doesn't feel good physically or mentally. There's just something about jumping in the shower for a quick wake-me-up right after rolling out of bed. And there's a lot to be said of coming home after a long day and soaking in a bathtub full of bubbles.


So while having poor personal hygiene is literally bad for your skin, it is also not favorable for your psyche. In fact, laying in the warm water of a tub may actually enhance your mental health. Why? Well, for starters you're taking care of yourself. We all need rest and relaxation. And have you ever noticed how you actually feel "bad" if you don't wash your hands? It's as if the guilty-germ-monster comes out and whispers, "You might get sick!" And given the frequency with which we touch dirty things throughout the day, isn't it just worth it to wash those hands? We think so!

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