15:44 GMT20 September 2020
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    Many people like to either start or end their day with a nice, hot shower. However, experts now warn that bathing every day could increase your risk of infection.

    According to research by Dr. Elaine Larson, an infectious disease expert and associate dean for research at Columbia University School of Nursing, antibacterial soaps and cleaning products, combined with scrubbing, isn't very effective in lowering the risk for infectious diseases. 

    "I think showering is mostly for aesthetic reasons," Larson said, Time reported.

    "People think they're showering for hygiene or to be cleaner, but bacteriologically, that's not the case," she explained.

    Instead of showering daily to reduce illness, Larson recommends that people wash their hands frequently. In addition, people should wash their clothes regularly since clothing tends to accumulate dead skin cells.

    Dr. C Brandon Mitchell, assistant professor of dermatology at The George Washington University, also agrees, adding that frequent bathing can strip the skin of natural oils and remove the good bacteria that helps support people's' immune systems.

    "Your body is naturally a well-oiled machine. I think most people over-bathe," Mitchell told Time. 

    In fact, showering just once or twice a week is usually enough for most people.

    "I tell patients who shower daily not to lather their whole bodies," Mitchell said, adding that only areas that produce strong odors should be scrubbed.

    "Some people with a dry scalp and hair probably only need to lather it every few weeks," Mitchell also noted, although those with dandruff or other scalp issues may need to wash their hair more frequently.

    A study released in January 2017 by the Genetic Science Center at the University of Utah also revealed that over-cleansing can disrupt the human microbiome.

    The researchers studied the Yanomami village in the Amazon and discovered that the people who live there, who had never had contact with any Western people, have richer microbial ecosystems in their skin than Westerners and "the highest diversity of bacteria and genetic functions ever reported in a human group" because they presumably don't bathe as frequently using cleaning products. This suggests that Westernization can affect the healthy human microbiome. Multiple studies suggests that have a rich, diverse skin microbiome can help maintain an acidic environment on the skin that prevents the growth of pathogens. 

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    Tags:
    infection, bacteria, shower, study, United States
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