Are You Bathing Too Frequently?
Tyrades! by Danny Tyree
When I worked at my late uncle’s junkyard during junior high school, one of the regular customers (a crusty coot who resembled a cantankerous Roy Rogers sidekick wannabe) assured us that he luxuriated in a steaming bathtub each and every night.
We were skeptical, but it still burned in my brain an image of grimy tumbling tumbleweeds popping through the suds. Brrrrr.
Anyhow, for the past several decades I’ve taken the uprightness of a daily shower for granted.
But a recent social media kerfuffle over celebrity couples with lax personal hygiene standards for themselves and their children started me researching the topic of showering and bathing frequency.
Times change. When I was working up a sweat at the junkyard, “Dueling Banjos” was on the AM radio. Now the internet is full of dueling dermatologists.
Some dermatologists tell us that the polite-society-approved daily cleanup is the safest bet. Others warn that it can be wasteful or even harmful to bathe more than three or four times a week (with exceptions for sponge baths for armpits, feet and private parts).
Emboldened by the second group of skin doctors, myriad rebels are only too happy to rain on the parade of people who actually enjoy the physical and emotional aspects of the bathing ritual. (“I demand a retraction! We don’t rain on anyone. They might feel compelled to rub themselves dry with a towel! Oh, the humanity!”)
The passion of these zealots catches me off-guard. With all the geese and swans to worry about, who would have imagined that Rubber Duckie would be atop 2021’s endangered waterfowl list? Who imagined that singing in the shower would be reduced to “Well, I’m a-runnin’ down the road/Tryin’ to loosen my…To be continued”?
Proponents of infrequent bathing have mastered both positive and negative reinforcement to achieve their goals. My Google research for this column uncovered websites that promised my skin would be “vibrant and radiant” if I just cut back on washing. I think that ship has already sailed – and brushed its starboard hull against both cheeks, if my mirror is any indication.