German media suggests showering less
“Skip a shower, improve your skin microbiome,” – that is the takeaway of the latest article published by Germany’s Bild newspaper on Saturday. The piece promoting the supposed health benefits of less showering comes at a time when the possibility of a total embargo on all Russian energy imports is being discussed in the country.
Titled ‘It’s enough to wash THESE four body parts – Why the skin cleans itself if you let it,’ the article starts off by citing the recent advice by Germany’s economy minister, Robert Habeck, who called on his fellow countrymen and women to cut back on their heating, sauna visits, and showers to help the country reduce its dependence on Russian energy. These hygiene-related sacrifices can not only make life harder for the Kremlin, but also improve people’s skin, Bild claims.
To build the case for less showering, the journalists consulted dermatologist Yael Adler.
The article explains that there are certain bacteria strains inhabiting the skin, which, while beneficial, are typically present in small quantities. However, if a person were to give those microorganisms the “chance to propagate” by forgoing their regular shower, the good bacteria would protect their host from eczema and, moreover, consume the substances responsible for body odor, Bild says. “This way, it [skin] cleans itself.”
The dermatologist confirmed that “after three weeks the odors disappear and the skin begins a kind of a self-cleaning process.” Dr. Adler pointed out that “these good bacteria only have a chance if the skin has at least three weeks’ rest” from showering.
Apparently in a bid to dilute the seemingly radical recommendation, the dermatologist suggested that an occasional shower without soap or shampoo would not ruin the delicate skin microbiome either. The same is true even after a rigorous workout, if the article is to be believed.
“Less is more,” Adler explained, adding that “to constantly shower or bathe the skin is anything but health-promoting.”
Instead of dousing their entire body with water, the article advises Germans to focus on the following four parts instead: bottom, armpits, feet, and groin, as these are the smelliest areas of the human body. Hands are another major exception, the dermatologist said, adding that it is still important to wash them thoroughly after going to the bathroom or before a meal.
A change in washing habits could help heal up to 20% of all skin conditions caused by excessive showering and the use of soap, Adler argued.
The article comes hard on the heels of a statement by Klaus Mueller, the head of Germany’s Federal Network Agency overseeing electricity, gas, telecommunications, post, and railway markets. In a TV interview, he urged Germans to ask themselves “whether you really need to take a hot shower seven days a week – with gas heating.” Mueller noted that should Germany impose a total ban on Russian energy imports, the accumulated gas reserves would last until the end of summer or early fall at best.
In March, Berlin launched an emergency plan to better manage gas supplies, which could, among other things, see energy rationing in Europe’s industrial powerhouse.
Ukraine has been urging Germany to stop buying Russian gas; however, Berlin has so far stopped short of doing so, with officials and businesses warning that an embargo would have a devastating effect on the German economy. Berlin says it will eventually wean itself off Russian energy, but the process could take several years to complete.