Brazilians are generally big fans of bathing. While in some countries washing is not a daily habit, here it is common for people to shower two or more times a day. However, with the cold front bringing the temperatures down here, many people are starting to rethink the need to stay in the shower.
The issue is complicated: Some researchers believe that daily showers can lead to “over-cleansing,” removing bacteria from the skin and weakening the immune system.
This hypothesis suggests that habit may be behind the greater number of cases of allergies and autoimmune diseases currently being diagnosed, because the body will not be in sufficient contact with the microorganisms to strengthen itself. Supporters of this current argue that showering twice a week will suffice.
A study conducted by the University of Utah in the United States, which observed indigenous peoples from remote areas of the Amazon, found that individuals do not wash themselves every day and have a greater diversity of bacteria on their skin. Scientists’ theory is that microorganisms are responsible for preventing the indigenous population from getting sick so often.
On the other hand, research shows that an individual who works in an office, for example, can come into contact with 10 million bacteria, some of which cause diseases. In this scenario, daily showering will be necessary to reduce the chance of getting sick. It’s also important to shower after exercise to remove the layer of sweat from your skin.
Reduce the use of soap
The compromise between the two theories is to shower every day, but avoid whole body soaps, giving preference only to the parts that smell like the feet and armpits. Hand washing should be done several times a day, clothes should be changed and washed.
In the end, not taking a shower every day is not bad for your health, but it does help bacteria build up. In Brazil, a tropical country where you sweat a lot, it is interesting to remember that the daily bath serves not only to cleanse the body, but also to wake up in the morning or relax and promote sleep at the end of the day.
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