The great shower debate has previously divided the internet. From celebrities to everyday people, there have been conversations on social media about personal hygiene preferences. Some people say they shower every day. Some people claim to do it multiple times per day. Others believe it’s fine to skip a day here and there.

How Often Should You Shower?

Board certified dermatologist Tara Akunna says unless you suffer from certain skin conditions, you should take a shower every day.

“Daily is usually recommended,” Akunna said. 

People with dermatological conditions may not need to cleanse as often to avoid skin irritation. Generally, however, Akunna suggests taking a shower once a day. 

“Maybe twice a day depending on if you are a physically active person,” says Akunna.

How Long Should Showers Last?

According to Akunna, a shower should be limited to 5-15 minutes. The five-minute shower length is another suggestion for sufferers of medical conditions. Those skin conditions include eczema, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.

“We know that the longer you spend in that water, the more moisture is drawn out of your skin. More dry skin can lead to more irritation or more flares of your medical condition,” Akunna said.

Hot vs Cold Water

Akunna doesn’t recommend taking a cold or hot shower. Extremely hot water can create dry and irritated skin. 

“Make sure that the water is lukewarm, not piping hot. And you definitely don’t need to take a cold shower,” she explained.

She also says after your bath or shower, make sure you’re patting yourself dry and applying a moisturizing lotion or cream to lock moisture back into your skin.

Washing Top to Bottom

Once your shower begins, it’s best to start from the top and work your way down, “especially if you’re going to be washing your hair or using any conditioner,” warns Akunna.

She says leaving any residue from hair products on your skin can lead to a breakout. The best order would start with washing your hair, then your face, followed by torso, legs and finally your feet. Speaking of legs, there have been social media conversations over whether or not you need to physically wash your legs. Unless your skin is sensitive, Akunna says don’t skip your lower limbs.

“You’ve got to get rid of that dirt. I don’t feel like the soap running down your skin is enough to be considered washing. So, I definitely recommend for my patients to wash their entire body,” she said.

Washing Your Private Parts

Akunna also warns that it is important to be careful when cleaning your vagina and buttocks. She says you should only use a pH-balanced cleanser in those areas, and to be gentle when washing.

“Try not to scrub vigorously [in] those areas. Scrubbing is not going to get rid of dirt. It’s more likely to cause micro tears and irritation which then can lead to more infection,” Akunna said.

Washcloths, Loofahs, Etc.

Depending on your skin type, dermatologists say there are advantages and disadvantages to using washcloths, loofahs and other physical exfoliants. Washcloths and loofahs come with the risk of carrying bacteria if they are not properly dried and cleaned before every use. Items like exfoliating mitts are great for softening your skin, but too much usage can lead to damage. This is especially true for people with sensitive skin.

“Your skin barrier is not in the best condition and adding a physical exfoliant can cause more abrasion,” Akunna said.

An Everything Shower

Everything showers have become a viral trend on social media. It’s like an extended version of a normal shower, but with a touch of self-care. It’s can be a combination of cleansing, exfoliating, hair washing and shaving. Akunna says it’s important to do your everything shower in the right order.

“You definitely want to exfoliate before you shave. That helps draw any of those trapped ingrown hairs to the surface,” says Akunna.