July 23, 2024

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Avoiding daily showers is one solution to help the climate

Avoiding daily showers is one solution to help the climate

In a time of soaring energy bills and environmental concerns, is it necessary to shower with liters of water every day? Dermatologists don’t necessarily need to follow certain hygiene rules.

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According to a recent study by Ifop, three-quarters of French people (76%) say they wash thoroughly every day, as do their German neighbors (77%), the British (68%) and especially Italians (53%).

However, this daily rainfall weighs on energy bills and has an environmental impact. According to the Water Information Center (Cieau) laboratory, one shower uses about 57 liters of water, or almost 40% of a French person’s total daily consumption.

Is it really necessary to shower every day? “We don’t have to wash our head to toe every day,” replies Marie Jordan, a dermatologist in Paris.

The skin is a living organ that renews itself: “It cleans itself,” explains a member of the French Society of Dermatology (SFD).

The surface of the skin is covered with an emulsion of water and fat that forms a hydrolipidic film, the first line of defense against infectious agents and pollution.

This film is also essential in preventing dehydration.

“The skin is an ecosystem like any other and its balance must be preserved,” stresses Mary Jordan.

If the skin is “overloaded” with pollution or sweat, it needs to be cleaned. But as a general rule, “daily wiping of areas that are prone to bacterial colonization, such as underarms, toes, or private parts, with heavy, oily sweat is sufficient,” she explains.

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Conversely, “too frequent washing can create dryness and eczema,” she adds.

Since the 19th century and the work of Louis Pasteur, we have known that washing kills most of the bacteria that cause infections.

But today, “in our offices, we see many people who wash themselves too much, several times a day, often out of fear of viruses,” reports Laurence Netter, a dermatologist and venereologist in Paris.

“The risk is to alter the surface hydrolipidic film that allows the skin to stay naturally healthy,” he continues.

Dermatologists therefore recommend focusing on areas where germs and sweat nest, using minimal detergents or foaming agents that attack the skin.

“If we practice this hygiene and shower every two or three days, it’s not a problem, unless we sweat a lot or play sports,” Lawrence Netter says. “It’s also great for adjusting to good hygiene, healthy skin and low energy consumption,” he said.

“It’s not necessary to wash the whole body once a day, with soap,” says Mary Jordan.

As for bathing, you can forget about it. It can swallow 150 to 200 liters of water. And if it is associated with a moment of relaxation, it is often too hot or too long, which dries out the skin without balancing the composition of the epidermis.

In contrast to the “sanitary” trend, the “no-rinse” movement, the practice of washing less often – for ecological reasons and to protect one’s skin – broke out in the US about ten years ago.

Without claiming to be part of such a movement, Alexandre Mounier, 31, head of the “Don’t Waste a Day” association, uses the same principles: “I only shower three times a month when I’m dirty or when I’m sweating.” he told AFP.

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“In recent months, I’ve found that I’m not doing anything wrong, and in the current environment, every drop counts,” he explains. A change, it seems, hasn’t harmed him: “So far, no one has told me ‘you stink’!”