The majority of people can be broken into two distinct factions when it comes to time spent in the shower: those that let time drift away as they leisurely lather up, and those that treat a shower as a business trip — quick, efficient, and to the point.
The EPA currently estimates that the average shower time for an individual is around eight minutes, but both the time and frequency of showers vary across all demographics and age groups.
Whatever side of the scale you fall on, you may have not put much thought into how showers can affect your health and body. Showers that are either too short or too long can put a person at risk for a number of surprising health detriments.
Shower Duration: Men vs Women
As with everything else in life, men and women have some major differences in their shower tendencies and rituals, per Global News Wire.
Women, on average, take longer showers than men and have a greater tendency to take them at night. They use this time before bed to do some of their biggest thinking, with 84% of women surveyed saying they reflect on their day in the shower, and 78% of them saying they use that time to run through any pertinent to-do lists.
Men, on the other hand, take shorter showers than women and have a greater tendency to take them in the morning. Those surveyed said they did not spend significant shower time reflecting on their day, and despite showering for less time, they took more showers than women.
Don’t Stay in Too Long
Hot showers — to a point — are a fantastic way to wind down and relax. They have been proven to provide a number of benefits such as opening pores, easing anxiety, and soothing sore muscles.
But, the problems with hot showers start at around 15 minutes.
Dr. Edidiong Kaminska — who recommends showers between five and ten minutes — told Healthline, “The purpose of showering is to hydrate and cleanse the skin, but warm or hot showering for prolonged periods strips away natural oils of the skin and opens up our pores and allows moisture to escape.”
Dry, cracked skin isn’t just an itchy issue, but can also lead to bacterial infections.
According to Dr. Arielle Kauvar, via Bustle, “Skin dryness can lead to breaks in your skin, which can increase the exposure to infections, chemicals, and allergens. Shorter, cooler, less frequent showers are better for skin, especially in the winter when cold weather reduces humidity levels. Moisturize immediately after bathing and [pat your skin] dry to seal in skin moisture.”
But, Not Too Short
While it’s important not to take a shower that is too long, don’t let that scare you into taking showers that are too short.
Kaminska went on to tell Healthline, “We all have normal bacteria and organisms that live on our skin, and this protects our skin from injury or insult. If the balance is tilted toward the overgrowth of normal or healthy flora, this may increase the risk of skin infection—not to mention the risk of body odor if you consistently under-wash your skin.”
So, when in the shower, be yourself. Sing, dance, get clean, think about your day and pending to-do lists — just make sure to keep it roughly between five and ten minutes. Your body will thank you.