You may have been shocked if you recently caught Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis oversharing their bathing habits (or lack of recently). The news that they didn't bathe themselves, or their children as often as some thought they should, really raised some eyebrows and even prompted other celebrities like Dwayne Johnson to quip that he's the “opposite of a not washing themselves celeb.”
In fact, The Rock says he showers three times a day on average. However, is foregoing the bathing and just giving your pits and bits a spot clean really all that bad? Or, are The Kutcher’s and Johnson’s hygiene practices missing the mark?
How Much Bathing is Enough?
Stories about how often celebrities bathe come up in the news all the time. While we are intrigued to know how clean celebrities have to be in order to maintain their camera-ready look, these stories raise big questions surrounding bathing frequency.
Such personal tattling also leaves us wondering: How much bathing is needed and what problems come up when people bathe too often or not enough? Also, does cutting back on bathing help conserve water, or is it just causing more problems than it solves.
California is Tinder Dry Right Now
After two dry winters, water supplies are looking more precarious in California’s new drought season. Given the climate change-fueled drought conditions in California and much of the Southwest, efficiently using and effectively managing finite water resources is a high priority.
Since the Kutchers live in Los Angeles and Dwayne Johnson lists his home as being in Hayward, it’s a safe bet to say they reside in the Golden State most of the time. Because of public announcements, water conservation is likely on their radar too.
Of course, when farmers are seeing their crops shrivel up due to lack of irrigated water, the reservoirs are shrinking and the danger of wildfires is increasing all over California, a resident announcing that they are taking several showers a day can seem a little tone-deaf.
The Experts Weigh In
For many people, the natural assumption is to bathe at least once a day, either before bed or in the morning when they get up. Dermatologists say that frequency is unnecessary, and that the notion that we need to shower every 24 hours, while great for the soap industry, is neither necessary nor ideal and may even be over-drying your skin. The experts universally agree that most of us only need to take a few showers a week, depending upon our environment and activities.
What do You Do In Between Showers?
Our grandparents worked in harsher conditions compared to what we do today, and they probably bathed less too. But, honestly, in the summer there are parts of us that get a little sticky in between those infrequent showers. You don’t want to have people holding their noses when they get close to you, so what do you do?
The answer is there are probably many people who are conscientious about wasting water that just spot clean their body in between showers. In fact, it’s pretty much what happened in the days before modern plumbing brought water conveniently to our indoor spigots.
You can use a basin or sink with a sponge and soap to clean yourself. This is a great way to freshen up when you're in a hurry or when you don't want to wastewater. First, focus on your armpits, private areas, and feet. Next, give the rest of your body a thorough wipe down. You can use a baby wipe in the place of the soap and water in a pinch.
If the Kutcher family is doing this, you have to ask yourself why the backlash? In fact, it sounds likely that they might have the whole bathing thing down pat.
What about Deodorant?
Deodorant is a wonderful invention, and it does wonders. Imagine the whiffs you would get before it was available. Australian actor Simon Baker apparently doesn’t think so, and said, “I don't use deodorant. If you drink enough water, you shouldn't have to. I think I smell pretty good without it.”
There we are back to water usage, and it makes you wonder if anyone standing close to him agreed when it got really hot outside. Maybe he is solving that issue with multiple showers if it exists. Who knows?
On the other hand, there’s something about not shaving and letting your armpits go "au naturale." If I get the slightest bit of armpit hair growth, I can almost hear the whoop, whoop whoop sound of my deodorant failing – still, props to anyone of the female persuasion that can manage an untamed mass of hair under their arms without issues.
What about When You Work Out?
Showering enough helps keep your skin blemish-free by preventing an oily build up and this is particularly important if you work out regularly.
In addition, if you wear sweat-soaked clothes for extended periods after working out, it leads to irritation and the increased risk of small breaks or abrasions occurring on your skin. Similarly, when you wait too long to bathe, it can cause an overgrowth of fungus, including the fungus that gifts you with jock itch.
Going by Dwayne Johnson’s considerable physique, it’s not a stretch to say there is a lot of working out going on. As you can, the Jumanji star has a case for showering when he works out, although it’s probably excessive to do it several times a day in the face of a lingering drought.
Not to scold anyone, but Johnson could probably do better until they invent a waterless shower. There really is one, by the way, in the form of a moisturizing, antibacterial formula in a bottle that they use in poor communities without any water.
It’s tough to picture celebrities endorsing such a product, but they may need to ramp up production for the Southwestern consumers if drought conditions persist.
Other Ways to Conserve Water
So, is cutting back on bathing really the answer, or is it just a small drip in a very large bucket? Fortunately, every little bit helps, and there are other actions you can take to conserve water. For instance, the Sierra Club estimates that households waste nearly 10,000 gallons of water annually just on leaks alone. So, yeah, get those fixed.
If you do insist on taking showers more than a few times a week, there are small adjustments there that can really add up. Do you really need to take a 15-minute shower to get that squeaky-clean feeling? Bear in mind that a regular showerhead uses about 30 gallons of H2O in 12 minutes. Considering that, could you make do with 12 minutes or even less? Also, why would you leave the water running while shaving or brushing your teeth?
No matter what celebrities say or do, the main takeaway from this post is that the world won’t end if you don’t take a bath or shower every day. In fact, it’s good for the environment and your skin if you don’t.
Likewise, dermatologists recommend that you only take a few showers a week, depending upon your environment, skin type and activities. However, going beyond that is just asking for trouble when it comes to your personal hygiene.
You can use baby wipes and a basin of soap and water to clean yourself in between showers too.
There are also other actions you can take to conserve water, especially if you live in a drought-stricken area like California or other places in the Southwest. In fact, fixing household leaks and cutting back time from 15-minutes to 12 minutes or under when you shower can make a world of difference.
Finally, you don’t have to tell everyone your bathing habits…