What Happens If You Don't Shower For Two Days? Here's What Science Has To Say
Especially when it's cold out, bothering to wet yourself down to wash is a chilly pain, and definitely not the highlight of your day. But what happens if you don't shower for just two days is actually pretty disgusting, so maybe you'll suck it up a little more this time around. You don't want to be (or look, or smell) uncivilized, do you?
According to an article published at TwentyTwoWords (via HelloGiggles), our bodies contain 1,000 types of bacteria (plus 40 types of fungus), not all of them good. When you don't shower, the bacteria proliferate and can ultimately enter the inside of your body through holes like your mouth and nose. Even the bacteria that aren't dangerous may produce stinky byproducts, reportedly leading to over 30 distinct types of bodily odor.
That's right, if you don't shower you could start radiating 30 types of B.O. Basically, your body secretes sweat and oils beginning after your last shower, but these don't smell by themselves. Instead, accumulating bodily secretions provide a snack for the aforementioned bacteria, encouraging them to grow and stink in just a day or two. Certain illnesses, conditions, and habits can cause body odors, too. But stress is one of them, so try not to worry about your B.O. too much!
Still, I must confess that I'm not too concerned about the two-day shower hiatus (and I've certainly gone longer than that, to be honest). Although an unwashed body harbors many more bacteria and resulting odors in comparison to a squeaky clean one (duh), I'm unable to find any kind of empirical claim about just how dangerous these bodily bacteria are. Ordinary adults with healthy immune systems are quite capable of encountering a wide variety of germs in their environments without falling prey to each of them.
It's also unclear whether showering promotes a healthy balance of bacteria, or whether showering disrupts the bacteria balance on your skin. Maybe habitual shower-takers are locked into a vicious cycle, where our bacteria are screwed up from too much washing so we're forced to keep washing frequently. The availability of clean water and soap is a recent phenomenon, so I doubt humans would have evolved to really badly need thorough washing every day for our health. Instead, showering regularly is probably more like a cultural practice than a safety one.
And although the effects of not showering are not always pretty, over-showering has ill effects too. Taking too many showers (I'm looking at you, daily showerers) can — drumroll, please — even cause small cracks in your skin that also potentially let bad bacteria in. So basically, it's damned if you do, damned if you don't when it comes to frequent showering. So if you want to reclaim all that time spent in the bathroom and you're comfortable with your look and smell, you can quit showering (at least partially) without fear.