The “bathing discourse” conundrum, like cicadas, has officially made its comeback — as it apparently does every few seasons.

This round of the bathing discourse includes a slew of celebrities who have proudly admitted to rarely bathing, thus prompting pandemonium all over social media. In the past few weeks alone, multiple celebrities have spoken out about how infrequently they and/or their children bathe. Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, both of whom admittedly don’t wash their entire bodies, said they only bathe their kids when they “see dirt on them, otherwise there’s no point.”

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard then shared similar sentiments, with Bell saying she’s “a big fan of waiting for the stink,” and Shepard doubling down on having taken their feet “off the gas” when it comes to their children taking baths. Jake Gyllenhaal weighed in too, telling Vanity Fair that bathing is “less necessary,” and “there’s a whole world of not bathing that is also really helpful for skin maintenance, and we naturally clean ourselves.”

The Rock, however,  made sure to distinguish himself from other non-showering celebrities, asserting, via Twitter, that he showers three times a day.

People are perturbed by their favourite A-listers opting out of showering — or doing it so often, a la The Rock, which begs the question: Are we showering incorrectly? Did we miss the cleanliness memo?

Apparently, no: We’re probably doing just fine. According to Dr. Sarah Welsh, gynaecology doctor and co-founder at HANX, you probably don’t need to shower more than three times a week “unless you are visibly dirty or sweaty.” (So maybe there is some truth to Kunis and Kutchers’ waiting to “see dirt on them” theory…)

“The factors that impact your need to wash include your occupation  — if you’re doing manual labour or working with patient — and your social and exercise habits,” she explained, via The Independent. “Generally, it’s important to especially wash your feet, armpits and groin, as these areas are prone to becoming infected if not kept fresh. And even without Covid, you should ensure you wash your hands regularly.”

It’s also possible to shower too often, as doing so can “break down the skin’s natural barriers and cause soreness and dryness.”

As for when to shower, Dr. Kathy Taghipou, an NHS dermatologist from DermConsult, recommends showering in the morning as people tend to sweat in their sleep. “Washing in the morning will get rid of sweat and bacteria from the sheets that are sitting on your skin and reduce the chance of infection,” she explained.

And babies don’t need to bathe everyday, either. According to the NHS, “You don’t need to bathe your baby every day. You may prefer to wash their face, neck, hands and bottom carefully instead. This is often called ‘topping and tailing.”

“Choose a time when your baby is awake and content. Make sure the room is warm. Get everything ready beforehand. You’ll need a bowl of warm water, a towel, cotton wool, a fresh nappy and, if necessary, clean clothes.”

At the end of the day, Dr. Welsh advises: “Basically, just try to keep it clean on a regular basis.” We wholeheartedly concur — and sincerely hope the bathing discourse washes itself away. And soon.

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