The Only 3 Body Parts You Need To Wash Every Day, According To Science

We've been wondering: Are daily showers even necessary? Turns out you can get away without a full-body scrub — and still keep body odor in check — if you employ some strategic spot cleaning.

"For most people, a daily shower is fine provided they avoid aggressive bathing practices," says Melissa Piliang, M.D., a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic (via Self). But generally speaking, bathing only a few days a week or every two to three days is recommended by experts in order to avoid stripping your skin of its natural oils and drying it out. Steering clear of hot water and trading harsh soaps for ones made for sensitive skin can also help with retaining moisture. 

As for your hair? "I have always said, 'It's fine to go a few days without shampooing,'" says Alli Webb, professional hairstylist and founder of Drybar (via WebMD). "For hair that's normal in terms of oiliness and medium weight, I sometimes tell my clients to go as long as they can without shampooing."

Here are the body parts you need to wash daily

According to Sandy Skotnicki, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Toronto, focusing on three key "bits" rather than washing from head to toe can prevent problems such as eczema, an itchy inflammation that flares up on the skin (via The Atlantic). "Bits would be underarms, groin, feet," Skotnicki explains.

Your feet need regular TLC because they tend to pick up dirt if you're barefoot, and they also are known to accumulate bacteria-breeding moisture when they perspire in socks or shoes — which is why it's important to thoroughly dry them after washing (via Healthline). Meanwhile, your underarms and groin require a daily wash thanks to the apocrine sweat glands found in areas where you have hair. The glands produce a milky fluid in response to stress, and that fluid contributes to B.O. when mixed with the bacteria on your skin (via Mayo Clinic).  

That being said, using soap can throw off the vagina's normal pH and can stimulate the growth of harmful bacteria, so be sure to keep the suds outside of your body. "Never put soap in the vagina," says Tami Rowen, M.D., an ob-gyn at UCSF Medical Center (via Self). "It's like washing your mouth out with soap."