What Happens To Your Body When You Don't Wash Your Legs

There is an ongoing internet debate about whether you should wash your legs when you shower. According to Men's Health, a viral Twitter poll from Conor Arpwel asked, "Do you wash your legs when you take a shower?" The poll is no longer available, but Men's Health reports over 600,000 responses, with about 20% saying that they didn't wash their legs when showering. 

According to Elite Daily, singer Taylor Swift spoke up with her opinion on the debate while on the Ellen DeGeneres show, saying, "I do. Because when you shave your legs, the shaving cream is like soap, right?" She added, "So that counts? Good. I'm on the right side of history then." Ellen responded, "I think that's the reason that most women wash their legs, because we have to, because we have to shave our legs."

Ellen then took to Twitter to conduct her own poll on the subject, asking, "Do you wash your legs in the shower?" There were 92,029 votes, with close to 75% saying yes, 9.5% saying no, and a little over 15% saying they do so occasionally. 

Many responses in defense of not washing your legs were that the trickle-down of soap and water was enough to keep the legs clean, or, like Taylor Swift, that shaving your legs counted as washing them. Is that enough? Dermatologists offer their expert advice. 

Should you wash your legs when you shower?

Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, tells Women's Health that he does not recommend washing your legs in the shower unless they are "visibly soiled." He says that the soap and water drip down is enough to clean most daily dirt and sweat buildup and that washing and exfoliating too much can dry out and irritate skin.  

Dr. Michele Farber, a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group, says that sometimes not scrubbing is better for sensitive skin. She agrees with Dr. Zeichner in that it's okay to skip washing your legs if they're not visibly dirty. However, Dr. Farber adds that you do need to wash your legs if you have any cuts, are active, or sweat frequently (via Total Beauty).

Dr. Vinod Nambudiri, a dermatologist with HCA Healthcare, recommends rinsing your legs before you shave. Wait until the end of your shower to shave your legs so the hair and skin are thoroughly soft and rinsed (via Doctors Hospital). 

The bottom line seems to be that you don't have to wash your legs each time you shower unless there's a reason to. Otherwise, the trickle-down of soap and water is enough to clean your skin.