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Stop Washing This Every Time You Shower, Doctors Say

This cleaning ritual shouldn't be something you do every day.

For most people, your daily ritual of taking a shower is exactly that: something you do every single day. But just because you're getting under that hot running water doesn't mean you should be doing the same routine every time. This is especially true of your hair, which doctors say you should stop washing every time you take a shower. Read on to see how often you should be lathering up your locks, and for more on how you should be watching your health, check out If You're Doing This in the Shower, Doctors Say to Stop Immediately.

You could be damaging your hair and scalp by using shampoo too often.

Woman's hand holding wet, blonde, tangled hair after washing on white background.
FotoDuets / iStock

While some things like brushing your teeth may be a daily cleaning necessity, doctors point out that washing your hair too often might be doing more harm than good in the long run. Using shampoo every day can strip your hair of your body's natural way of protecting it from breakage and keeping your scalp from drying out.

"Hair produces natural oil called sebum, and shampoo is an emulsifier that captures and traps excess oil, dirt, and product residue, which you then rinse out to clean the hair," Angela Lamb, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, told WebMD. And for more on what to clean and what not to clean, check out These Are the Only 3 Body Parts You Need to Wash Every Day, Doctor Says.

How often you wash your hair is specific to your personal needs.

man washing his hair

Medical experts point out that there isn't a magic number for how often you should be washing your hair. For most people, the average length of time tends to be every two to three days between shampooing sessions, Carolyn Goh, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, told WebMD.

However, she also says there are still some signs that it's time to wash your locks no matter how long it's been, including "if [your] hair is visibly oily, [your] scalp is itching, or there's flaking due to dirt." And for more on how you should be looking after your body, check out You're Forgetting to Wash This Body Part Every Time You Shower.

Some people may still need to wash their hair every day.

Woman shampooing her hair in the shower

But just as there's no golden rule as to how many days you need to wait between washes, there is still a small group of people who may need to wash their hair every day. This includes those who work out and sweat profusely very often, people with very fine hair, or those who live someplace that is very humid.

Surprisingly, daily washing can also help with another issue. "If you have an oily scalp, then daily washing is needed," Goh told WebMD. "Sometimes, people think they have dry scalp because they have dandruff, but in those situations, more frequent washing is also helpful." And for more health tips sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The types of products you use to clean your hair can also matter.

Woman at the store buying shampoo

Of course, it's not just how often you're washing your hair but also what you're washing it with that can have a huge impact. If you feel like your hair is constantly dirty, it might be because you're stripping it by using the wrong product. "Everyone's skin and follicles will produce different levels of oils, which is normal and actually good for hair. The main challenge is finding the right balance with the right products for you to maintain your style without disrupting your natural microbiome, pH, and natural oils," Dominic Burg, chief scientist at Évolis Professional and a hair biologist, microbiologist, and trichologist, told Byrdie.

"Look for a gentle, sulfate-free cleanser that is balanced with essential oils so it won't strip out your hair's natural oils, and make sure you use silicone-free conditioners with natural essential oils and conditioning agents to ensure cuticle health," he recommends. And for more on what else you should avoid while bathing, check out The One Body Part You Should Never Clean, According to Doctors.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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