Unless you’re camping in the backcountry, you probably shower regularly. When on the road, where running water is scarce and habits are thrown for a loop, that bathing ritual could disappear.
It all sounds innocent enough, but as TwentyTwoWords explains, the results of skipping a proper shower for a few days are probably a lot more disturbing than you'd expect.
Bad bacteria can throw things off balance
Humans are covered in bacteria (about 1,000 types) and fungus (an additional 80 kinds). Most of these microbes are good for you, combating harmful germs and viruses. But soap can give the good guys a boost by battling bad bacteria for them. Without help, bacteria—from your commute, the gym, that horrid airplane tray table—can get out of control. They eventually can make their way from your hands and feet into your eyes, nose, and mouth, potentially causing illness.
You’ll harm your skin
We all know what happens when you don’t take off your makeup or wash your face: oils and dirt build up, causing breakouts and irritation (that’s why travelers should really consider stocking up on beauty wipes). Eczema—irritating dry, red, itchy patches of skin—can be exacerbated by skipping showers. And for people who decide showering is highly overrated and do away with the entire ritual, there’s the risk of dermatitis neglecta. According to Bustle, that’s a scientific way of describing a brown plaque formed by the long-term oil and sweat.
You will smell
Perhaps the most immediate (and obvious) consequence of skipping a few too many showers is the odor. But it’s not just sweat that makes you stink. The bacteria multiplying on your body produce gasses as they consume proteins and fatty acids. That is the funk (as many as 30 distinct smells) you really need to worry about.
The exception to all this is over-washing your hair, which can leave it dry and damaged. Consider swapping a head scrub with a fabulous dry shampoo. And for travelers on the road without access to a shower? Dermatologists recommend you still clean your armpits, groin, and face. These areas are particularly disposed to bacteria, so be sure to pack a great deodorant and power shower wipes.