Sunday, January 1, 2012

may i suggest a new year's resolution? shower less. bathe your kids less.

'Shower Curtain' photo (c) 2005, Michael Lehet - license:

i have never been one much for showering and bathing.  when i was a little kid i hated taking a bath and would try to go as long as possible (a week or more!) between baths.  when high school and college came around, i showered just enough to remain reasonably clean and smelling good (maybe 3 times a week or so).

when we got our four foster kiddos, i dutifully instituted nightly bath time.  part of it was for good reason: the kids had experienced so much instability that they needed routine in their life, and bath time soon became their favorite time of day. on the other hand though,  part of it it was because i felt like that was what parents are "supposed" to do.  we kept up nightly baths for six months or so, and then decreased to monday/wednesday/friday baths (bathing four kiddos every night was a lot of work!).

now that esther is around, i usually have to write "bathe esther" on my to-do list.  otherwise, i forget.

but as i learn more, i am becoming more ok with infrequent baths.  there are many reasons it could be better for you, your kids, your wallet and the earth.

save water

a ten minute shower can use anywhere from 25 to 80 gallons of water.  when multiple people in a household shower daily, that can really add up!  not only does saving water save money, but it also helps the earth (especially here in so cal, where we are literally sucking the colorado river dry).

avoid chlorine

tap water contains chlorine, a chemical that is linked to increased risk of cancer, miscarriages, birth defects, lowered sperm count and a weakened immune system.  chlorine is very absorbable through the skin, which may even be worse for the body than drinking the chlorine.  the longer and hotter the shower, the more chlorine your body will absorb.

you can avoid chlorine by getting a shower head with a filter.  we don't have one of these (yet- hopefully soon!) so the next best thing for us is to shower less.

avoid soap chemicals

chlorine is not the only chemical your skin absorbs during a shower.  most shampoo, conditioner and soap is loaded with chemicals known to be toxic.  just like with chlorine, the longer and hotter the shower, the more of the chemicals that are absorbed.  you can check here to learn more about what chemicals are in your health and beauty products, and what their effects are.

these chemicals can be avoided: currently i use the no-poo method, washing my hair with baking soda (scented with good smelling essential oils!) and rinsing with apple cider vinegar.  and i use dr. bronner's castile soap (made from 100% organic oils) for body and face wash (you can also use castile soap for shampoo, but i prefer baking soda).

save time

what could you do with an extra 15 minutes in your day?  whenever you skip a shower, that gives you more time to spend on other things!

better skin

showers dry out your skin.  it is most likely caused by a combination of the hot water, chlorine, and harsh chemicals in soap and shampoo.  to make things worse, the skin produces extra oil to compensate when the natural oils are stripped away.  this usually causes people to feel like they need to shower more, because their skin is so oily.  it becomes a vicious cycle.

when you shower less, your skin retains its natural oils, leading to better feeling skin (especially in the winter).

how often do you shower?  do you notice a difference when you shower more or less?

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