Experts Say People Are Washing This One Body Part They Actually Don’t Need To

Woman in the shower

Image: Pexels

From face yoga and applying daily sunscreen to ideal thermostat settings and the infamous “5-second rule,” health and hygiene tips are everywhere. We're inundated with ever-changing advice on how to take care of ourselves and what’s considered right or wrong in our daily routines. But there's one health myth that recently sparked a debate: Do we really need to wash our legs in the shower?

While some swear by washing their legs, others think it's overkill since the soap from washing the rest of our bodies naturally runs down and does the job for us. To get to the bottom of it, hosts of HuffPost’s Am I Doing It Wrong? podcast, Raj Punjabi and Noah Michelson, invited medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatologist and the founder of Ocean Skin & Vein Institute Dr. Divya Shokeen to discuss the surprising ways in which we may be showering wrong.

The group talk about the ideal shower temperature, the best time to hop in, and how long to linger under the water, all highlighting how these decisions can enhance both physical and mental well-being. Dr. Shokeen even weighs in on the debate over loofahs, washcloths, or just using our hands for washing. But when it comes to the question of washing our legs, she admits that it's probably unnecessary.

“I don't think you do [need to wash them],” Dr. Shokeen says. “Unless you're, like, aggressively sweating and you just biked 20 miles. Then, yes, please wash your legs.” She further explains that since our legs are usually covered by clothing, they stay relatively clean throughout the day. Unlike armpits or the groin area, which are prone to bacteria growth, our legs aren't major “hot spots.”

So unless you've recently waded through a swamp, you can likely save on soap and water and let gravity and suds do the work for you. “I think water dripping down or soap dripping down [your legs] is okay [for cleansing],” Dr. Shokeen suggests. She also points out that actively washing your legs too frequently can dry out and irritate the skin.

However, Dr. Shokeen's advice doesn't mean that we should get lazy when showering. Although skipping legs is generally fine, there are other—more dirt prone—areas of the body that need extra attention. In fact, you should be leaving your body wash on those areas for at least 60 seconds. “That doesn’t mean you have to be rubbing down there for a minute,” Dr. Shokeen says. “If you have the time, then do it, but you can suds up [those areas] and leave it [while you wash other parts], so your cleanser has to have the chance to actually do something.”

While Dr. Shokeen provides her expert advice, ultimately, it's up to you how you choose to wash your body. For more insights, you can listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Professional dermatologist Dr. Divya Shokeen reveals that we don't actually need to wash our legs in the shower.

Washing legs in the shower

Image: Pexels

She explains that because the soap used on the rest of our bodies naturally runs down, it effectively cleans our legs as well.

Washing legs in the shower

Image: Freepik

Am I Doing It Wrong? Acast | Spotify | Apple Podcasts
Dr. Divya Shokeen: Website
h/t: [BuzzFeed]

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.
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