Everyone showers for different reasons. Some people feel gross from sweat and dirt if they don’t shower every day. Others shower out of habit, while others shower to relieve stress or additional health symptoms. While we know it’s important to shower regularly, just how often should we shower? Are we supposed to shower every day? Or, is it okay to skip a day? As it turns out, it depends on a variety of important factors.

Shower After Exercise

Many individuals spend several hours of the week at the gym. While it’s beneficial to exercise (and we highly recommend it), sweat could be harmful to your skin, unless you shower.

Dermatologist Heidi A. Waldorf says, “We shower to remove oil, skin cells, bacteria, and dirt.” The build-up of sweat and bacteria on your skin could lead to an outbreak of pimples or even bacterial or fungal infections.

If you are prone to acne, Waldorf recommends showering right after you exercise to clear out your pores. If you exercise every day, it’s important to shower every day, as well. You don’t want sweat and oil to rest on your skin longer than necessary.

If you are short on time and you can’t shower after exercising, you could wipe down your sweaty skin with a damp washcloth. While a shower is the best method to remove sweat from the skin, anything is better than nothing.

Review Your Skin Type

Dermatologist and founder of Cockerell Dermatology Clay Cockerell recommends those with oily skin to shower once a day. You need to remove the oil from your skin in order to prevent bacterial or fungal infections.

But if you have sensitive or dry skin, Cockerell agrees that it’s okay to neglect the once-a-day showering rule. In fact, he advises showering no more than a couple times a week to reduce dryness, itching, and inflammation on the skin.

It’s true that showering dries out your skin. Soap, hot water, and excessive scrubbing strip away your skin’s natural oils. But again, it’s important to review your skin type. If you have oily skin, showering once a day won’t harm your skin. However, if you already have dry skin, showering every day could damage your skin. On the days you decide to skip showering, Cockerell recommends washing your hands regularly and you can wipe down your skin with a damp washcloth, especially to ripe areas, including the underarms.

Know Your Environment

Sometimes, your skin and activity level don’t play a role in how often you should shower. Instead, it’s all about your environment and the season of the year. For example, if you live in a hot, humid environment, you will want to shower every day to minimize the bacterial buildup on your skin. Excessive bacterial buildup produces a more distinct odor, and no one wants to smell poorly.

However, if it’s cooler outside, it’s okay to skip a shower. “During cold, dry winter months, it’s best to shower less frequently,” Waldorf says.

Your skin might already be dry enough during the winter months. Excessive showering will only increase the risk of harming your skin. If you notice your skin is dried out, scaling, or itching more than usual during a specific time of the year, consider showering less often during the week. Give your skin a rest.

Some Last-Minute Tips

Every dermatologist will agree it’s more important to make sure you’re showering correctly than to worry about how often you should shower. Shower in warm (not hot) water, limit your shower to five minutes or less and use a moisturizing soap. In addition, blot yourself dry (instead of rubbing) with a towel. Once your body is dry, always apply lotion to your skin to protect your skin.

Everyone has different preferences and you should consider your situation when deciding how often you should shower. The important thing is to make sure your showering routine is healthy. That’s all that matters.