The most (and least) hygienic bathing tool for your body

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Loofahs, washcloths, and scrubbers are great for use in the shower — but only if you take care of them properly. That means giving them a chance to dry out between uses and washing them regularly to make sure you remove bacteria. The only hygienic way around this? Instead, drop these tools and use your hands.

“For many people, just using your hands is all it takes,” says Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. She explains that they are always with you (an obvious bonus!) and lots of Easier to clean than any other tool. Plus, they’re super gentle on your skin. Scrubbing with any tool can worsen conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and acne, so hand-only is best in these cases.

The next best hygienic shower tool? Soap. “Cleansing bars, like the Dove Beauty Bar ($4) or anything similar, can also be used,” says Dr. Garshick. If you want something exfoliating (and don’t have sensitive skin in mind), you can use an exfoliating scrub like the Ursa Major Morning Mojo Bar Soap ($12). To keep it clean, “after you’ve applied it to your body, simply rinse it off in the shower before putting it away to make sure that whatever you’ve rubbed off your skin isn’t left on your skin.” da. itself,” Dr. Garshick said.

If you really can’t part with scouring tools (and, again, do not have sensitive skin), the best options are those that are easy to clean. “Any type of extra tool, whether a washcloth or a loofah, can be helpful as long as it is properly cared for to minimize the potential for bacteria and moisture buildup,” says Dr. “. That’s because the germs and bacteria these tools carry away from us are around and can multiply.

“Bacteria need only three things to grow,” says microbiologist Jason Tetro. “They need water, which they will have in abundance [in the shower]; they will need food, in the form of your skin, your oils, all the things that you are cleaning; and they need a good temperature to grow.” He says that in about 10 days, the bacteria that live on our loofahs and other tools will be “really, really, really happy” and begin to grow. grow at full speed, so you need to make sure you’re cleaning them after about a week.

When it comes to easy-to-clean tools, Dr. Garshick’s favorite choice is wipes. “A washcloth can be a good choice for many people,” she says. Make sure to hang it where it can dry completely between uses and put it in the washing machine after a week. Consider a quick-drying option like the Coyuchi Air Weight Wipes ($8).

For scrubs that can’t be put in the washing machine, such as the Up&Up Bath Loofah ($3) or the Dehiya Beauty Mihakka Cleansing Tool ($18), you’ll have to disinfect them on the stovetop. Tetro says to boil a pot of water, remove the pot from the stove and put the utensils inside. Let it sit for one to three minutes to kill those germs.

However, at the end of the day, the best tools are the ones that stick with your body. Remember that your hands alone are effective enough to clean your body hygienically and with much less maintenance than all the other (potentially bacterial) bells and whistles.

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