Dr. Alan Greene on Kids' Hygiene Habits

Bathing Frequency

Question

How often should children between the ages of 6 and 12 bathe? How much is too much?

Answer

How often children should bathe depends on their skin and hair type, and on how much their bodies have matured. Before perspiration, body odor, and oily skin begin, once or twice a week is usually fine. Brief, frequent baths without soap (and followed by a moisturizer) may be needed at this stage if the child has eczema or particularly dry skin.

Once oily skin or perspiration or body odor begins, more frequent bathing is best. Your senses can be your guide. Often daily is best at this point, but sometimes less often is still fine.

Gently washing the face twice a day is useful for those beginning to show signs of acne. Up to 30 percent of teens wash their faces five times a day! This is not helpful and can be damaging to the skin.

The overuse of soaps, cleansing agents, exfoliants, and scrubbing agents can irritate the skin and make it less healthy.

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