Baths: Too Much Soap
We use too much soap in this country. We bathe our children too often. Even mild soap removes the natural oils from the skin. Once the oil is gone, the skin can't hold moisture and it becomes dry.
These are some of the problems we see from trying to keep our kids squeaky clean.
- First: Dry skin. Many children go around itching all winter long.
- Second: Soapy bath water can cause chemical vulvitis or urinary tract infections in girls. The symptoms are itching of the vulva or burning with urination.
- Third: If shampoos are used daily, some children develop a dry scaly scalp.
Here is what we recommend:
- Most young children don't produce any body odor, therefore, they can bathe or shower twice a week. And, you don't need to use any soap. Children with dry skin should avoid all soaps prior to puberty.
- For teenagers, buy a mild soap, but suggest they only use it on the armpits, genital area, and feet.
- Finally, if the skin is already abused and itchy, apply a lubricating cream immediately after bathing.
If you have questions about your child's health, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.