Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis created quite the dust-up when they revealed they don't bathe their kids that often, with a host of celebrities jumping in to share their lack of frequent bathing. Who's right, and who's just kind of dirty? We asked experts to shower us with advice.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends that children ages 6 to 11 bathe at least once a week. Daily showers should begin when puberty does. Kutcher and Kunis' daughter, Wyatt, is 6, while their son, Dimitri, is 4.
“I wasn’t that parent that bathed my newborns. Ever,” Kunis recently revealed on Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast.
“Here’s the thing,” Kutcher chimed in, “if you can see the dirt on them, clean them. Otherwise, there’s no point.” He later posted a video on Instagram poking fun at the whole bathing debacle, exclaiming to Kunis, "You're putting water on the children? Are you trying to melt them?"
Shepard and wife Kristen Bell later revealed to TODAY that they rely on a "foot smell test" to determine when it's time to bathe their daughters. Various celebrities have weighed in to clarify their habits: Jake Gyllenhaal says he finds bathing "less necessary" while Dwayne Johnson showers thrice daily. Now we know.
He's correct, says Dr. Adam Friedman, professor of dermatology at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
“Water is probably the No. 1 irritant on the planet because it washes away the natural moisturizing factors that our skin makes,” Friedman told TODAY Parents.
That’s why it’s crucial to apply a moisturizer immediately following tub time.
“Moisturizer locks in water, allows the skin to stay soft and supple and it also protects from irritants, pollutants, microbes and even a little bit of sun,” Friedman explained. “Our skin is incredible in terms of protective capacity. But when it dries out, that’s problematic.”
When it comes to soap, your best bet is to use it sparingly and choose products formulated for sensitive skin or eczema, which won't change the skin's natural pH, according to to Friedman.
There's no need to rinse your kids after a swim in a chlorinated pool unless they have a condition such as eczema or atopic dermatitis.
“Over-bathing is problematic, but I would probably argue that under-bathing is, too, because there are microscopic things that can get on the skin and be damaging," Friedman said. “It’s more about using mild soaps and then refortifying damp skin with a moisturizer.”
Adults should follow the same rule of thumb — but should pay special attention to the armpits and groin, Friedman said. Kutcher is all over that.
As the actor told Shepard, "I wash my armpits and crotch daily and nothing else."