Daily showers and extensive skincare regimens are actually harming our skin, according to the new book Beyond Soap by dermatologist Dr. Sandy Skotnicki.

Skotnicki believes that advertising from the multi-billion dollar personal hygiene industry has encouraged daily cleansing routines that have resulted in 40 per cent of people worldwide finding they have sensitive skin.

A practicing dermatologist for 20 years and the co-author of Beyond Soap, Skotnicki told CTV’s Your Morning that body washes, facial cleansers, and even water can all contribute to skin irritation and aging.

“Our skin is like a brick wall, and the mortar, or our wall, is fats or lipids,” says Skotnicki. “Soap and water, even just water, remove the mortar.”

In order to soothe sensitive skin, stave off signs of aging, or just to get a healthy glow, Skotnicki has some tips for re-thinking personal hygiene.

1.  Throw out your products: The average woman applies 16 products to her face before leaving her house in the morning. Many of these products contain irritants, like fragrance and detergents, and they end up doing more harm than good.  “Think about ‘less is more,” Skotnicki recommends. Her daily skincare regimen consists solely of SPF and cleansing with micellar water, a mild cleanser diluted with water.

2.  Cut down on bathing: Sitting in a bath allows water to erode the skin’s natural protection. Skotnicki recommends limiting baths to under ten minutes and opting for showers whenever possible. She also recommends showering once a day at the most.

3.  Focus on the ‘bits’: Getting in the shower and lathering your entire body in soap is completely unnecessary. “Washing your whole body because you think it’s healthy is damaging and it’s probably causing things like allergies and eczema,” Skotnicki says. She says to focus on cleaning parts that are actually dirty or smell, such as armpits and groin. Stick to mild, fragrance-free body washes over bar soap.

4.  Skip your morning skincare regimen: Unless you’ve been out all night, Dr. Skotnicki says cleansing your skin in the morning is overkill. A splash of water is sufficient to clean your skin off, and a bit of SPF is the only anti-aging product you need.

5. Let kids be (dirty) kids: Young children are often the most dramatically affected by over-washing. Twenty-five per cent of young people suffer from eczema, a once-rare skin condition that can be caused by washing away the skin’s natural defences. Skotnicki recommends only bathing children several times a week and to avoid sitting them in baths for long periods of time.