Re: Skin care and hygiene tips I wish I had known before I started training...
I train at a dojo located in a small-to-medium-sized town in a rural area. Between the farmers and people working in the trades, we've got quite a few people doing hot sweaty physical work all day, and as for the rest of us, we don't generally work in air-conditioned offices (it's New England, ya know?). It happens that people get onto the mat with a faint whiff of barnyard to them, or after spending a summer afternoon crawling around a hot attic installing installation, and IME it's not offensive. You'd want to rinse off if you'd been up to your knees in manure all day, but I don't think someone needs to shower just because they broke a sweat at some point in the day. I really don't think there's a need, particularly in a dojo setting, to eliminate all evidence that you're a human being who doesn't naturally smell like the scent in a bottle of shampoo.
As far as skin care goes, overwashing is a real problem. I have naturally dry skin, and I live in a cold climate where the air is very dry in winter (because of heating systems). I need to take care to not let my skin dry out -- I've neglected that in the past and had to go the Cetaphil-plus-extreme-moisturizer route just to get through the winter. It's really not a way to be. If I showered three times a day, I wouldn't have any skin left. I use Lever 2000 for my bath soap, sparingly, and a pretty heavy-duty cocoa butter-based moisturizer after showering and as needed at other times. I keep moisturizer next to the hand soap at my sinks and use it after hand-washing.
One type of washing that is definitely indicated is hands and wrists, before and after class. Staph is everywhere!