Taking a shower seems pretty straightforward, no? You turn on the water, step into the stall, wash your body, rinse off the soap and then towel-dry. But it turns out, were all probably making careless showering mistakes that are harmful to our skin.
After struggling with serious bouts of dry and scaly skin this winter, we asked Heather Woolery-Lloyd, the co-founder of Specific Beauty skincare, and Heidi Waldorf, the director of laser and cosmetic dermatology atMount Sinai Hospital in New York City, to break down the five most common showering mistakes.Advertisement
Simple changes can soothe dry skin
Following the same skin care routine year-round may not work so well when the humidity drops. Without a change in your skin care, dry air can make fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable. Dry, itchy skin can flake, crack, and even bleed.
To help heal dry skin and prevent its return, dermatologists recommend the following.
Avoid long & hot showers to protect extremely dry skin.
Taking a shower is a productive way to start your day. The first splash of warm water against your body is like an energy boost, bringing you out of any grogginess. However, a lengthy shower routine in the morning can dry your skin easily. The long, hot shower strips out many of the crucial oils from your skin. This causes your skin to become flaky, itchy, or dry, which is made worse if you scratch it too much.
Adjust the water temperature and have a lukewarm shower instead. This will still get the cleaning done without taking away moisture from the skin. Try to speed up the showering process so that you are not scrubbing and rinsing for long periods. If you take a daily shower, make it quick and get on with your day feeling refreshed.
Don’t scrub your skin too much during a shower.
After a long day’s work, many people love to hop into a shower and scrub away the filth from their bodies. While you should lather up thoroughly, make sure you do not scrub with too much force or aggression. There’s a misconception that scrubbing harder gets you cleaner, but it doesn’t work that way.
Your skin’s surface has important proteins and lipids that provide moisture, but they can be removed if you scrub too much. This leads to skin dryness, irritation, rashes, or worsening eczema. Instead, take it easy when you are washing up in the shower. Lather up gently and let the water do the rest. You probably aren’t getting too dirty between showers, so be gentle on your body.
HOT SHOWERS AND BATHS CAN HARM YOUR SKIN – ESPECIALLY DURING THE WINTER
When it is cold outside, a warm, steamy bath is what we think we need to stay warm. However, a warm bath can cause skin dryness afterwards, even though it feels pleasant at the time.
It is crucial to avoid hot showers since dry skin is the most prevalent cause of uncomfortable, sensitive skin. Bathe and shower in lukewarm water. Bathing in heated water in the cold not only burns the body but can harm the outer layer of skin.
Dry skin may lead to more significant issues like skin irritation and potentially exacerbate eczema. Using gentle, fragrance free soaps in combination with water-based moisturizers will greatly reduce dry skin after your shower as well as prevent skin irritation, and even eczema.
BONUS TIP: Using a towel after a shower to rub away moisture isn’t doing your dry skin any favors. Instead, try gently blotting away the larger water droplets with a soft towel, and let the rest of your body air dry. This will help diminish irritation, and allow your wet skin to soak up the literal moisture after your shower!
1. You’re taking long, hot showers.
Sure, a steamy shower is one way to warm up on cold mornings or unwind after a stressful workday, but it just isnt good for your skin. Period.
According to Woolery-Lloyd, long, hot showers strip the skin of its natural oils and can make common problems like eczema worse. “They can also increase generalized itching even in people who do not have eczema,” she says. For healthier skin, Woolery-Lloyd recommends keeping the shower short and the temperature warm or tepid (not hot).
But if you think turning the shower dial to full-on cold is better, think again. “The only benefit to a cold rinse is for the person who flushes [skin turns red] from warm water,” says Waldorf. “The cold will help to close the vessels that become dilated with heat. Otherwise, there is no benefit to the skin barrier with a cool or cold rinse.”Advertisement