Consider skipping your daily shower
You might be tempted to grab a hot shower or soak in the tub these days in an effort to shake off winter’s chill. But some doctors say you might want to think twice.
Cold winter air can quickly zap moisture from skin, and adding a daily bath — complete with a generous amount of suds — can lead to itchy, dry skin or even eczema or dermatitis, dermatologists say.
A dermatologist interviewed this week for an article on TODAY.com says that for most people, showering every two to three days is actually all your body needs. The advice created lots of buzz on social media. That depends, of course, on how active you are and what the weather’s like. Limiting baths and showers to when you truly need them helps keep your skin in balance; washing too often strips your skin of essential oils.
“People don’t realize that the skin does a pretty good job of cleaning itself,” said Dr. Casey Carlos, assistant professor of medicine in the division of dermatology at the University Of California San Diego School Of Medicine.
If you just don’t feel right about skipping your daily shower, at least try to cut back on the soap, he added.
“It’s the hardest thing to get people to use soap only where they need it,” Carlos told TODAY.com. Because soap is designed to remove oils from the skin, it’s drying. So Carlos suggests using it in the potentially smelly places, like armpits, the groin area and your feet, and skipping your chest, back, legs and arms.
Dr. Martha P. Arroyo, a dermatologist practicing at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill., offers additional tips for protecting your skin in the winter, no matter how often you shower or bathe:
- Keep it short — no more than 10 to 15 minutes;
- Use warm water, not hot;
- Moisturize immediately following a shower or bath;
- Take special care with children or if you’re a senior, because your skin is more fragile.
One last piece of advice: Continue to wear sunscreen.
“It’s as easy to get sunburned in the winter as in the summer,” Arroyo said. “Enjoy the snow and winter sports, but take care of your skin.”
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