Are you showering right?
After a long day, a good workout, a day at the beach or even simply as a way to wake up, a shower is often just the ticket. But, are you doing it correctly?
Yes, there is a right and a wrong way, as the basic shower and your post-shower routine could be damaging your skin.
Watch both the water temperature and the shower length: A long, hot shower is something many people look forward to, but it’s not best for your skin. Hot water and long showers can drain your skin of natural oils by washing them away. Warm water and short showers – and baths – are better for retaining your skin’s natural hydration.
Clean your loofah and washcloth each time: While you may think bar soap is covered in germs, a study in Epidemiology & Infections finds bar soap does not transfer bacteria to your skin. However, your loofah can trap dead skin cells, and the shower is the perfect humid breeding ground for bacteria to grow. The same goes for a washcloth. Use a fresh washcloth for every shower, or rinse the loofah out after every use and hang it up to dry outside of the shower.
Make sure to thoroughly rinse: Unless you are using a gentle cleanser with additional moisturizers designed to not be rinsed off completely, make sure all the bubbles are gone during the shower to avoid skin irritation and dryness. All the more reason to . . .
Use the right soap or body wash: Choose soap or body wash that does not produce a lot of lather. The more lather the product has, the more harsh the product can be on your skin, stripping it of its natural oils. Keep in mind you don’t have to use soap or body wash during every shower, especially if you shower more than once a day. Unless you are visibly dirty or have been exposed to a lot of environmental pollutants, water is enough to get you clean.
Skip your daily shower: If you suffer from dry skin – especially in the winter, consider showering every other day. If you must shower every day, or even twice a day, consider hopping in for a quick rinse only, concentrating on your armpits, feet and any other particularly dirty spots.
Don’t be aggressive with the towel: Don’t rub your skin dry; instead, pat your skin dry to avoid irritation.
Moisturize at the right time: Don’t wait until your skin is completely dry to apply lotion. If you use body oil, you need to apply that to damp skin, as oil does not absorb well on dry skin. Apply lotion after slightly drying off upon exiting the shower or bath to lock-in moisture.
Shower in the morning. Or, shower in the evening. It’s really a personal preference: If you work out in the morning, there is no reason to shower the night before. However, if you are an evening workout person, have an active job or are exposed to a lot of environmental pollutants, then definitely shower in the evening – even if you take a quick shower in the morning to help you wake up.
One advantage to an evening shower is that antiperspirants work best when you apply at night after your underarms have had a chance to fully dry.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.