Are Your Shower Habits Harming Your Skin?
Can You Actually Be Showering Wrong?
We all know that showering is a great way to relax, scrub away the troubles of the day (and dirt), and is healthy and beneficial to both your mind and body. In fact, some of your greatest (and probably deepest) thoughts have happened in the shower. Showering has been known to reduces muscle tension, regulate blood circulation, reduce sugar levels, remove harmful toxins, and boost your immune system. Sounds great, right? What could go wrong? Not to take away from your relaxation, but there are indeed common shower habits that are harmful to your skin.
While there technically isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to shower, certain things you do, products and items you use, or even your shower head can have a negative impact on your skin. Read on to find out if your shower habits are helping or harming your skin!
Common Shower Habits That May Be Harming Your Skin
Using Water That is Too Hot
This may be the most common of them all. Who doesn't love a steamy hot shower? A very common mistake most people make when showering is cranking up the hot water to get that sauna like steam flowing through the shower room. While the steam creates a relaxing sensation using water that is too hot for long periods of time can lead to some not-so-relaxing results. Hot water can actually inflame the skin, causing redness, swelling, and irritation much like that of sunburn. In fact, you are essentially just burning your skin the entire time you are under the hot water. This can lead to a decrease in the production of natural oils your skin needs to stay moist. Without those oils, your skin can become dry, irritated, and flakey.
Leaving Your Washrag/Loofah in The Shower
A lot of people tend to use loofahs or washrags in the shower. It is an ideal and easy way to exfoliate, using a gentle circular motion and moisturizing soaps. However, if you are someone who keeps your loofah or wash rag in the shower and frequently avoids cleaning it, you may be playing with the risk of infections and breakouts. Loofahs are great at removing dead skin cells and bacteria from your skin. So, when left dirty and hanging in the shower, they tend to harbor germs since bacterium are attracted to moist places. You can also run the risk of drying your skin out by using a roughly textured wash rag/loofah too frequently and by applying too much pressure. Using a dirty item can also lead to infections such as folliculitis (red bumps and pustules) or impetigo (yellow oozing or crusting) if the bacteria march their way into pathways of broken skin.
Leaving Your Razor in The Shower
This may seem like common sense after reading about the concerns posed by your washrag and loofah. Razors are no different and should not be kept in the shower. Much like washrags, razors can collect bacteria and also rust more rapidly when left in the shower. Since infection can occur when bacteria enter broken skin, you are more likely to get a skin infection using a dirty or bacteria tainted razor blade. It may be safe to say everyone has cut themselves at least once while shaving, but razors in general tend to leave microscopic tears in your skin, providing an easy gateway for bacteria to cause skin infections.
Soaps that contain fragrances and other chemicals are a big no-no if you are prone to dry or sensitive skin. Using a harsh soap in a hot shower doubles your chances of drying out your skin and losing those essential oils needed to keep your skin moist and dewy .
Drying Off Too Roughly
If you are one to vigorously towel off immediately after the water shuts off, you may be putting your skin at risk of dryness and irritation. Moisturizers (which you should be using immediately after the shower) do not add moisture to the skin but rather lock in existing moisture. If you give yourself a spot-free, rough towel off, your moisturizer will have less to work with, causing redness or dry skin. Not to mention, the texture of the towel and how hard you dry off could, in itself, be causing some chafing and irritation.
Solutions and TipsSo, are you a bad 'shower-er'? Whether you do some, or all, of the aforementioned, below are quick solutions and tips to help resolve those common mistakes.
- Shower daily, especially after workouts, to remove dirt and grime on your skin.
- Use fragrance-free and gentle soaps to lather and soothe your skin. This will significantly reduce the likeliness of dryness .
- Always use a clean towel and pat yourself dry afterwards. Remember to leave some water droplets for your moisturizer.
- Replace your loofah/washrag every three to four weeks and keep it in a dry location outside of the shower. You should also make sure it is not soaking wet when you are done with it and give it a scrub on its own every once in a while.
- Replace your razor blades once a week. This will ensure no bacteria or rust build up on the blades.