As wonderful as long, hot showers might feel on a cold morning or after a long workout, they may not be doing your skin any favors. That’s right, clean doesn’t always equal skin-friendly. There are so many things to consider to make sure your hygiene doesn’t have a negative impact on your skin — from how hot the water should be to how long you stay in, and what products do you use.
So, while you may think you don’t need a tutorial on how to shower if you didn’t know specific answers to any of the above, chances are good you need a best practices guide to showering. You do it often enough, after all, that you might as well be doing it right.
Here the top three ways you might be showering wrong — and the things you can do to keep your skin clean and healthy-looking.
Mistake #1: Too Hot
Temperature is one of the most common mistakes people make, often choosing to keep the water at a high temperature because it feels more relaxing. Unfortunately, hot water is notorious for stripping the natural oils from your skin. With those oils gone, your skin barrier may be compromised, making your skin more likely to be dry or susceptible to damage and irritation. Keep the water warm, not scalding.
Mistake #2: Too Long
Luxuriating in the shower can feel wonderful, but stay in too long and you risk that same issue of natural oil depletion. Keep your shower to under 10 minutes. Set a timer if necessary and cut down on the time you take to do each task, from shampooing to rinsing out the conditioner. If you shave in the shower, turn the water off while you work, then turn it back on when you are ready to rinse. Love a good hair mask? Apply it and then shut the water off while you do other steps in your shower routine.
Mistake #3: Too Harsh
Since your skin is already in a delicate place, you’ll want to opt for products that provide moisture and nourishment. Save the exfoliators and acids for non-shower days and focus instead on washes with soothing extracts and comforting textures. Kiehl’s “Made For All” Gentle Body Cleanser is gentle on the skin and the environment. It’s biodegradable and uses sustainably sourced Aloe Vera for hydration and hand-harvested Soap Tree Extract that helps create a mild, creamy lather without stripping skin. Another unique option is the Creme de Corps Smoothing Oil-To-Foam Body Cleanser. Enriched with gentle cleansing Castor Oil, it transforms from a rich body oil into a fine foam on contact with water. The silky formula with Grape Seed Oil is rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, to leave skin looking and feeling supple.
Follow these simple tips and you’ll find your shower will be a restorative experience for both you and your skin.