Today, let’s look at optimal shower-taking (from the perspective of a dermatologist). Who amongst us doesn’t enjoy a restorative shower? But that long, hot shower may not be doing your skin any favors. Here are some tips from dermatologists, nicely presented on nbcnews.com:
1. Don’t shower too often
If you are not very active, you may wish to cut back the shower to a few times per week. For we gym rats who shower more frequently, try not to stay in too long.
2. Keep it short
Water exposure can cause dry skin and hair. In general, the shorter the better. For those with atopic dermatitis and/or very dry skin, aim for five minutes or less. Keep showers active, avoiding staying under water for minutes at a time.
3. Stay cool
Hot water strips away natural oils and damages the skin faster. Ideally, the shower should be lukewarm or cooler.
4. Avoid washing your hair too much
You schedule will depend on your hair type, but too much washing can result in dryness (especially if you have gray or colored hair).
5. But don’t wash too little, either
Neglecting scalp washing can lead to a build-up of scalp oils that lead to flaking and redness. Aim to wash your scalp at least once per week.
6. Focus on the dirtiest areas
Your arms and legs don’t typically need soap. For a quick shower, focus on your underarms, groin, and feet.
7. Cleanse with care
Some experts believe traditional soap can strip the oil from your skin. You may wish to consider a “cleanser,” such as a moisturizing body wash. On the other hand, if your skin is not dry or irritated, traditional soap should be okay.
8. Start at the top
Showering top to bottom lets the soap work its way down. If you are acne-prone, consider washing your face, chest, and back after conditioning your hair.
9. Shaving? Do it last
Soften the hair before shaving, but not too much.
10. Pat yourself dry
Pat your skin with a towel instead of rubbing vigorously. The latter may cause irritation and leave you itchy. Patting can also leave some water on the skin, which should be sealed in with moisturizer after each shower. But do dry skin folds, in between your toes, the groin area, and under arms to reduce the risk of rash and infection.
Apply moisturizer within two to three minutes of showering, creating a barrier to prevent “trans epidermal water loss” and to keep the skin plump.
I’m Dr. Michael Hunter. Want to learn more? Just click the Wellness! Button on the top left of the page, and also consider following this blog (see comments section to do so). Thank you for joining me today!