Showering. It seems pretty simple. Turn on the water, soap up, rinse, dry off. Most of us do it every single day, and most of us are probably doing it wrong. Here are five of the most common missteps we all take when we step into and out of the shower.
1. You’re doing it too hot! It’s a cruel truth that sometimes too much of our favorite things can be bad for us. Food, wine, chocolate, and of course long hot showers or baths. We always hear “everything in moderation,” and the same is true for the heat of the water we use to cleanse. Here’s the thing: the temperature of the water affects the outermost layer of your skin, the epidermis. Your epidermis is your body’s shield against the outside world. It is composed mostly of keratinocytes, skin cells full of keratin, which provide a tough barrier of defense against the outside world and maintain moisture in your skin. To assist with maintaining that moisture, your body produces a thin layer of oil, and it’s this layer of oil and cells, called the stratum corneaum, that the hot water is damaging. The heat melts the oil, just like when you use hot water to clean off an oily dish, and can leave your skin red, itchy, and prone to dry patches and flaking. So turn the water down just a smidge, and your skin will thank you!
One does not simply..shower in Mordor.
2. You’re using too much bubbles! Shower gels, soaps, washes, and general body cleaning products all have a certain level of surfactant. As a rule of thumb, the more a product foams up when you lather, the more oil it strips from your skin—which dries out your skin and can send your facial skin into oil-producing overdrive More bubbles doesn’t mean more clean…it just means drier skin. So, if you’ve turned down the heat and you’re still feeling dry, maybe it’s time to consider a less sudsy soap!
3. You’re not getting it all off. It can be hard to get all the soap off during a shower. I know you always try your best, but often when we step out of the shower we leave a little soap behind in the harder to reach areas. The most common places that product gets left behind are behind the ears, on the nape of the neck, under your breast, and yes…down below in all those places with folds of skin. Leaving product on your skin can also lead to dryness or irritation, so make sure you get it all off! Bras are annoying enough, you don’t need underboob soap, too.
4.You’re over-drying while you’re drying. Ok, so this one isn’t technically IN the shower. Using a towel to dry off seems simple enough, but believe it or not, you might be doing it wrong. You step out of the shower, grab the towel, and start rubbing all the excess water off. It’s efficient, but it doesn’t make your skin very happy. See, your skin actually draws moisture in from your surroundings to lubricate your skin. Believe it or not, when you apply a moisturizer, the moisturizers mimics this process, as well. Instead of toweling off after a shower, try patting the skin dry to leave a very light layer of water behind for your skin to use, or to be locked in by using a moisturizer that you apply after showering.
5. Brushing your teeth AFTER you wash your face. Again, not necessarily in the shower, but still important. A very common complaint I hear from my clients is that they get breakouts, but just around the mouth. The first question I ask is if they brush their teeth before or after they wash their face. Almost every time the answer is after. Toothpaste residue can irritate the very sensitive skin around the mouth and lead to breakouts. So just switching the order of when you brush your teeth and wash your face can help keep unnecessary breakouts away!
Showers should leave your skin feeling refreshed, not stripped out. Hope this helps your body feel happy and healthy
Also, I have been honored and humbled that the initial reaction from this blog has been so positive. I already have several hundred weekly readers, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that you all are hopefully learning something valuable! So, I’d like to open it up—send me your beauty and skincare-related questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll do my best to answer every question I get, and look forward to tailoring future blog posts to the most common questions! See you next Sunday!
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