In the spirit of the new year, I must confess that I have been guilty of something that is not good for my skin or the planet. I've indulged in long, hot winter morning showers. Even though I now know long, hot showers are bad for skin, nothing sucks harder than getting up and out from under toasty covers, waking up my equally nestled bulldog, taking him for a walk, and then having to face a lukewarm stream of water. So, as soon as he did his thing, we'd come back in and I'd immediately crank the hot water and enjoy three to five extra minutes in the temporary sauna that was my bathroom.
At first, with wishful thinking, I believed the myth that the steam from the scorching shower was helping open up my pores. But as it turns out, hot water also strips your epidermis of oils, leading to dry, itchy skin, and therefore exacerbating the biggest winter skin problem. Even if I didn't care one bit about my skin, a steamy shower still isn't a bright idea. It's not good for the paint on the walls, even though I use an exhaust fan, and taking a lengthy shower definitely isn't great for the environment. Give me a break, though; I don't run the sink water while brushing my teeth or anything...
With time and practice, however, I've coaxed myself into taking shorter, warm showers instead — but it hasn't been easy. So, dear reader, I'm here to guide your shivering self into better habits. Take these five tips for a test drive — I promise your skin will thank you.
1. Be Lukewarm
The shower in winter is the time in your life to be lukewarm. Try to adjust the temperature to slightly above room temperature. I don't want you freezing, but your skin shouldn't be turning red under the spray either.
2. Shower With The Door Closed (Or Cracked Just A Little)
Leaving the bathroom door open just a crack helps trap heat and creates a steamy atmosphere, even if your water isn't scorching. So I turn the hot water on full blast for a minute and then I step in and add the cold water, leading to a lukewarm temp as I quickly shower.
3. Skip Washing Your Hair
If you can get away with it, don’t wash your hair. Even if it's just once a week, when your plans consist entirely of Netflix on the couch, throw your locks in a topknot or stuff 'em under a shower cap and you can shorten your shower time and save your skin.
4. Up Your Moisturizer Game
I use heavy duty Moroccanoil lotion in winter or Sabon's gritty, paste-like Body Butter in Vanilla Coconut, which literally melts into my skin. Lately, I have been using Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil — the one with a light Rosehips fragrance. Mmm. Sooooo smooth. The pump packaging means less mess, too. I used to have issues with oils, since the tips of my long hair would graze against my moisturized shoulders and get greasy, but this stuff absorbs quickly. I also use Elizabeth Arden's cult Eight Hour Cream in slathery fashion. That stuff obliterates dry skin. Basically, pick a lotion that works for you and stick with it.
5. Moisturize Right Away
While skin is still damp and freshly out of the short, lukewarm shower, apply your moisturizer or body oil right away. Actually, make that SLATHER your skin with your favorite potion and let it sink in and do its job before you get dressed. The lotion will trap the residual moisture from your shower, keeping your skin even softer than if you'd applied it dry.
Images: Alliance/Fotolia; Giphy (4); Amy Sciarretto (1)