Taking a bath is supposed to be a relaxing, zen experience, all while getting yourself clean at the same time. However, if you're not taking the proper precautions, you may end up participating in some pretty gross bath habits that could be harming your health. Because there isn't necessarily a rule book for how to take the ultimate bath, you likely aren't familiar with every do and don't when it comes to bathing, which could lead to some unwanted side effects.
"Good bath habits are of prime importance," says dermatologist Bobby Buka, MD over email. "Remember that your skin is your largest organ. Protecting it and maintaining the skin's homeostasis is critical, both for aesthetics and for greater health concerns. Anything you do to insult the skin’s integrity can compromise its ability to fight off bacteria and fungus."
Even if you don't take baths frequently, you'll want to make sure that when you do, you're doing it the right way. Sadly, a lot of these no-no's are habits that might make your bath a little less fun, but your body and skin will thank you later. Here are five gross things you didn't realize you should never do in the bath.
1Using A Loofah
Using a loofah to bath is super common, but it turns out these bath accessories are actually pretty gross. A study from the Journal of Clinical Microbiology found that loofahs host a wide range of bacterial species, and they can spring up as fast as overnight. To avoid any bacteria, yeast, or mold growth, you'll want to skip the loofah or make sure you're changing it out very frequently.
2Using Super Hot Water
It might feel good to turn your bath into a pseudo-hot tub by crankig up the temperature, but you don't want to make it too warm. "Taking a bath that's super hot, while it may feel good, can dry out your skin," says Buka. Start with a comfortable temperature, and add in a little hot water as it starts to get cooler.
3Staying In Too Long
Time seems to fly when you're sitting back and relaxing in the tub, but you don't want to get too carried away when in the bath, or you'll end up looking like a raisin. "Staying in the bath for too long could be dehydrating; that's why you get pruning," says Buka. "All the water in the bathtub pulls water from your dermis."
4Using A Super Fragranced Bath Fizz
They sure smell good, but fragrant bath products can wreak havoc on your skin — and your lady parts. "Don’t use fragranced bath salts and bath bombs, as these can cause an irritant dermatitis," says Buka. "It's a top three allergen every year." The chemicals in these bath products can also mess with your vaginal pH levels, which could leave you with a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, according to Refinery29.
5Fill A Bubble Bath
"Avoid any body wash or bubble bath with sodium laurel sulfate," says Dr. Elizabeth Trattner, A.P., D.O.M. over email. "Lady parts are delicate and are vascular. It is easy to soak up toxic material via such delicate skin. Use nontoxic soaps or pass altogether with anything with fragrance." If you want a relaxing bath, Trattner suggests using plain sea salt or Epsom salt instead.