Most of us take showers the same exact way everyday and don't even think twice about it. But unfortunately, not all showers are created equal, and the way you take a shower may not be optimal for your health. In fact, there are likely many things no one ever taught you about showering, and once you know about the right way to bathe yourself, you might be surprised to find how many improvements you can see in your skin.
"Showering is often a hurried exercise that is a means of getting clean quickly and with convenience," dermatologist Melanie Palm, MD, MBA, tells Bustle. "We often squeeze in a few minutes for the whole exercise, without much thought to a consistent routine or skincare product choices that are good for skin."
Because many of us aren't taking the time to understand showers, and we don't realize that some of our typical habits are actually harming our skin. There aren't exactly lectures online to help guide us when it comes to cleaning up, which is why Bustle consulted the experts to help give you the low down on all things showering. Here are seven fascinating things no one likely ever taught you about showering.
1. You Don't Need To Wash Everything, Every Time
It's tempting to want to scrub down your whole body every time you hop in the shower, but if you're someone who showers daily, you might want to think again. "Only wash what is dirty or smelling," dermatologist Dr. Sandy Skotnicki tells Bustle. "Why are you lathering up arms and the core when you are not dirty? It damages your skin’s ability to do its job."
2. Hot Water Can Damage Your Skin
A hot shower can feel relaxing, but it can strip your skin of natural oils and dry it out. "Super hot water can be irritating to the skin and can enhance water loss after you step out of the shower, making you feel not so fresh," Dr. Palm says. "Additionally, a really hot shower can increase your core body temperature, leaving you sweating after the shower, increasing the likelihood of sweat residue that invites bacteria growth that creates body odor." Instead, choose a warm shower, which can still be soothing, but less damaging to the skin.
3. Fragrances Can Irritate Your Skin
Sure, a nice-smelling body wash always feels good, but it may not be great for your skin. "Fragrance, both synthetic and natural (yes even lavender), can be irritating to skin," Dr. Skotnicki says. Fragrances found in products such as soaps, lotions, shampoos, and perfume can cause contact dermatitis, either in the form of an allergic reaction or just a skin irritant, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
4. You Should Moisturize Right After The Shower
Once you step out of the shower and the water begins to evaporate into the air, your skin starts to lose moisture, which makes it important to moisturize your skin as soon as possible. "I generally recommend within three minutes of coming out of the shower," dermatologist Dr. Sejal Shah of SmarterSkin Dermatology tells Bustle. "Gently pat dry your skin, leaving some water droplets behind, and then liberally apply a moisturizer."
5. Don't Apply A Retinoid Right After The Shower
Unlike moisturizer, you shouldn't apply a retinoid right after getting out of the shower. "Hydrated skin greatly increases absorption of topicals," Dr. Palm says. "Using a retinol or retinoid on moist skin can greatly increase the absorption of this vitamin A derivative, causing increased redness, irritation, and flaking."
6. You Can Pick Up Infections In The Shower
If you are showering in a gym or another public place — or in the same shower that your significant other that has toenail fungus is in — you could pick up the infection as well. "Fungus is very hearty and loves to hang out in the shower, so consider footwear if you are sharing the shower with fungus-affected individuals," Dr. Palm says.
7. Shower Gels Aren't As Moisturizing As Soap
Shower gels and foams are easy to overuse and can make your skin feel dry and itchy by stripping natural oils from your skin. "Look for newly-formulated shower gels that contain ceramides, naturally occurring fats of the skin," Dr. Palm says. "Cleansers that contain these are likely to simultaneously moisturize while safely cleansing."
These fascinating shower facts can help you take the most efficient showers so your skin and body can feel their best.