Most of us hop in and out of the shower without giving it much thought — the routine is so habitual, most people just wash off on autopilot. But there are a number of shower habits that are better for you than others, and there are some
shower techniques that are more ideal for your health. It might go against your intuition to turn the shower temperature down and bathe less often, but your body will thank you in the long run. Changing up your shower habits can especially help with any issues you may have with your skin.
"Other than proper hygiene, showering also plays a large role when it comes to skin care," dermatologist and RealSelf contributor,
Dr. Joel Schlessinger tells Bustle. "Poor shower habits can sabotage your skin care routine before it even begins. By adopting more beneficial habits, you can use your daily shower to work for your skin instead of against it."
Everyone has different needs when it comes to showering, but most people can benefit from a few important tweaks to their routine — your skin will thank you. Here are nine random shower techniques experts recommend.
Warm Showers Are Better Than Hot
Hot showers may feel nice, but they are worse for your skin. "Hot showers or baths cause vasodilation, or enlargement of the capillaries, making exposed areas appear even more red,"
dermatologist Dr. David Lortscher tells Bustle. "Hot water will strip your skin of natural protective oils, and scrubbing long and hard or using harsh soap will further compromise the barrier that your skin naturally produces to protect your body from the outside world. I recommend avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures if you have acne."
Use A Filtered Shower Head
If you have problematic skin, installing a filtered shower head can help. "Hard water is water that has a high mineral content as a natural result of minerals like calcium and magnesium accumulating during the water cycle," says Lortscher. "If you have hard water, you’ll often end up using more cleansers with heavier surfactants to clean your skin and hair, since you won’t see the same lathering effect. This leads to precipitation of the surfactant — leaving a film of residue on the skin — which could lead to more irritation and/or clogging of pores."
You Don't Need A Shower Daily
"For aesthetic reasons, most people like to shower once daily as a routine, and may add another shower after heavy exercise," says Lortscher. "Your skin doesn’t 'need' a shower daily under normal circumstances."
Look For Shower Gels That Contain Ceramides
Most standard shower gels unfortunately aren't going to moisturize your skin properly. "Look for newly formulated shower gels that contain ceramides, naturally occurring fats of the skin,"
dermatologist Melanie Palm, MD, MBA tells Bustle. "Cleansers that contain these are likely to simultaneously moisturize while safely cleansing."
You Don't Need To Soap The Whole Body
Palm says that using soap on your entire body isn't necessary. But you will want to focus on areas where bacteria that leads to odor or infection tends to cluster, like your bikini area, underarms, lower legs, and feet.
Don't Apply A Retinoid Right After The Shower
Wait a bit after the shower before applying a retinoid. "Hydrated skin increases absorption greatly of topicals," says Palm. "Using a retinol or retinoid on moist skin can greatly increase the absorption of this vitamin A derivative causing increased redness, irritation, and flaking."
Shower For Less Than 10 Minutes
It's better to keep your shower short and sweet. "Shower for no more than 10 minutes," says Schlessinger. "Even the heat of lukewarm showers can take a toll after this point, so it’s best to keep them short. Similar to heat, long showers dry out the skin, making it feel uncomfortably tight and may even contribute to cracked skin."
Avoid scrubbing the skin, especially with the use of washcloths and loofas. If not stored properly or switched out after every use, they become a hotspot for bacteria, which can lead to bacterial folliculitis and other conditions," says Schlessinger. "They also have a tendency to spread acne-causing bacteria from one area of the body to another."
"It can be tempting to shave as soon as you get in the shower, but it’s actually better to wait two or three minutes before grabbing your razor," says Schlessinger. "This gives the warm water a chance to soften the hair, making your shaving routine much easier."
There you have it — nine ways to take a better shower. According to experts, these techniques will help keep your body healthy and your skin smooth and clear.