Who knew a shower could be so controversial? From washing your face under hot water to rinsing out conditioner, read on to discover the six things a dermatologist would never do in the shower. You can thank us later...
Turn Up The Heat
You may think a long, hot shower is the perfect antidote to stressed-out, tense muscles, but any dermatologist will tell you to turn down the temperature for healthier skin. As well as stripping your skin of its natural oils, hot water can boost blood circulation, which in turn creates inflammation and can trigger the likes of itchiness and rashes. If your skin is red after a bath or shower, your water is too hot – cooler or lukewarm showers even just a few times a week can keep skinhydrated and hair strong and shiny.
Take Too Long
Between the steam, streaming water and warmth, it’s tempting to spend 15 minutes in the shower, but many experts say anything more than 10 minutes is too long. Aim for a five-minute shower for optimal skin health. At the same time, be sure to turn your back on the flow of water to avoid giving your skin a battering – even if your water pressure is weak, hard water can leave traces of magnesium carbonate (the chemical responsible for pink-stained tiles) on the skin, which can leave it feeling dry.
Be Shampoo Savvy
If you’ve made the switch to a paraben-free shampoo, then full beauty marks, but keep an eye on the ingredient list. A chemical preservative called methylisothiazolinone is now present in many paraben-free shampoos and can cause irritation if suds drift down from the hairline. Dermatologists say many of us are sensitive to this chemical (often labelled as MI), so steer clear if you have sensitive, eczema-prone skin.
At the same time, take care with your conditioner if you suffer from back acne. The majority of us wash our bodies while our conditioner gets to work – if conditioner is the last thing you rinse off, then your back can be left with an oily residue, which can clog pores and cause bacteria to spread. If this sounds familiar, try clipping your hair up in the shower post-conditioner.
Wash With Harsh Cleansers
Don’t be lured by pretty bars of soap – they lack moisture and will strip the skin of essential oils, leaving the skin dry, flaky and rough, while accentuating fine lines, especially around the delicate décolletage area. Soap-free cleansers are your best bet for ageing skin – with age, the skin becomes thinner and loses fat, sweat and oil glands, so seek out a moisturising wash. The likes of E45, Aveeno and Simple get our vote.
Use A Sponge
Even though a sponge or loofah is consistently covered in shower gel and rinsed time and again, according to dermatologists, they’re one of the biggest shower sins,. If you leave your sponge in the bathroom until its next use, chances are it’s left in a humid environment with little circulation, in short a breeding ground for bacteria. If you can’t live without your sponge, be sure to dry it thoroughly and replace often (at least every four weeks). Better yet, scrap it entirely.
Wash Your Face
While water temperature plays a part here, washing your face in the shower should be avoided by those with sensitive skin. Why? Lingering shower gel, soap or other body washes on your hands are not facial friends and can upset the skin’s delicate pH, triggering dryness and redness. Instead, wash your face post shower, using a creamy cleanser (we love Clinique’s fuss-free Foaming Cleanser, £17) to get rid of any lingering bubbles.
The same goes for storing your face wash in the shower – many dermatologists agree this is a no-no. Anything containing active ingredients (especially the likes of BHA and AHA acids) will degrade under bright lights and warm, damp conditions, so if you want your expensive cleanser to do its job properly, keep it by the sink instead.