You may believe that taking a steamy shower helps hydrate your skin. But long showers, particularly in hot water, can actually have the opposite effect. Hot water dries out skin and hair, and if it is too hot it can also burn your skin and cause permanent damage. According to Duke University’s School of Medicine, hot water strips your skin of its natural moisturizing oils and can cause it to become irritated and uncomfortable.
Your skin’s most superficial layers, the papillary and reticular layers in the dermis, are the layers with the highest oil concentration. These layers and cells produce oils and fatty substances, which act as a seal that retains moisture in the skin. Studies show that hot showers and baths, as well as cold, dry air, chafing and excessive scrubbing can lead to dry skin.
Besides sapping most of the natural oils from the surface of your skin, hot water also depletes water from your skin cells internally (making them less supple), and causes your pores to become swollen, leaving your skin highly susceptible to damage. The negative effects of hot water are particularly felt during the winter months, as exposing your skin to cold air right after washing with hot water often causes redness and peeling. However, even during the summer this is a bad idea, as the effects of hot water leave your skin more prone to sun damage, as well as makes it easier for dirt to get clogged in your pores year-round.
Instead of hot showers or washes, you should follow these steps to cleanse your body:
- Wash with tepid water; it expands your pores to some degree, which is necessary in order to remove waste and bacteria that may be clogged within them
- Rinse soap/facial cleanser off with cold water. Cold water causes pores to tighten/contract and leaves you less susceptible to damage. If you’re going outdoors and exposing your skin to cold weather or prolonged sun exposure, follow with a moisturizer or sunscreen
- Wash your hair in the coolest water you can manage, or at least rinse it in cold water at the end & follow with a healthy dose of conditioner
Happy Skin= Happy You!