Can Showering Damage Your Skin?

This is a guest post by Lori Longoria from WalkInShowers. They are a group of professional reviewers & researchers who produce unbiased reviews about bathroom equipment. You can check out their latest articles on their blog.

Taking showers is refreshing and a quick way to cleanse the skin. However, doing so is likely to damage it without realizing it.

So what are the primary damages that you do to your skin when showering? Let's find out below.


1. How hot showers hurt you

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The hot showers negatively influence the outer layer of the skin, killing the cells that cover.

These cells provide a defense against environmental aggression and also retain moisture, as they produce a thin layer of oil that helps coat the dermis and maintain moisture.

The heat of the shower and the use of excess soap cause these oils to soften and the skin to dry, producing itching and even eczema. These mean that the longer and hot the shower, the drier it will be. If you notice that when you leave the water, your skin turns red and starts to sting you, that is a sign that you should begin to cool the water a little.

A study led by Dr. Richard Gallo, of the University of California in San Diego (United States), revealed that the outermost layer of the epidermis, called the corneal layer, is the most affected, since the lipids or fatty compounds that dissolve help to keep the skin moisturized (source).

The researcher even indicates that if the baths are with hot water than you can get a dry and irritated skin; but not only that, the beneficial bacteria of the skin that the body uses to fight infections could be eliminated.

2. How many times do you have to shower?

The custom of 100 years ago was the weekly baths, should we return to that habit? What do the experts advise?

Dr. Brandon Mitchell, assistant professor of dermatology at George Washington University, believes that once or twice a week is enough. To my patients who bathe every day, I advise them not to wash the entire body.

Better to concentrate on the armpits, back, and groin, which are the areas that produce the most odorous secretions. "The rest of the body does not need so much soap," says the specialist.

3. Consequences of showers with chlorinated water

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Water in large cities is treated with chlorine to decontaminate it and make it drinkable.

However, this compound is often dangerous to the health of the skin, because it contains toxins that can be abrasive.

This happens especially when taking hot showers because the pores are opened, and a much larger amount of chlorine is absorbed than usually can be supported (source).

This compound contains an oxidant that affects the human skin, causing damage to the cell tissue in the long term.

The abrasive effect of this chemical compound causes the skin to dry and crack, which causes itching and burning.

4. How to prevent shower baths from hurting you

First, you need to lower the water temperature. Then, make sure to take short showers of no more than 10 minutes and consider the use of soap only in the necessary areas, such as under the arms or around the groin (source).

You can even choose to use moisturizing products during the shower. Nowadays, it is possible to find creams that you can use when showering, which will nourish your skin and prevent it from drying out.

These are the most notable damages you do to your skin when showering.

5. Some points to keep in mind in the shower so as not to damage the skin

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a. Choose products carefully 

First of all, it is necessary to keep in mind that you have to differentiate between gel, shampoo, and conditioner.

The gel is for the skin and should be neutral, that is, have a PH 5.5, which is suitable for all skin types.

On the other hand, shampoo is for hair and should be used daily. The conditioners we can have for the hair and the body.

It is important that we differentiate and be clear about the proper use of each product.

b. Water Temperature

Water temperature is another point to consider, as it can directly affect the skin.

Specifically, using very hot water is not good because the heat destroys the natural fat of the skin.

The same happens with too cold water. So we must find a medium-term to preserve skin in perfect condition.

To protect the defenses we must keep in mind that it is not good to shower more than once a day.

But if by our pace of life we cannot avoid doing it, the best thing is simply taking a shower without gel and clean those areas that are more prone to accumulate bacteria.

c. Beware of sensitive areas 

Take special care when washing the most delicate parts of the body or its surroundings as excessive direct cleaning can irritate parts.

The idea is to clean with water and simply with your hand and a little foam, not direct soap.

Special emphasis should be placed on the parts where you sweat more and accumulate more bacteria, such as the armpits.

d. Rinse and dry 

The rinsing is fundamental; we should not leave soap residues in any part of the body, as these can produce irritations and peeling of the skin in that part.

So review each part of the body with water, so it removes any residue of the soap.

To avoid irritations on the skin it is also necessary to be careful when drying, do not drag it through the skin or rub with it, because it can produce irritations on the skin.

The Bottom Line

Use a fluffy towel and dry yourself with soft touches, without rubbing or straining.

People with fine or delicate hair should avoid shampooing too often: twice a week would be enough to maintain the natural production of scalp fat and balanced hydration.

It is recommended to dry the skin with a towel, giving gentle touches, and apply moisturizer immediately afterward.

If you apply the conditioner on the top of the head, you will be promoting an unnecessary production of fat on the scalp.

But instead, concentrate on the roots of the rest of the head. That is the area that requires more hydration and attention.

Gently squeeze out excess water using a dry towel; and do not rub it, because that way you would encourage the appearance of entanglements.