If you’ve recently noticed your skin is unusually dry and irritated, your long and relaxing showers may be to blame. Hot showers may feel great, but luxuriating beneath steaming water can be bad for us—and our skin—if we’re not careful. Here, dermatologists, facialists, and estheticians share some ways to survive those steaming hot showers intact, with beautiful skin.
You didn’t wash your face ﬁrst.
Never get into a hot shower with a full face of makeup. “I recommend washing your face before you shower and toning it immediately after. It’s better to wash it in the mirror so you can see what you are cleansing and making sure you are getting everything,” says celebrity facialist Ildi Pekar of Ildi Pekar Skin Care. Do people not rinse their faces well enough? “Deﬁnitely not,” says Pekar. “I don’t think people are taking the time to thoroughly cleanse the face. That is why exfoliating and toning are both important steps in your regimen.”
Your water is too hot.
Hot showers and baths can inﬂame the skin, causing redness, itching, and even peeling. “The skin’s natural balance of moisture is very delicate,” says Melissa Haloossi of West Hollywood’s Skin Thesis. “Hot water can strip natural oils, fats, and proteins that keep skin healthy. People often experience an over production of oils due to dry skin. It is the body’s natural way of responding to dry skin.”
You forgot the cold rinse.
After every shower or bath, take a cold rinse, which is good for both your skin and hair. “This will help close the hair cuticle which will make your hair shiny and your skin feel clean and ﬁrm,” says Cinthia Lomeli, a celebrity esthetician.
You don’t have a shower ﬁlter.
“The chlorine and hard metals in most showers are very drying to the skin and hair. Installing a shower ﬁlter will help soften the water, making the skin and hair healthier,” says Lomeli. For those that color their hair, they will notice their hair color will last longer.
You linger in the water.
Taking long, hot showers and soaking in bubble baths can feel like a luxury in the wintertime, but these habits can really dry out and irritate your skin. “Prolonged exposure to the water will actually make your skin more dry, and the surfactants in bubble baths will remove the protective oils from your skin. You’re better off taking shorter showers and pampering yourself with a rich moisturizing cream after,” says director, Jessie Cheung, M.D., of DuPage Dermatology & Laser Center in Illinois.
You use loofahs and washcloths.
They are way too rough on your skin. “I recommend switching to a muslin cloth, which cleanses and is softer on your skin, especially your face and chest,” says Dr. Jessica Wu, esteemed board-certiﬁed dermatologist and Exclusive Chief Medical Advisor for Robin McGraw Revelation.
You forget to exfoliate.
Post shower, moisturizing and exfoliating your body is just as important as it is for the face. “One of my favorite devices is the Clarisonic because you can use one brush for the face, and quickly switch to the body brush head when in the shower. This helps gently take of dead cells and opening pores,” says Haloossi.
You use abrasive towels.
Micro cotton towels are extra soft and durable. This makes them easy on the skin and last longer, even after many washes.
You don’t moisturize.
After the shower, creams and oils will penetrate the skin and absorb more effectively, says Haloossi. Use this time to give your skin a much-needed dose of moisture with your favorite lotion.