Are Hot Showers Good For The Skin?
It is true that after a long and tiring day at work nothing is better than a hot shower since everything from stress and tension to dirt and dust seem to miraculously dissolve.
Whether it is due to that relaxing feeling that the light massage of dropping water on the neck, shoulders and back offers or the hot water itself that makes our muscles loosen, hot showers are often recommended to naturally relieve migraines and strong headaches due to intense stress.
Hot showers can be very relaxing and a necessity for many of us, but the fact is that hot showers harm the skin, making it dry and disrupting its natural moisture, which leads to different negative side effects for our skin´s health including itchiness and rough skin.
What Happens to the Skin when we Have a Hot Shower
What people think as skin is actually the external layer of the skin and the one that they can see. It is also called epidermis or stratum corneum and is mostly made up of dead skin cells that are surrounded by a layer of lipids, sebum and ceramides which protect the skin from external pollutants or other harmful factors.
These cells together with the sebum make the hydrolipidic film which is a light protective barrier on the surface of the skin.
The problem is that hot water temperatures remove the natural lipids of the epidermis, making it impossible to retain the natural levels of moisture in the skin.
Also, a lot of the shower gels or body cleansers and soaps that most people use contain harsh cleansing ingredients and foaming agents that strip away the skin’s natural oils and imbalance the pH level of the skin, turning your skin from acidic to alkaline.
This way, gradually the natural defensive barrier of the skin becomes weaker and the skin itself more vulnerable to different types of irritations.
How to Protect the Skin from Hot Showers
- Try to minimize the period of time you spend having a hot shower, which should not be more than ten minutes.
- Avoid very hot temperatures and go for medium temperature waters.
- Use gentle body cleansers that have a neutral pH and contain moisturizing ingredients as well as natural nourishing oils that protect the hydrolipidic film of the outer layer of the skin.
- Pat dry your skin softly and never rub it.
- While your skin is still damp, apply a rich moisturizing body cream or body lotion. During the winter, light body gels and lotions should be replaced with richer moisturizing products. Great natural ingredients to retain moisture include hyaluronic acid, glycerine and shea butter.
- If your skin is particularly dry on some specific areas, you can apply some natural oil on them. Natural oils have conditioning as well as healing properties and are excellent at dealing with skin dryness and relieving itchiness. Good natural oils for this purpose are jojoba oil, almond oil, rosehip oil and avocado oil. Another advantage of these products is that they don´t leave your skin oily but absorb perfectly well into the skin, leaving it deeply moisturized with a soft and smooth feeling.
- Insist on effectively moisturizing specific parts of your body that are more prone to dryness such as elbows, knees and feet.
- During those colder days, protect your skin from the cold weather that is harmful for your skin by wearing warm scarfs, gloves and hats that cover your ears as well. Fleece material is better for the skin than wool.
During winter time, remember that those cold temperatures outside and those hot showers inside is the worst possible combination you can offer to your skin. Both of these conditions can lead to skin dryness, lack of moisture, rough skin, redness and itchiness.
If these problems are left untreated, your skin can become inflamed and irritated, a condition which will gradually affect your skin’s overall health and appearance. Also, do not forget than dry skin is more prone to aging and wrinkles.