Read on to find out how you can get more out of your daily shower
Your daily shower is an important aspect of maintaining personal hygiene and good health.
Tips and tricks like showering in lukewarm water, avoiding long and frequent showers, using mild soaps, and applying hydrating oils or lotions immediately post-shower should be taken care of. Spray. Soap. Scrub. Sluice. Towel. dry. What's not to know about how to shower?
Quite a lot, apparently. The length of time you spend in the shower, your favoured water temperature, and the bath products you use - all these factors can affect skin health. Read on to find out how you can get more out of your daily shower!
Turning down the heat
Let's start with the temperature. Forget those dreamy ads showing towel-wrapped models surrounded by clouds of steam! Hot water, says the American Academy of Dermatology, strips natural oils, leaving your skin parched.
This applies even more in winter when the weather is drier than usual and your skin struggles to retain moisture. Lukewarm water, therefore, is best for your skin.
Long and frequent showers? Not what the doctor ordered
Long, hot showers are a divine temptation in cold weather, but are they worth the consequences? Along with hot water, longer showers and frequent showering more than once a day have been found to be common triggers for eczema, more so in winter, so restrict your shower time to not more than 10 minutes.
Rinse your skin thoroughly to ensure no soap or cleanser remains on your skin.
Towel off gently after showering and immediately apply a moisturizer to lock in residual water on your skin.
Creams or moisturizers work better than lotions, say experts. Coconut oil or olive oil should work well as moisturizers too.
When it comes to soap, less is more
While supermarket shelves stock a confusingly large variety of bath products, bear in mind that visually tempting labels, colours, and fragrances are not what your skin needs to keep it healthy and supple.
If your soap or cleanser lathers profusely, that means it contains surfactants, chemicals that bind water with oil and bubble over (just like in the movies!).
The unglamorous truth is they're stripping your skin of its natural oils, which is why your skin feels stretched and dry after towelling off.
According to dermatologists, the wise option is to use non-perfumed, mild soaps or soap-free cleansers (with moisturizer if you suffer from dry skin).
Stay away from deodorant soaps or alcohol-based products.
Neither do you require a washcloth, sponge or scrub brush to get squeaky clean - if you really must use these, do so very gently on your skin.
Shower at night helps you sleep like a baby
While a morning shower is arguably the best way to perk up for a busy day, there's evidence that a shower at night is a great way to get a good night's sleep.
Sleep scientist Jessa Gamble cites research which indicates that body temperature drops naturally toward bedtime, a signal to the body to power down all systems.
Typically, though, people tend to stay up longer than they should, which means that body temperature keeps dropping, a reason why we don't fall asleep for a length of time after getting into bed.
This is where a warm shower can kick in, bringing the body to just the right level of warmth and relaxation you need for slipping into a sound, relaxing sleep.
Scientists call this effect "fluffing the physiological pillow"!
Keeping Your Shower Clean
Warm water and soap will cleanse your body of germs, but what about the shower area itself?
This is where bugs are likely to lurk and proliferate. Here are a couple of tips to keep your shower squeaky clean:
- Clean and change your shower curtain regularly: Residual soapy water on your shower curtain makes a happy home for mould and bacteria. Clean the curtain frequently with hot water and bleaching agent and replace it approximately once in six months or longer, depending on its condition.
- Flush out the bacteria: Before stepping into the shower area, allow the water to run (just) for 30 seconds. Bugs that have accumulated in the showerhead will be thrown out with the water. If your shower head is plastic, consider replacing it with a metal one as plastic is more amenable to bacteria.