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7 Shower Mistakes to Stop Making Today

Ah, the shower. Is there anything better than a good shower at the end of a long day?

Warm, steamy, relaxing goodness.

That refreshing sense of well-being when you get out all squeaky clean.

And, honestly, I’m not about to act like a few minutes of quiet solitude isn’t a treat.

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But, people land on both sides of the shower debate. Some totally indulge in the luxury, and some see it as a necessity verging on inconvenience.

It’s just one more thing to do in a day.

When you shower (especially as lady folk), it’s just the beginning of a whole time-consuming process of shaving, moisturizing, blow drying and makeup-ing.

And, the ever classic:

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The struggle is real.

There are two variables in this showering equation:

1. How Often We’re Showering

According to Dr. Elizabeth Lancaster, a Lancaster University Sociologist, the idea of showering daily is a recent concept. Less than 100 years ago, we could’ve gotten away with bathing once a week!

Some of us are embracing this “cleansing reduction” movement of bathing just once a week. Others are taking a lax approach to scrubbing up. A survey of 2,021 women ages 18 to 50 found that:

4of5WomenAnd, 33% of go up to three days without washing their bodies!

This is also evidenced by the rise in popularity of dry shampoos on the market these days. Many of us are skipping hair washes either due to time constraints or because it’s suggested that it’s healthier and less drying for our strands.

There are even dry conditioners now! While dry shampoos soak up excess oil and mattify your scalp between washes, dry conditioner adds weightless shine to your ends to instantly refresh and rehydrate hair.

With friends like these, who needs showers?

2. How Long We’re Showering

The longer your skin is exposed to hot, moisture-zapping water, the more potential it has to dry it out and disturb skin’s outer layer.

A study by American Standard found that as we age, we’re spending less time sudsing up.

showertimeThere’s been quite a bit of research on how our skin reacts to showering. While showering on the reg is good for personal hygiene, over-showering could do more harm than good. First, let’s talk about the science of skin.

How Your Skin Works

On the outermost layer of your skin, the epidermis, is a protective layer called the stratum corneum. This layer is made up of dead skin cells which are constantly flaking and washing off, but they act as a shield for the new, healthy skin cells underneath.

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Your stratum corneum is held together by fatty compounds called lipids, which are responsible for providing your skin’s moisture. Together, the cells and lipids act like a sort of brick and mortar to build a wall of protection against bacteria, allergens and chemicals.

What Happens to Your Skin When You Shower

When you shower with super hot water, harsh soaps, or scrub skin too vigorously, you wash away this outer layer including your skin’s natural oils, or lipids. When you do this continually and frequently, your skin doesn’t have as much time to produce oil to repair itself.

This has the potential to disrupt skin and lead to dryness and irritation. When skin is too dry, it develops cracks which can make it easier for bacteria and infections to get in.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Some exfoliation is good to slough off dead skin cells, cleanse pores and encourage healthy, glowing skin. But, we need to be careful with the amount and frequency with which we’re doing it so we don’t strip away natural oils and possibly damage our skin.

Whether you view it as a chore, or as a relaxing oasis, odds are you've got your routine down-pat. But are all of those steps putting you closer to both healthier skin and hair? Today I want to talk about shower mistakes many of us make on a regular basis, and the ways in which we can remedy them (without taking the relaxation out of showering). Are you ready for it?

The Top Shower Mistakes You Are Making

Mistake #1: The Water is Too Hot. This is probably the worst offender of them all. Trust me, as a business owner and mother of two I know exactly how amazing a hot shower feels after a long day. But did you know that hot water can be stripping to your skin? There are a number of ways you can remedy this. First, turn down the heat! I know this sounds both obvious, and like a total "no way", but turning it down, even just a little, will do your skin some good. Bonus, it’s also better for your hair! You will likely become used to the lower temps, and can even start to bring it lower over time. If giving up a hot shower is simply not going to happen, try limiting your shower time and be sure to apply a nourishing lotion afterwards! I have been a lover of Epicuren's After Bath Moisturizers for years, as they really do deliver a perfect post-shower dose of hydration.

Mistake #2: Taking Long Showers. If you can’t reduce how often you shower, consider reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower. The longer you’re in a hot water, the more it can dry out your skin. Bonus, reducing your water usage is good for the environment!

Mistake #3: You're Cleansing Your Face with Body Wash. Quick question: would you use a body lotion on your face? The answer is probably "No", and the same philosophy should definitely be applied to your face wash. I will grant very rare exceptions to this rule for ultra-natural products, with ultra-gentle ingredients, but unless you have found (or made) this gold mine of a product, it is important to remember that your body cleanser and your face cleanser, should be totally separate.

Mistake #4: You're Cleansing Before You Condition Your Hair. It can be easy to go straight for your cleanser when you hop into the shower. After all, getting that makeup off can feel so good and refreshing. However, it is wise to save this step for post-conditioner, as the conditioner can run onto your face and clog pores. An exception to this rule, of course, is if you are double cleansing, in which case you may cleanse before your conditioner, and then once more again afterwards.

Mistake #5: You're Exfoliating too Much. I am a firm supporter of doing your exfoliating treatment in the shower, be it body or face. With that in mind, it is very important to follow instructions and not go over board. If you are experiencing mild irritation (even just redness or stinging), take it down a notch. If the problem persists, it might be time to try a different product. The important thing to remember is that sometimes less is more, and that there is such a thing as "too much of a good thing".

Mistake #6: You're Washing Your Hair Too Often. As someone who actually enjoys washing her hair, I know how difficult this one can be. Washing your hair too often (every day, for instance) can cause your hair to become stripped of it's natural oils. Instead, opt for every other day, or every three days if you can get away with it. A trick around this is to find a good dry shampoo or conditioner that will bring life back to your hair (and by good, I mean will refresh your hair without causing it to become dry, something that produces worse results than regular hair washing). If you simply cannot skip a wash day, opt for using only conditioner on some days to keep your hair moisturized and happy.

Mistake #7: You're Using the Same Wash Cloth or Loofah for Days at a Time. I cannot stress this enough: be sure to clean your washclothes or loofahs. I like washcloths or scrub sheets because these are easy to throw in the wash. Warm, wet places are some of the best when it comes to harboring bacteria, which is why it should come as no surprise that your washcloths and loofahs can do just that. In a perfect world, you should be able to use a new washcloth each and every day. Yes, so if you are a washcloth fanatic, be sure to stock up and keep a laundry cycle going. While reusing a washcloth for a couple days at a time is not generally dangerous, it can deliver infection-causing bacteria to any open cuts (large or small) on your body. Of course, this isn't a totally common thing (many people keep a loofah in their shower), but when it comes to your skin, my opinion is this: fresh and clean is always best.

Mistake #8: You're Rubbing the Water Away. When you step out of the shower (and this is especially true in the winter time) you are likely rubbing your towel all over to try and wick the water away. This practice can actually cause skin irritation and hair damage, which is why it is recommended that you pat dry. Ideally, you should allow skin to air dry. But, if you don’t want to stand in your bathroom dripping water all over the floor - or shivering - gently pat or blot skin dry with soft towel. If the "outside world" is simply too cold, make sure your shower door (or curtain) is shut as tightly as possible and pat dry after turning off the water. This helps to keep the heat locked in (though not for very long ;-) ).

To help you along, here are some of my top picks for items that will shower your skin with love:PumpkinI’m so excited to share my Alana Mitchell Foaming Pumpkin Cleanser! I designed this gentle and effective cleanser with all skin types in mind, so even those with the most sensitive skin can use it. It features pumpkin seed oil, a natural source of vitamins A, C, and E as well as rich nutrients and hydrating and anti-aging benefits. It also includes soothing ingredients so your skin is left, clean, glowing and refreshed!

bioelementsThis Bioelements Moisture Positive Cleanser removes makeup and dissolves dirt while nourishing and hydrating dry skin. The rich, creamy formula is also well suited for sensitive skin and gives you a deep clean while packing a moisturizing punch!

alanaMy Alana Mitchell Hyaluronic Moisture Boost Serum was created to give your skin ultra hydration. This serum contains 20% Hyaluronic Acid to plump fine lines and boost skin’s moisture 10x! It also contains ingredients to soothe skin and promote healing so your skin is healthy and revitalized.

RAlotionRhonda Allison Face Creams - Ultra Hydration delivers max moisture by binding humectants to skin to infuse hydration deep into your skin’s layers. This rich formula can be used day or night, and is beneficial for all skin types.

afterbathEpicuren After Bath Moisturizers are a wonderful way to restore skin’s hydration after washing up. Each one is individually formulated with natural, nourishing ingredients to wrap your skin in moisture. We carry a variety of these delightful potions. The hardest part is choosing which one to try first!

dermkitThis handy Dermalogica Dry Skin Kit contains everything you need to deliver moisture to dry or dehydrated skin. Replenish skin with this set which includes:

  • Essential Cleansing Solution (1.7oz)
  • Gentle Cream Exfoliant (0.3oz)
  • Multi-Active Toner (1.7oz)
  • Intensive Moisture Balance (0.75oz)
  • Intensive Eye Repair

Dermalogica also has selection of other kits to address a variety of skincare concerns. They’re a great all-in-one way to revitalize skin!

Final Thoughts

When it comes to your shower time and frequency, you gotta do you. Whatever works best for your skin is what’s ultimately going to be your best choice. Indulge in some daily steam time, enjoy the refreshment of a cooler shower, or challenge yourself to see how quickly you can get in and out. Or, start forgoing them more often and use that time to finally learn how to crochet. The choice is all yours!

Just make sure that no matter how often you’re showering up, you always take care of your skin and practice good hygiene so you and your skin stay healthy!

To shower or not to shower? Weigh in on the debate and share with us in the comments section!

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