As far as everyday acts go, showering correctly seems like a no-brainer. How can one possibly screw it up? You get in, you lather up, you rinse off. It’s as simple as that… right? Wrong. As it turns out, there are a number of moves—using a loofah, bathing in hot water, or even something as common as washing your hair every day—then you’re unfortunately one of the many people who’s showering wrong.
But thankfully, it’s easy to correct course. All you have to do is eliminate these bad bathing tactics to become an expertly thorough and effective washer. To that end, in order to help you recognize what you’re doing wrong, we’ve rounded the common acts you should never, ever do in the shower—if you want to walk out sparkly clean, that is. So read on, and for more washing wisdom, find out How You’re Washing Your Hands All Wrong.
You’re using a loofah.
Loofah, pouf, whatever you call it, this puffy cleaning object shouldn’t be a part of your shower routine. According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, these shower sponges are teeming with tons of bacteria. “As a natural product… loofah sponges play host to a variety of bacterial species, especially those of environmental origin,” the study authors wrote. If you really don’t want to part with your pouf, the study authors suggest disinfecting it regularly, drying it in between uses, and never, ever storing it in the shower. You could also just buy a new one every few weeks.
You’re using scented soap down south.
Men and women alike get insecure about their private parts potentially giving off an unpleasant odor. But while you might think that washing down there with scented soap will help you, it actually has the opposite effect. The chemicals in perfumed soap mess with your normal pH balance and can cause painful yeast infections, so always opt for a fragrance-free soap when you’re grooming your genitalia. And for more ways to be healthy, don’t miss the 30 Worst Women’s Health Myths That Won’t Die.
You’re massaging your shampoo into your scalp with your fingernails.
Everyone can agree that the best part of getting a haircut is the scalp massage. However, experts warn not to try this at home; unless they’ve been freshly filed, fingernails can scratch your scalp and, in extreme cases, make your skin flake. Instead of digging your fingernails into your scalp, use your fingertips to work the shampoo into your strands. And if you’re in the mood to do something crazy with your hair, lift inspiration from these 40 Shocking Celeb Hair Transformations.
You’re turning the temperature up too much.
In the wintertime, few things beat a piping hot shower. And while it feels incredible on a shivering body, warm water can inflame the skin, causing a reaction not unlike a sunburn would. And not only that, but a hot shower, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, can also “disrupt the skin’s natural balance of moisture, robbing you of the natural oils, fats, and proteins that keep skin healthy.”
You’re showering too often.
Don’t feel guilty about skipping a shower every now and again. Several studies have shown that showering every day can lead to a host of problems, including eczema and damage to the human microbiome. “If you’re bathing too often… you may actually change the nature of your microbial population,” microbiologist Jason Tetro explained to Global News. “When that happens, it may leave you vulnerable to problems with your immune system in the skin.”
For those living in dirtier urban environments, scientists recommend showering every two to three days; for those in more rural areas, going shower-free for a longer period of time is completely acceptable.
You wash your hair every day.
“I have always said, ‘It’s fine to go a few days without shampooing,” Drybar founder Alli Webb told WebMD. And Webb is absolutely correct in her advice, as people who shampoo too often are drying their hair out and stripping their strands of oils that actually protect it. Generally, the thicker your hair, the less you have to wash it. But if your scalp ever starts to get itchy—or you notice flaking—it’s time to hit the showers.
You shower in the morning.
Showering bright and early might help energize you before you head to work, but rinsing off in the P.M. is actually more beneficial for your body. As Dr. Khan-Mayberry explained to Everyday Health, bathing before bed “prevents transferring… contaminants to your partner or bedding.” Such contaminants include “dirt, allergens, chemicals, and a wide variety of toxins that accumulate on your skin,” which all sound like a ton of fun. Added bonus: Showering before slumber is one of the 40 Ways to Sleep Better in Your 40s!
You’re shaving at the beginning of your shower.
Save your shave for the end of your shower. Shaving without adequate hydration can cause irritation and increases your likelihood of nicking the skin. Experts suggest giving yourself at least three minutes under the water before taking a razor to your skin to avoid any blood and bruising.
You dry off and then moisturize.
“When you emerge from the shower, you have a higher concentration of moisture compared to the air—especially in the drier months with heaters,” dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, told Refinery 29. So what does this mean for your beauty routine? Well, if you moisturize right away, you can effectively trap some of that water onto your skin and keep it hydrated. And for more skin-saving tips, don’t miss the 30 Best Ways to Have Your Best Skin.
We’re all guilty of singing in the shower—sometimes even long after we’re done rinsing off. But the more time you spend in the shower, lathered up in moisture-wicking soaps and lotion, the more you dry out your hair and skin.
You’re soaping up your entire body.
In areas like the armpits, buttocks, and groin, using soap is highly recommended. But on other parts of the body, like the arms and legs, getting sudsy strips the skin of beneficial dirt and oil and causes dry skin down the road, especially for older individuals, who tend to have (literally) thinner skin.
You dry off too aggressively.
Drying off with a tough toweling with irritate the skin and cause long-lasting redness. Instead, gently pat down your skin with your towel to forego friction.
You wash your face in the shower.
It might save you a few extra minutes in the morning, but you shouldn’t be washing your face with the rest of your body. As skincare expert Kaye Scott explained to Daily Mail Australia: “A hot shower can cause and exacerbate fragile capillary networks in the cheeks, leading to unattractive, visible capillary networks and worsened impaired skin conditions.” And so you know you’re always putting your best face forward, make sure you’re using the Healthiest Cleanser for Your Face.
You don’t rinse properly.
“I find most people don’t rinse their shampoo and conditioner out properly and are left with product build-up,” colorist Cara Craig told TODAY. “If you think you’ve rinsed enough, keep rinsing.” When people have an unexplained itchy scalp, product build-up is often the culprit.
You don’t wash your feet.
The Institute For Preventative Foot Health recommends that you “wash and thoroughly dry your feet every day.” Neglecting your trotters can lead to foot fungi or bacterial growth, which can in turn impair your ability to walk. And speaking of your feet: This Is Why You Should Sleep with Your Feet Outside the Covers.
To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!