There are few things greater in life than hot water. Think about it: Hot tubs, showers and tea all bring us joy and relaxation.
On top of that boiling water kills microbes in water and allows us to cook food. Hot water has no doubt been an essential facet of human life for thousands of years.
But did you know that hot showers make acne worse?
Do you ever notice how your skin gets itchy and red when you step out of a hot shower? And to make matters worse, it’s now winter and your skin will be even drier.
Let’s take a deeper look at why this happens
Understanding Your Skin’s Anatomy
Our bodies naturally secrete oil to thinly coat our skin. This oil has a few roles, including retaining moisture and keeping bacteria from entering the body.
Not only do soaps, topicals, pollutants etc. disturb this balance, but when we add hot water to the mix it makes matters worse. What happens is that the hot water ‘dilutes’ the oil on the skin making it more malleable. This allows the moisture that was being retained by the skin to escape, leading to dry skin. The hotter and longer your showers are, the more noticeable this will be.
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s better to be aware of the fact that hot showers make acne worse, than to continue to let your skin worsen. Not all hope is lost though, there are ways around it.
Give Cold Showers a Try
While hot showers are soothing and relaxing, cold showers are less than pleasant. Yes, these can be brutal, especially in the winter time but they’re a good choice for healthy skin and a healthy body.
One reason for this is that cold temperatures increase circulation by taking blood away from the extremities and sending it towards our vital organs. Once the cold temperatures let up the blood flows back out, and thus gets circulation going. This is good for skin because we need a healthy blood flow to get nutrients to our skin.
A second reason is that unlike hot water, cold water does not do as much damage to the surface of the skin. You’ll notice that your skin retains a lot more moisture following cold showers.
Showers in General
In all honesty, showering and washing your face every day is probably not good for your skin. Yet, we live in a world that requires us to stay squeaky clean. And you don’t want to be smelly and dirty do you?
What you need to do is strike a healthy balance with your washing. First of all, unless you’re an athlete or rolling around in mud and dirt all day there’s really no reason to shower more than once a day.
I’m not going to get in a detailed discussion of how often to shower because I’m not your father, but when it doubt shower less if you are acne prone. I realize that goes against collective thought but I think it’s truly better for skin.
So let’s put a plan together to help keep your skin clear and healthy in regards to showering.
- Do you need a shower? Don’t shower for the sake of showering; shower when you actually need it.
- Limit hot water use as much as possible. Start out using hot (preferably lukewarm) water so that you can wash yourself, and then slowly turn down the dial until it gets cold.
- Limit Products On Your Face: Shampoo and soaps can wreak havoc on that precious balance of oil on your face. Do your best to avoid getting these products on your face, both directly and indirectly, when possible.
- Pat Dry. Better Yet air dry it. Rubbing a towel on your face is irritating to acne.
Well there you have it. Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be. You’ve been bathing since you were a child and I have faith that you can do it fine, however, it’s in your best interest to implement the aforementioned changes.
Post any comments or questions below.