We live in liquid before birth, and are covered in it upon entering this world, so it's understandable that standing under a spray of water, lathering up with fragrant soaps and shampoos, can be a calming, or energizing, feeling—but sadly, there are secret side effects of your shower. Nothing immediately life-threatening, mind you, but just some things everyone should know. Read on to discover 5 ways you can stay your healthiest when bathing—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.
You're Showering Every Day—and Perhaps Should Not
"Normal, healthy skin maintains a layer of oil and a balance of 'good' bacteria and other microorganisms. Washing and scrubbing removes these, especially if the water is hot. As a result," says Harvard Health:
"Skin may become dry, irritated, or itchy.
Dry, cracked skin may allow bacteria and allergens to breach the barrier skin is supposed to provide, allowing skin infections and allergic reactions to occur.
Our immune systems need a certain amount of stimulation by normal microorganisms, dirt, and other environmental exposures in order to create protective antibodies and "immune memory." This is one reason why some pediatricians and dermatologists recommend against daily baths for kids. Frequent baths or showers throughout a lifetime may reduce the ability of the immune system to do its job."
Your Antibacterial Soap May Upset Your Balance
"Antibacterial soaps can actually kill off normal bacteria," says Harvard Health. "This upsets the balance of microorganisms on the skin and encourages the emergence of hardier, less friendly organisms that are more resistant to antibiotics."
You're Showering Too Long
Water exposure can lead to dry skin and hair. A longer shower also "gives the water a chance to allow any cleansers to be more damaging," Jessica Krant, a board-certified dermatologist with the American Academy of Dermatology, told NBC News. "Krant and Dr. Lauren Ploch, a board-certified dermatologist with the American Academy of Dermatology, both say the shorter the shower, the better," says NBC News. "For patients with atopic dermatitis and/or very dry skin, I recommend keeping showers to five minutes or less," Ploch says. "Keep showers active. Don't stand under water for minutes at a time."
Hot Showers Can Irritate Your Skin
"Hot water strips away natural oils and damages the skin faster, so stick to a lukewarm — or cooler — shower," says NBC News. "Some people advocate extremely cold water for invigorating the circulation," Krant says. "Other than avoiding extremely hot temperatures, I say use whatever temperature feels best."
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You're Using the Wrong Soap
"Some experts say traditional soap can strip the oil from your skin. Dr. Doris Day, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, suggests products labeled as 'cleanser,' such as a moisturizing body wash," says NBC News. "Cleansers can add the moisture back into your skin," she says. "If you haven't had trouble with dry or irritated skin, though, traditional soap is fine," says NBC News. "I say to each her own," Krant says. So shower right, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.