How to take a perfect shower, according to the experts
Dr Gabriel Serrano, dermatologist and founder of cult Spanish skincare company Sesderma, debunks the myths around showering correctly to ensure your skin is as healthy as possible.
What do you think the main mistakes that people make in the shower that can negatively affect our skin? Why and what should be done instead?
There are a few common mistakes made during showering. An obvious one is to use more product than is required and leaving it on the skin for too long. It usually takes just a few seconds for products like shower gel for example to work on skin, however if left on longer than needed it can cause skin irritation and dry skin cells.
Another would be to stay in the shower for too long. Heat from the hot water combined with soap and shower gels can soften the skin and slowly strip away the natural, oily protective barriers. This needs to be balanced so that dirt, sweat and body odour is washed away but not compromising the skin’s natural moisture so that we prevent dry or irritated, itchy skin. Sesderma ATOPISES Bath Gel (£17.00, sesderma.co.uk) can also help to soothe symptoms of irritated skin. It combines active ingredients that prevent skin dryness and restores the hydro-lipid barrier, helping to relieve inflammation, redness, and itching.
What are the side effects of showering/bathing in water that is too hot? What do you advise instead?
Although a hot bath, or shower, can be soothing for muscles and help you de-stress, hot water temperatures can cause some side effects to the skin. Not only can high water temperatures strip the skin from its natural oils, it can also remove necessary moisture from the pores in our skin, leaving it feeling tight and dry. To avoid this, try to stick to luke warm or body temperature water.
Is there a maximum amount of time we should spend in a hot shower/bath? Why?
Yes. Many people spend a lot longer in the shower or bath than needed, however it would be recommended to try and stick to no longer than 10 minutes. Spending anything longer than this can strip the skin from its needed moisture and protective barriers.
What are the risks of leaving products open in the shower and how could this potentially harm our skin? (e.g. bacteria breeding)
Even if you clean your bathroom on a regular basis, and it looks sparkly clean, unwanted germs can still linger. It’s important to keep products closed, as lids that are left open can encourage bacteria lurking in the bathroom to penetrate into the product and contaminate what’s inside – you don’t want to be rubbing germs on your body! Certain bacteria can cause infections, dryness and irritations so for the sake of a couple of seconds I would advise that you do close the lids of any shower essentials.
How often should we be changing our razors? What are the risks of not rinsing them thoroughly enough/leaving them on a damp side?
How often you change your razors really does depend on how often you shave. If you shave often, blades will wear out faster than those who shave less. A good rule of thumb is to change your razor as soon as you see any rusting, or if it is starting to tag hairs when using. Leaving razors out in the shower can cause them to rust and even harbour unwanted bacteria, which can cause skin bumps and even infections, so ensure you are swapping and looking after your razors regularly.
How often should we change our loofahs/wash cloths/sponges and why? Or should we ditch them altogether? What are the risks of using the same one over and over again?
The bathroom can be home to serious bacteria due to its damp environment, and your loofahs and sponges are no exception. Although these can be great to get rid of dead skin cells, using the same loofah and sponge over and over again without changing it can cause bacteria and mould to grow. This can cause skin irritation and even infections, especially if this bacteria gets into any small cuts. To avoid this, swap your natural loofas every 3-4 weeks and your synthetic sponges and loofahs every couple of months. A great alternative to these is to use a wash cloth, which harbours less bacteria and can even be reused time and time again, as you can freshen these up in the washing machine (the environment will thank you for this too!)