Since Covid-19 quarantines swept the nation, Americans haven't been going out much. All that time at home without normal work patterns, shopping, or socializing has led to a slide in showering and bathing for many. Consumer goods manufacturer Unilever, reported a 25% drop in personal grooming product sales in the month of March when mandatory stay home orders had only been in place a few weeks.
Now that coronavirus restrictions are easing, and we're able to interact with the outside world again, hopefully everyone will start showering regularly. But, before you go back to the same old shower routine, take note of the things that are definitely not healthy shower habits - and a few things you should add to the mix.
Don't Take Long Showers.
Why they're BAD: the longer your shower the more moisture you remove from your skin. The result is dry and itchy skin. Dermatologist Dr. Patricia Farris recommends that you limit showers to 5-10 minutes. She says, "Shorter is better."
Don't Dry Too Hard.
Why it's BAD: If you use your towel to scrub your skin dry, you're doing it wrong. Rubbibf vigorously aggravates your skin. Experts also warn that air drying can lead to chapped skin.
Instead, lightly pat your skin dry. Don't rub or scrub your body with a towel.
Don't Leave Your Loofah in the Shower.
Why it's BAD: The job of a loofah is slough off dead skin and dirt, so if you leave all of those particles on it and keep it in the shower, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. If others use the same shower, your loofah collects more moisture and bacteria starts breeding again.
Instead, wash and rinse the loofah thoroughly when you're done washing, then ring it dry. Leave it outside of the shower until you need it again.
Scrub Your Feet.
Why you SHOULD: Give your feet a good scrub while you're in the shower to avoid nasty foot fungus and bacteria. The Institute For Preventative Foot Health advises you to wash your feet (especially between your toes) every day with mild soap. Be sure to dry your feet and in between toes thoroughly.
Shower Right After A Workout.
Why you SHOULD: The fact that you probably smell is one thing, but another important factor is that perspiration left on your skin allows bacteria to grow, which leads to rashes and breakouts.
Why you SHOULD: Dermatologists advise the importance of moisturizing your skin while it's still damp, because it helps lock in the moisture. Pat-dry your skin with a towel and apply moisturizer immediately after.
Don't Leave Your Razor in the Shower.
Why it's BAD: You know those little red spots and/or darkened pores you sometimes get after you shave a part of your body in the shower? That's from bacteria! Much like a loofah, your razor scrapes off dead skin along with hair follicles, and when left in a moist environment it makes a happy home for bacteria to breed. When this bacteria gets into newly exposed pores it can infect them
Instead, rinse your razor thoroughly, dry it and store it somewhere dry instead of inside the shower. Experts also recommend that you change your blades or disposable razor often. And for those with sensitive skin, try shaving in the direction of your hair - shaving "against the grain" offers a closer shave, but can increase ingrown hairs. Exfoliating also help alleviate ingrown hairs.
Don't Wash Your Hair Every Day.
Why it's BAD: There's a reason your scalp produces oil, it's to balance your scalp's microbiome, which keeps bad bacteria and fungi from taking over and causing inflammation and dandruff. Dominic Burg at Evolis Professional, is a hair biologist, microbiologist, and trichologist (that makes him a hair expert) recommends gently cleansing your scalp two to three times a week.
Give Yourself A Cold Blast of Water Before You Hop Out.
Why you SHOULD: Most people love a hot, relaxing shower, and if you're trying to soothe sore muscles or get a good night's sleep, it's a great idea. However, if you're trying to wake up and dig into to school or work it might leave you a little too relaxed. To get energized, experts recommend that as you finish your shower, you try a burst of cold water for 30 seconds, then hot for 30 seconds (to open up your capillaries and increase blood flow), then end with another 30 seconds of cold.
Self Magazine reports that "According to science, cold water immersion has been linked to increased tolerance to stress, a stronger immune system, increased fat burning and anti-depressant effects."
Don't Condition Above the Crown Of Your Head.
Why it's BAD: using conditioner in this area causes unnecessary oil production and might make it appear greasy. SheScribes.com says, "Focus on your roots first, this is the are that requires the most moisture and attention."
On a side note, how often should you shower and wash you hair?
Opinions vary, but most experts agree that you don't necessarily need to shower daily if you're not exerting yourself. It comes down to personal preference and cultural norms for the area that you live.
Showering daily can strip your skin of the oils that allow a "good" balance of bacteria and other microorganisms to remain on the skin. It can also cause your skin to become dry and irritated.
Seattle-based dermatologist told Healthline, that you should only wash your hair once it's oily and feels unclean to the touch. Professional hair stylist told WebMD, "For hair that's normal in terms of oiliness and medium weight, I sometimes tell my clients to go as long as they can without shampooing."