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9 Surprising Shower Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Skin

shower don'ts

Due to the amount of hand washing and cleaning I’ve been doing over the past few weeks, the skin on my hands is in pretty rough shape! I’m sure a lot of you are experiencing the same thing, and applying lotion and other moisturizers often to try and rectify the damage.

But if dryness and irritation aren’t just limited to your hands, the cause behind your skin concerns may not be so obvious! But today’s post may help shed some light on the problem, because today we’ll be talking about how your shower habits may be wreaking havoc on your skin.

So if you are struggling with dry, itchy skin, try avoiding a few of these practices for a couple of weeks. You might be surprised at just how much big a difference it makes! :-)

Related: My Top Remedies for Dry, Itchy Skin

9 Shower Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Skin

shower don'ts

1. Using A Loofah

Using a loofah to scrub your skin clean can be too rough and exfoliating for certain skin types. It can even disrupt the skin’s natural protective barrier, leading to dryness and irritation.

Instead, swap your loofah for a gentle washcloth. And be sure to clean it regularly—wash your washcloths, loofahs, and other body washing tools in hot water after three uses to keep it free of bacteria.

shower don'ts

2. Taking Hot Showers

A hot shower can feel great after a long day or when it’s cold outside, but they aren’t very good for your skin! Your skin maintains moisture by producing natural oils, but showering in hot water can strip away those oils and leave it feeling dry and flaky.

Hot water can also trigger an inflammatory response in your skin, leading not only to dryness, but redness, itching, and general irritation. To avoid these uncomfortable skin conditions, keep the water temperature within the lukewarm-to-warm range.

shower don'ts

3. Taking Overly Long Showers

It’s not just hot showers that can dry out your skin—long showers can do it too! Limit yourself to 5-10 minutes in the shower to avoid the skin-drying effects of staying in there too long.

shower don'ts

4. Not Rinsing Well Enough

It’s important to take your time while rinsing off at the end of your shower in order to remove all traces of soap and hair product residue. If you rush your end-of-shower rinse and some soap residue remains on your skin, that skin is likely to wind up feeling dry and itchy within a few hours.

shower don'ts

5. Waiting Too Long To Moisturize

If you wait 10-15 minutes after showering to apply lotion, you’re waiting too long! The best time to moisturize your skin is right after you hop out of the shower, thanks to the warm and humid conditions in the bathroom and the residual moisture on your skin. These conditions make your skin more absorbent, so it can soak up all those moisturizers in your lotion and seal in hydration!

shower don'ts

6. Not Showering After A Workout

You should always shower after working out, regardless of how sweaty or smelly you are! The bacteria that live on our skin thrive in the warm and sweaty state that often follows a workout. If you don’t wash the sweat off promptly by taking a shower, the bacteria can multiply rapidly and cause rashes and other skin problems.

shower don'ts

7. Storing Your Razor In The Shower

Keeping your razor in the shower may be convenient, but it can have consequences for both the razor and your skin! If your razor doesn’t have a chance to properly dry out between uses, bacteria and rust can quickly take over.

To keep your razor clean and sharp, set it on a clean towel to dry after each use. Once it’s dry, store it alongside a silica gel packet, which will absorb nearby moisture and keep the blades dry.

shower don'ts

8. Washing Your Face In The Shower

If you regularly wash your face in the shower instead of at the sink, you may be contributing to skin problems. Washing your face in the shower means you’re spending more time in the shower overall, which can lead to dry skin and hyperpigmentation.

And the water temperature can be problematic too, as the water you shower in is likely quite a bit hotter than what you’d use to wash your face at the sink. Switch to washing your face at the sink for a while, and you’re likely to see improvements in your skin!

shower don'ts

9. Getting Hair Products On Your Skin

The order of your shower routine is more important than you’d think! For instance, it’s a good idea to wash and condition your hair before washing your body. That way, you can wash away any residue from your shampoo and conditioner that could be sitting on your skin.

If you wash your body first, those hair product residues can cling to your skin, causing dryness, irritation, and other issues.

What’s your best skincare tip?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • Since I’ve been using your fabulous bath wash recipe and ensuring that I rinse well, I don’t itch like I used to. I agree, that residue, whatever kind it is, does linger, & using the hand held shower head to rinse my legs and such, has made a difference. Thanks, Jillee!

  • After years of having eczema as a child, dry, alligator skin and itchiness most of my life, I discovered that I was allergic to sulphates and so am very particular about checking products now before showering, washing hair, etc. A lot of beauty products & face cleansers, have sulphate in them. Once I started using shower products and shampoos without sulphate the itchiness & dryness cleared up.

  • I watched from YouTube (plant video) that adding 1tsp of vitamin C powder to a tub full (50liters) of water will remove chlorine in the water?, if you are planning to soak, and you are sensitive to chlorine, perhaps this will help

  • An extra note: If you have super dry skin, you might want to get your thyroid checked out because if you have an under active thyroid, it can make you itch. Also diabetes can contribute to itchiness.

  • I bought some castile liquid soap a few years ago because my sweet little pet rabbit had an infestation of fur mites. It was so gentle on her, so I decided to try it for myself. I’ve discovered that castile soap cured years of the serious dandruff and my scalp is now clean with no more itching or scabbing. I now use castile soap especially for bathing and hand washing. I used to have cracking on the tips of my fingers and it is now completely gone and my hands are beautifully soft. My cuticles no longer crack or tear. All of my skin is now soft and comfortable from head to toe so I’m a believer in using castile soap for nearly everything. Try it if you’ve had skin issues. I know it costs more than other soaps, but a little goes a long, long way. Besides, having normal skin and scalp are wonderful. Image the cost of visiting a dermatologist ($$$$$$) and the price of RX drugs ($$$$$j that often have side effects. You can buy castile soap on-line and at most pharmacies. You’ll save money and have great skin. Castile soap is also great for babies as well as being a good natural cleaner without toxicity to use in your home.

  • First time commenting! I swear by jojoba oil. I apply it to wet skin inside the shower, then just blot dry. I apply to my face as well. It is the best. I don’t use moisturizer at all except on my hands. Side note: I recently got a pretty bad sunburn (oops). I liberally applied jojoba oil on it for a few days and no peeling at all.

  • I’m guilty of so many of these, so this is a good list…as I commented below it seems that longer showers are unavoidable even without dawdling, and it’s often hard to tell when all of the soap is rinsed off as many have moisturizers that make the skin feel slippery.

    Btw I love the wood frame around your bathroom mirror!

    • Thank you for your kind words Pat. I am so happy that you love our website and tips! We are here to make people’s lives easier with solutions to everyday homekeeping, beauty routines, recipes, natural products and more. :-)

  • 10 minutes in the shower! My, that’s a long time, and a big waste of water! I thin k I stay about 2 to 3 minutes – turn ewater on, get wet, stop water, lather with soap, then turn water on again and rinse well, that’s it.

    • I was actually wondering if many women – especially ones with long hair – could manage to wash their hair, bathe AND shave their legs inside 10 minutes. Some of my showers are just what you describe, but for myself and likely many women getting the hair thoroughly wet, working the shampoo (or rye flour in my case) through it and rinsing it all out, plus using gelatin and/or and ACV rinse takes several minutes just in itself.

      • There’s no way I can do all of that in under 10 minutes – maybe 15 if I’m really moving. I realize it is better for the skin to spend less time in the shower, but I just don’t think it’s practical to finish in under 10 minutes.

      • Agreed. In the old days, I could manage a 5 minute shower with no trouble if all I was doing was washing me and maybe including shaving my underarms, but not including washing my hair or shaving my legs With the lower flow shower heads, though, it takes at least 10 to 15 minutes, most of which is spent first getting all of me wet and lastly getting all the soap rinsed off. I’m not that big.

  • I try not to shower every single day. If I have a day of little activity, then I can skip the shower. I am ok with a sponge bath at the sink. Too many showers seem to be hard on my skin no matter what I do, so I try for 3 or 4 a week, just not every single day. I do not use strong soaps, only liquid body wash. Sometimes I will even use shampoo as a body wash. As Jill said, I rinse with extra care. Any product left on the skin will cause itching. And then I use Yves Roche lotions – any kind is good – and that’s it.

  • I recently received a book written by a Dermatologist. She actually addresses some of the things that can irritate skin. One shampoo- I can’t remember the exact name by Aveda it has mint in it has.caused lots of skin irritation from the mint. It would affect the skin from the shampoo having contact with the skin. She says usually when people would quit using it – the irritation would go away. I use the Dove sensitive skin formula soap which helps a lot with skin irritation. Its formula doesn’t contain detergents which can harsh on skin.

  • I use hair conditioner instead of shaving cream or gel. I buy an inexpensive brand like Suave so it’s economical and not too thick or too thin. It keeps my skin soft and it’s especially nice to use if you shave in the tub…no more foam floating in your bath water. I keep it in a liquid soap pump bottle in the shower.

  • I have to use filters to remove the chlorine. I have one for the shower and one for the bathtub. If I don’t use them, I have very itchy, dry skin. Thank you for the tips!

  • I have, for nearly 35 years, splashed on baby oil on my wet skin. I probably use about 1 or 1.5 tablespoons oil after each shower. BEFORE toweling off. A small amount in the palm and rubbed into the skin on various parts…takes about 4 palm splashes- each splash no more than about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon. I can readily feel the difference if I forget the baby oil when traveling. My mother adopted this and agreed it greatly helped dry skin. She developed an irritation with the baby oil and bought neutrogena bath oil and that, though much more costly, worked for her. Gor exfoliation I’ve found my bath towels which most of the time are line dried, are a good and gentle exfoliant. A note for those concerned about the oil on your towels- your skin, warm and wet from the shower, will quickly absorb all the oil…you won’t find any residue on your towels.

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