We all know how to shower and take a bath to wind down from a stressful day, but is what we're doing actually healthy for our skin? Next time you want to warm up with a long, hot shower or bath, remember these tips to make sure you don't ruin your skin at the same time! 1. Ice, Ice Baby We're not saying to shower in pure cold water, but hot water isn't so great for your skin, either. Although relaxing, hot water will actually dry and strip your skin of its natural oils! Oftentimes, the heat from a shower will soften your skin's natural oil barrier, and will allow your body wash to rinse it away. Without this protective barrier, your skin will lose moisture, dry out, itch, and become irritated. Hot water will open up your pores, and leave them exposed to the elements if not quickly shrunk back down, and if you have eczema or psoriasis, hot showers can also worsen your symptoms. So, what's the best temperature for your shower or bath? Lukewarm water! 2. Short & Simple The only thing that could be worse for your skin than a hot bath or shower, would be a long hot bath or shower. As we mentioned, heat can cause severe damage to your skin. When your skin is exposed to hot water for long periods of time, you'll notice dry patches or cracking, scaly skin starting to pop up. Instead of prolonging the time you spend in hot water, try to keep it short and simple - wash, condition, done. We're not saying to be in and out within five minutes, but maybe not up to an hour? Cut down on your showers and don’t spend more than twenty minutes! 3. Go For a Gentle Clean There are plenty of soaps and body washes out there that will strip your skin dry of its natural oils, leaving behind tight, dry, uncomfortable skin in the process. It's important to find a body wash or cleanser that works well specifically for your skin type; if you have dry skin, you'll want a hydrating cleanser like Eminence's Pear & Green Apple Body Wash! For regular day to day use, we recommend Elemis' British Botanicals Shower Cream, because it's formulated to gently cleanse and nourish your skin with natural ingredients. Find a cleanser that's suitable for your skin type! 4. Pat, Don't Rub When you're done with your refreshing shower and wanting to dry off, make sure you pat yourself dry instead of rubbing! No matter how soft and fluffy your towel may seem, rubbing it against your skin will still be too rough. Patting your skin with a towel will reduce the amount of friction, and lessen any irritation. Another thing to keep in mind is not to share towels, and wash your towel frequently! Wash your towels, don't share your towels, and pat dry with your towels! 5. Moisturize No matter how gentle and hydrating your cleanser is, it's still possible your skin will be dried out after showering - or bathing - simply because you've been in the water, so in order to keep your skin hydrated, it's ideal to moisturize your skin as soon as you step out of the shower! While your skin is still damp, reach for your favorite body lotion to help lock in moisture. We love EltaMD's Lotion because its gentle, fragrance-free formula will not irritate sensitive skin. Hydration is key - make sure to moisturize immediately after your shower!