Those feelings of sensation and satisfaction when the warm water touches your body early in the morning—it is one of life’s simple pleasures. If a hot shower is what your body craves in the morning, you’re not alone. And it’s especially gratifying if you’re sore from a tough workout, no matter the weather outside. But as fantastic as it feels at the moment—and even though they effectively help to relieve body tension and soothe muscle fatigue, they can also do significant damage to your skin’s natural functions over time. Here’s why:
You know how your fingers can look wrinkly when you’ve been in a hot shower for a while? Guess what? It’s a sign that the moisture of your body has literally been stripped away from your skin, (due to hot showers, baby). Any skin condition characterized by a defective skin barrier can be worsened by basking under warm temperatures. It strips the skin of sebum, the healthy fats and oils necessary for skin health, and dehydrates the skin. Ouch.
But that’s not all, similarly to the skin on your face and body, hot water can also strip necessary oils from your (hair) scalp, resulting in inflammation and impeded hair growth. It’s like this: think of an inflamed scalp as trying to grow little plants in lava—yup, almost impossible to have happy, healthy hair.
And it’s not just the scalp you need to be concerned about. Too hot of a shower can directly affect the hair itself. Hot water can be equally stripping for hair. But also, if the water is too hot, it may prevent shampoo and conditioner from being fully rinsed, which can further affect hair quality and texture.
Similarly to the skin on your face and body, hot water can also strip necessary oils from your (hair) scalp, resulting in inflammation and impeded hair growth.
But but, are there any benefits to a hot shower?
Yes. But too little. Just like cold baths can be helpful for recovery, hot showers can definitely loosen you up, too. It’s relaxing, definitely. But skin benefits? Not so much. If keeping your skin happy, healthy, and hydrated is a top priority, lukewarm water is the way to go. You can also add a little skin-barrier insurance by using a gentle cleanser that doesn’t have stripping soaps in its ingredients. And if you absolutely must experience the occasional hot shower, keep it around five minutes long. If the mirror is getting steamy, you may have to lower the temperature.