Four shower habits that could be affecting your skin.

For many, those glorious minutes in the shower are the only alone time you get. It’s a chance to ponder the mysteries of the universe or attempt to wake yourself up for the day ahead.

But if you’ve got dry skin, some of your daily shower habits may actually be to blame.

1. Spending too long under the hot water stream.

Yes, it feels nice to stand under the steaming water but excessive hot water can do serious damage to your skin.

“I always say to people with dry skin to take short and tepid showers,” says Adelaide-based dermatologist and spokesperson for the Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD) Dr Karen Koh. (Watch: The easiest at-home facial to treat yourself with. Post continues after video.)

“It should be warm, like your body temperature, and not for any longer than is needed.”

In fact, the longer you expose your skin to the hot temperature, the more moisture it loses. Confusing, yes, but bear with us.

The problem can be exacerbated in autumn and winter when we’re more inclined to stay huddled in the shower.

We never want to leave. 


2. Rubbing yourself dry.

Always adopt a fast and vigorous rub down with your towel after showering?

Harsh rubbing will aggravate existing dry or sensitive skin (particularly if you suffer from eczema) as well as completely take out any moisture your skin might have obtained from the shower.

"A lot of people say 'Oh, you need to make sure you dry yourself completely, but I think you can just drip dry. Dry between your toes obviously, but when you've still got a bit of moisture on you it's a good thing to keep as much as possible," says Dr Koh.

3. Not moisturising straight away.

We all moisturise our skin daily *cough* but apparently, this isn't enough to prevent dryness.

"You should moisturise while you're still wet so you can keep some of that moisture in the skin rather than let it evaporate," she says.

"You'll find it makes your moisturiser go on more easily and it feels better patting it down rather than ripping of all your skin with the towel."

So smooth, so silky you'll probably want to show them off. All the time.

4. Using too much soap.

If you've got eczema, Dr Koh thinks you should stay well away from anything that has lather like bubble bath. The rest of us can also benefit from swapping out super soapy products for something oil-based.

This is because an ingredient in some soaps called surfactant attracts both oil and water. While it cleans the dirt and oil off your body it also removes the natural oils from your skin, leaving it dry and rough.

"Soapy products just strip the skin of natural oils and you don't want that if you've got dry skin. Use an oil-based wash, there are plenty around that are inexpensive."

How many of these are you doing?

Image: iStock.