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Hot Water Evaporation: Why Your Hot Shower May Cause Dry Skin

Bookmark and Share Posted on 04/26/2012

Clarisonic MiaA long, hot shower should leave a person feeling refreshed, right? Yet oftentimes a hot shower or bath results in extremely dry skin.

Itchy skin that feels tight and dehydrated is not uncommon after a long soak or shower. Although age, sun exposure, overall health and climate factor into this condition, there are also steps anyone can take to minimize dryness caused by hot water. For instance, daily gentle exfoliation with a Clarisonic Mia can remove dead skin cells and open up deeper layers of skin to accept moisturizer, which protects skin against dryness.

Read on to discover why a hot shower or bath can cause dry skin and to learn techniques for minimizing this effect.

Science behind Dry Skin: Hot Water, Evaporation and Sebum

Let’s step back to consider the biology of human skin before we consider why a hot shower may damage it. Skin is composed of several different layers of tissue. To protect and waterproof the skin, sebaceous glands all over the body produce sebum oil. Healthy, radiant skin contains adequate amounts of both sebum (in the inner layers) and moisture (in the outer layers).

Hot water strips skin of its natural oils. More oil is lost through evaporation. Add the fact that many skincare products are desiccating, and you’re stuck with bone-dry skin. Thank goodness for the preventive tips listed below. 

How to Avoid Dry Skin after Your Hot Shower

Take a shorter, cooler shower. Lukewarm water doesn’t cause as much drying. You can also limit parchedness by taking showers that are less than ten minutes in duration.

Proper toweling technique: Blot, don’t rub. Your towel can easily exacerbate dryness by wiping away the skin’s natural oils. Therefore, be tender in your drying method. Pat the towel against your skin; don’t rub it vigorously back and forth.

Avoid harsh cleansers – especially those that list sodium laurel sulphate as a main ingredient. This chemical strips skin of its natural lipids and damages the delicate outer layers of skin, causing a cracked, red appearance. In addition to selecting skin-friendly products, such as the Clarisonic skincare system, be sure to avoid scrubbing your skin too hard. If you literally apply that old adage to get your body “squeaky clean,” your skin will dry out and become irritated. Likewise, if you wash your face more than two or three times a day, dryness will follow.

Exfoliate gently. Exfoliation is an important aspect of skin care. It removes the dead skin cells that can clog sebaceous glands, leading to the formation of blemishes. However, overly zealous exfoliation removes the protective layer of skin and causes dryness and irritation. Therefore, your exfoliation routine should be gentle. At a minimum, exfoliate at least twice a week. If you use a gentle yet effective tool such as the Clarisonic Mia, you can exfoliate more frequently. The Clarisonic family of products whisks away dead skin cells via soft bristles, which are gentle enough to use every day. In contrast, microdermabrasion and other exfoliation techniques literally remove the top layer of skin, rather like sandpaper. If you’re already experiencing dry skin, such a harsh exfoliation techniques will only make things worse.

Apply moisturizer immediately following your shower. Water soaks deeply into your skin during a shower or bath; without moisturizer, it will escape just as quickly. Oil-based moisturizers are excellent. They quickly penetrate the deepest layers of skin to provide all-day moisture. Using a gentle daily exfoliator such as a Clarisonic Mia can help. These beauty tools allow moisturizers to penetrate more deeply.

Prevent sun damage, which increases dryness. Be sure to wear sunscreen whenever you venture outside.

Avoid talc-based makeup. Talc absorbs moisture and aggravates dryness. Mineral makeup is better for those who often experience dry skin.

Drink like a fish. Increased hydration will offset the dryness caused by your shower. Aim to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day. (A glass is defined as containing 8 ounces of water.)

Hot water feels fabulous on the skin, but it can actually cause painful, unsightly dryness. By getting into the habit of using a gentle invigorator or exfoliator, such as the Clarisonic system, while also following the other tips listed above, you can effectively offset the dryness caused by hot bathing water.

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