Skin-Care Tips

The One Thing a Dermatologist Says She Would Never, Ever Do in the Shower

Zoe Weiner

Photo: Getty Images/Flavio Coelho
When a dermatologist offers advice—whether it be about products they love, how to deal with pimples, or what not to do to your skin—you better believe I sit up and listen. So when Dr. Shereene Idriss, "The Pillowtalk Dermatologist," and my favorite Instagram follow, revealed the one place I should never, ever (ever, ever) use my loofah, I listened up. And let's just say that particular tool will now forever be relegated to the skin below my neck.

"I would never ever use a loofah on my face!" she told me after I slid into her DMs. Why? "Because it's abrasive, like a physical scrub, and I wouldn't want it to irritate or potentially scar, especially if I'm prone to breakouts." In general, derms tend to recommend physical exfoliants only to those with super sturdy skin. Because physical exfoliants literally chip away at the dead skin cells on top of our complexions, they can be too harsh for those with sensitivities, by compromising the barrier, which can in turn exacerbate dryness and redness. Many dermatologists agree that chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid or enzymes are the better option for those with more sensitive and dry complexions.

Beyond simply being too rough on skin, loofahs can also harbor loads of bacteria, which doesn't exactly make them great tools to use to clean your face. "People use it after washing their bottoms, and, who knows what you're transferring... just saying," says Dr. Idriss. Um, yeah—that's going to be a hard pass from me, TYVM.

A few other derm words of wisdom when it comes to your shower routine: For the sake of your skin, keep showers as short as possible (under 15 minutes) and no hotter than 86 degrees. And consider this your permission to skip a full-body shower every once in a while, as long as you're keeping those especially smelly areas feeling fresh and clean.

Want to hear the full rundown of what one dermatologist uses in the shower? Check out this video:

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