It's been a long and sweaty day, and you're already on your second shower. You felt icky after your morning walk, so decided to have a quick rinse, and now it's the end of the day and you're ready to get the rest of the day's grime off of you. As refreshing as a summer shower feels, taking multiple throughout the day can take a toll on your skin—unless you follow a few derm-approved rules.
"In general, more frequent showering can lead to dryness of the skin, as showering can strip the skin of its natural oils," says Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. "This can be especially important for those with dry or sensitive skin, but can impact all skin types."
We normally worry about drying out the skin in the winter, when humidity levels are low and indoor heaters dry out our skin. But, you still need to be mindful during the summer months and make sure you're taking care of your skin.
4 summer shower rules to follow for happy, healthy skin
1. Keep your showers short
As amazing as it can feel to just luxuriate in the shower, it's better for your skin to make it snappy "It is important to keep the shower duration short, approximately five to 10 minutes to minimize prolonged exposure to water which can be drying on the skin," says Dr. Garshick.
2. Avoid hot water
This one shouldn't be too hard to follow in the summer, but make sure you're not taking hot showers, which are more drying to the skin than warm or cool showers. The good news is that the benefits cold showers offer for your skin go beyond simply keeping you cool.
“When cold water hits your skin, the body increases blood flow to maintain the core temperature to protect vital organs, while constricting circulation near the skin,” board-certified dermatologist Michele Green, MD, previously told Well+Good. Plus, cold water can help relieve itchiness, decrease inflammation, and tighten pores, which will leave your skin looking healthier the minute you step out from under the stream.
2. Use a gentle cleanser
Even though your skin may feel super gross on a hot day, you don't need to go in with strong soap to clear away all that sweat and dirt. Because soap has a higher pH than your skin does, it can strip your complexion of natural oils and lipids and leave it feeling dry and irritated.
To avoid this, Dr. Garshick suggests washing with a gentle, non-soap cleanser. "Using gentle cleansers or bars such as the Dove Beauty Bar can help to nourish the skin and minimize potential irritation and dryness that can occur with harsh soaps or abrasive scrubs," she says.
3. Pat dry
"To help retain as much moisture as possible, it is best to pat dry as opposed to vigorously rubbing," says Dr. Garshick. Or, steal a page from board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD's playbook and skip towel-drying altogether—simply toss on a plush bathrobe and let it absorb the excess water, instead.
4. Apply moisturizer
Finally, make sure to add moisture back into your skin with lotion. "Apply a layer of moisturizer such as the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream ($18)," says Dr. Garshick. "It is important to still remember to moisturize, even in the summer months to help support the moisture barrier and lock moisture in."
Watch this derm share her shower routine:
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