Showering with warm or hot water keeps our skin fresh and clean, and is an integral part of normal hygiene and our self-care routines.
Pouring water over our body provides the skin with instant hydration. But if you dry yourself off and your skin suddenly feels dry and/or itchy, then you know that something is wrong.
Many wonder: why is my skin dry after a shower? I’ve surveyed the experts, and have an explanation and some tips to ensure your skin doesn’t dry out too much after bathing.
Why Is My Skin Dry After A Shower?
Aesthetician Kirstie Reese gives us the most significant factors that can lead to dry skin after a shower.
She says that “many factors play into dry skin. For example, diet (not enough omega fatty acids for skin lubrication), water that’s too hot or not filtered, body-care products that are stripping the skin’s natural moisture barrier, soaps that contain too much fragrance, etc.” can all play a part.
Dr. Enrizza Factor adds another: “forgetting to moisturize after getting out of the shower.”
Those of us living in cold climates, and those who naturally have dry, flaky skin, can find the shower strips moisture away. Dr. Factor explains that “dry skin occurs when skin doesn’t retain sufficient moisture. This can happen as a result of frequent bathing, the use of harsh soaps, aging, or certain medical conditions. And for those in colder climates, it can stem from the cold, dry winter air.”
Water That’s Too Hot
Most of us love taking a long, glorious, hot shower when we wake up in the morning to start the day. It feels good to clean off any sweat or dirt that has accumulated while you sleep, but also because it’s a great way to wake your body up.
However, taking a hot shower can leave your skin feeling itchy and dry instead of hydrated and soft, like you would expect it to be.
Dr. Factor explains that “When a person takes a hot shower, the soap and water strip away the skin’s oils, which can cause the skin to feel tight and itchy. We hate to be party poopers, but long, hot showers really are the enemy of healthy, hydrated skin. Drawing out precious moisture and washing away natural oils, hot water can leave the skin dry or dehydrated. In turn, this can lead to irritation,
itching, and tight, uncomfortable sensations.”
Long, hot showers really are the enemy of healthy, hydrated skin.Dr. Enrizza Factor
Hard Water or Unfiltered Water
The dryness can be made even worse if you’ve got hard water in your area. Hard water contains minerals like calcium that can change your skin’s normal pH balance.
If you live in a hard water area (and 85% of homes in the US are), then the water that you use to shower will have a detrimental effect on your skin, as well as your hair, even if you’re not noticing it now.
Hard water contains deposits like limestone, which can also leave crusty deposits on faucets, and damage plumbing and washing machines.
As Dr. Factor explains, “limestone found in water is especially harmful to the hydrolipidic film and can cause or aggravate skin dryness. Nearly invisible, limestone is deposited onto the skin in the form of small crystals, which ultimately absorb the epidermis’s natural moisture and cause that ‘rough skin’ feel.”
When the pH balance of your skin is disrupted, and calcium and magnesium buildup sit on the skin’s surface, then it will become aggravated. Conditions like rashes, eczema, peeling, psoriasis, and dandruff will flourish, leaving the skin prone to irritation.
Hot water also draws moisture out of your skin. It strips the skin of the natural oils that sit on the top layer which provides a protective barrier. When your skin’s barrier fails, your skin is more vulnerable to peeling and flaking, itchiness and dryness.
The Wrong Body Wash or Soap
It could also be the case that the body wash or soap that you use has chemicals that react with hard water. Using products like these, in combination with the effects of hard water, will strip your body’s natural oils, and leave the skin prone to infection from any dryness and cracking.
Chemicals like sulfates, phthalates, and parabens are known to cause skin irritation. And the added dryness from a hot shower just means you won’t be doing your skin any favors.
Esthetician Elina Fedotova suggests we skip the soap altogether, especially in the winter months. She says that “instead of soap, you can use an oil-based sugar or sea salt scrub on the body. Also, you can use butter-based polishing masks, preferably with probiotics, because [they] will help your skin’s microbiome, which is essentially important for protective functions on your skin.”
Finally, if you’re on medication like diuretics, laxatives, Excedrin, statins, or chemotherapy, then this could be a reason why your skin is dry after taking a shower.
If this is the case, then you will need to speak to your healthcare provider about your situation, although using one of the recommendations discussed below can help and won’t affect your prescribed medication.
So, although hot showers feel really good, if you are prone to having sensitive skin or have any of these above conditions, then you’ll need to consider changing a few things up.
How To Stop Dry Skin After A Shower
Luckily, it is possible to enjoy a hot shower if you live in a hard water area without having to deal with dry and itchy skin as a result. Kirstie Reese says we should call the plumber! She explains that “a shower filter or water filter for the whole house is highly necessary for skin that’s sensitive! Hard water is no joke.”
A shower filter or water filter for the whole house is highly necessary for skin that’s sensitive! Hard water is no joke.Aesthetician Kirstie Reese
Filtered Shower Head
The STHOEO Filtered Shower Head is a high-pressure replacement shower head that will soften hard water, as well as filter other harsh chemicals out, including chlorine, fluorine, heavy metals, and other nasty deposits found in tap water.
This shower filter is made from advanced filter materials that will transform your shower water to make it super soft, and even stop mineral and scale buildup on shower or bathtub surfaces.
It also has five spray modes — Eco, Water Saving, Massage, Rain, and Massage/Rain. It also offers a 360° adjustable and self-cleaning silicone nozzle, so you can enjoy your hot shower while keeping your skin hydrated and healthy.
Just don’t make the hot shower too lengthy!
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Better Body Wash
If replacing your shower head isn’t an option, then you have the choice to change your body wash to help your skin stay hydrated after a shower.
One such product is Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Body Wash, which will clean your skin while leaving it well moisturized, even if you live in a hard water area.
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Body Wash contains soothing skin ingredients like aloe vera gel, flaxseed oil, olive oil, and essential oils like bergamot, is biodegradable, and comes in three fragrances that will leave your skin feeling soft from this delicate foam cleanse.
- Moisturizing body wash leaves skin...
- Dermatologically tested
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Once you’re out of the shower, you really need to apply moisturizer cream or lotion. Dr. Factor explains that “ointments, creams, and lotions (moisturizers) work by trapping existing moisture in your skin. To trap this much-needed moisture, you need to apply a moisturizer within a few minutes of drying off after a shower or bath.”
As Elina Fedtova says, “make sure that after the shower, you apply a very moisturizing cream or lotion which contains oils, butters, and phospholipids, which can seal the moisture in the skin to restore some stripped lipids from the skin and prevent trans epidermal water loss from the skin.”
You can try a product like Gold Bond Radiance Renewal Lotion and Cream , which has been specially formulated for visibly dry skin.
This hydrating skin lotion contains moisturizing coconut oil, African shea butter, and cocoa butter, which work in combination to help your skin not only to seal in moisture but also to retain it as well.
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- African shea butter, coconut oil and...
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#Slugging burst from TikTok not long ago and has taken the skincare world by storm. Slugging involves coating the skin in petroleum jelly like Aquaphor before bed. The jelly seals in the moisture that is present on the skin, which makes you wake up with glowing, fresh skin.
As Kirstie Reese explains, “my all-time favorite is Aquaphor right after the shower before bed, because it really helps to seal in moisture and create a barrier on the skin!”
Keeping your skin hydrated after a shower is easy enough, even if you live in a dry area with hard water.
- Don’t let the shower get too hot
- Consider a filter if you’ve got hard water
- Make sure the soap/scrub you use isn’t too harsh
- Moisturize after your shower
- Consider slugging