If you’re anything like me or untold millions of others on planet Earth, the shower is where you do your cleaning. Sure, you wash your hands throughout the day (right?!?!?) but other than that, the shower is where you do the most work. You scrub up and rinse off and you’re good to go for another day (or two, if you’re feeling lazy). Unfortunately, cleaning your entire body in the shower might not be ideal.
It’s not that cleaning up in the shower is bad, it’s just that when it comes to your face, the shower is probably not a great place to focus on cleaning. But what exactly is the problem? According to doctors that spoke with Marie Claire and The Daily Mail, it’s the temperature of the water that makes the biggest difference.
The skin on your face can be particularly sensitive. It’s not the same as the skin on your arms and legs, and if you’ve ever had issues with acne or other facial skin problems you know that you can have a breakout on your face and the rest of your body remains clear. There are a lot of reasons why this happens, from environmental factors to how often you touch your face, but when it comes to cleaning, the experts say that washing your face in the hot (or sometimes scalding) shower can do way more harm than good.
Particularly hot water, like the kind so many of us enjoy when we’re climbing into the shower, can wreak havoc on the sensitive skin of our faces. It can lead to short-term and long-term damage, including broken or dilated blood vessels which can change the appearance of the skin and even make it appear to age faster than normal.
“Facial skin, like all skin, can become too dry if there is too much contact with water,” Hadley King, MD, told Marie Claire. “Therefore, a general rule of thumb for showering is to make it not too long, not too hot, and not too frequent. If the warmth is limited to lukewarm, then the risk of dilating capillaries is minimized.”
Cleaning your face with hot water can also strip it of oils that are essential to its health. We all tend to associate an “oily” face with being dirty, but there’s a certain amount of natural oil that helps the skin remain soft and healthy. The better idea is to save face cleaning for when you’re out of the shower, using lukewarm or even slightly cool water to wash and rinse your face with a gentle cleanser.