We all love a hot shower at the end of a long day, but even though it feels nice, hot water is not our skin’s best friend. While hot steam helps open up our pores, which can be good for cleansing, overall, hot water is extremely drying. In an article for Women’s Health, Sejal Shah, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City, explained that “hot water strips the skin of its natural oils leading to dry, itchy skin.” So what is the best shower temperature for your skin?
Over time, repeated use of hot water can even cause conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff. High heat also causes a drop in blood pressure, which, if too extreme, can lead to lightheadedness. Alternatively, cool water has many health benefits as it closes pores and the cuticles of your hair, which helps retain moisture and creates shinier hair and suppler skin.
Not too hot, not too cold
So how hot is too hot? Well, there is no set number, but most doctors advise keeping the temperature under 105 degrees (41 degrees Celsius). The best way to judge is to simply pay attention to your skin. If it becomes red or flushed, the temperature is probably too high. You want to go for tepid or lukewarm temperatures to ensure your skin doesn’t lose any moisture and to avoid causing any damage to your skin’s acid mantle.
Lower it a few days a week
Still, love your hot showers and can’t bear to give them up? Even lowering the temperature a few days a week can make a big difference in the health of your skin, helping it stay more hydrated and balanced. Also, be sure to moisturize directly after a long bath or shower to replenish the natural oils you have scrubbed or steamed off and to lock in the moisture still on your damp skin. If you want to open up your pores every once and a while to get a deep clean, try making a simple steam bath for just your face.