Here are seven showering habits that you should ditch:
Facing the showerhead when you turn on the shower
Biofilms of pathogenic bacteria could be clinging to the inside of your shower head, according to research from the University of Colorado. So, if you are getting a face full of water when you turn the shower on, you’re probably getting sprayed with a high load of Mycobacterium avium, or M. avium. The bacteria likely won’t cause much harm if you’ve got a healthy immune system. But pregnant women, the elderly and individuals who are fighting off disease are more prone to symptoms caused by M. avium. Those symptoms could include tiredness, a persistent, dry cough, shortness of breath and weakness, according to CU researchers. What they’re getting at? Your shower could be making you feel sick.
Using a plastic shower head
It might be time to invest in a metal shower head. The research from CU about bacteria in shower heads also found that plastic shower heads harbor more germs than metal alternatives.
Taking really hot showers
Guilty of turning that handle all the way to “H”? Those super-hot showers can be irritating your skin, according to dermatologists at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Hot showers and baths can inflame skin, causing redness, itching and even peeling much like a sunburn. Beyond that, too hot of showers can throw off your skin’s natural balance of moisture, and suck you dry of oils, fats and proteins that promote skin health. Try taking lukewarm or cool showers a few times a week, the experts suggest. You don’t want your skin to be red by the end.
Taking long showers
While there are no recommendations for exactly how long you should stay in the shower, you definitely want to hop out before your skin becomes wrinkled like a prune, according to the experts at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Again, this comes down to protecting the natural balance of moisture in your skin.
If you’re taking a shower every day, you’re overdoing it. “I think most people over-bathe,” Dr. C. Brandon Mitchell, assistant professor of dermatology at George Washington University, told Time. Beyond stripping your skin of moisture, you could be preventing your skin from creating good bacteria that supports your immune system. From a health perspective, Mitchell told Time, you only need to shower once or twice per week. Of course, from a hygiene perspective, you’ll probably want to up the frequency.
Sorry to break it to you, but your loofah is probably brimming with bacteria. They’ve got lots of nooks and crannies and are porous and stay damp, which is the perfect formula for breeding bacteria, the Cleveland Clinic explains. If that doesn’t dissuade you from using them, follow a few tips courtesy of the Cleveland Clinic.
- Dry your loofah after each use.
- Avoid using it a few days after a fresh shave. You don’t want the bacteria getting in any nicks left behind from your blade.
- Never use it on your face or genital area because those areas are sensitive to infection.
- Clean your loofah weekly by soaking it in a diluted bleach solution for five minutes and then rinse thoroughly. Replace your natural loofahs every three to four weeks and your plastic ones every month or two. If you notice a musty odor or see mold growing on it, toss it.
Washing your hair daily
Just like your skin, your hair has a natural balance. When you wash your hair on a daily basis, you’re stripping it of its natural oils that keep your locks hydrated. Washing too much can especially be bad if you’ve got color-treated hair or dry hair. If you’ve got a scalp that tends to get greasy and can’t imagine skipping a wash, try a dry shampoo at your roots to absorb some of the excess oil.
So, will you be changing anything about your shower routine?