Lather, rinse and repeat. While these may have been the words our mother taught us for our time in the tub, it may not be as simple as that. Simple mistakes we didn't even know we were making could be the cause of dry, irritated skin. We caught up with Dr. Monika Kiripolsky of the Obagi Skin Health Institute who brought us back to our youth, with yes, a lesson in how to shower. Here she lays down five mistakes and how to avoid them.
Washing Your Hair Last "Always wash and condition your hair before washing your face in the shower or bath," says Dr. Kiripolsky. "Shampoos and conditioners can contain ingredients that can cause acne flares. Washing your face after you finish with your hair is a simple way to prevent this."
Skipping the Loofah Cleaning "Avoid the use of loofahs…unless you throw them into the washing machine and clean them between each bath/shower (and who has time to do that?)." Because loofahs are moist and warm, they are the perfect environment for bacteria growth. "When you then rub them on your skin, you create tiny 'micro tears' on the skin—these serve as easy entry points for bacteria, which then lead to skin infections." So skip the loofahs, and use a product with exfoliating ingredients to remove any bacteria, recommends Dr. Kiripolsky.
Cranking the Heat Up High temperature water actually weakens the skin barrier and dries out the skin. "So, on those cold, wintery days, take a lukewarm shower," says Dr. Kiripolsky. "Pat your skin dry with a towel and then apply a rich moisturizing lotion (like ZO's Body Emulsion) that will "lock in hydration for your skin."
Cleansing Right After Shaving Give yourself a few minutes in between shaving and exposing the skin to water and cleanser. "You are more likely to get ingrown hairs if shaving your legs is the first thing you do in the shower. This is because those hairs are relatively coarse and haven't yet softened a bit as they do when in contact with the cleanser/water." Another ingrown hair culprit—dull razors. "Make sure your razor is not dull or has rust on the sides of the individual blades."
Washing Too Often The debate on how often to wash your hair has been going on for years. Washing too often strips the hair of its natural oils. The same goes for washing your body. Keep scrubs to a minimum—a few times a week—as they too can scrub away the skin's natural oils as well as good bacteria on the epidermis. Another time too much of a good thing is bad—with your moisturizer. "Putting on moisturizer actually weakens your skin—your body senses the moisture on the skin's surface and therefore stops producing moisture from within."
Replenish the skin back to its natural moisture level by adding these body washes to your routine. Now get shopping.