Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Are You Giving Yourself Dry Skin?

I'm a bath girl. Always have been. As a child, a shower was traumatic for me!  Shampoo burning my eyes.  Water constantly dripping in my face.  Tiny little water droplets teasing me with their warmth, but never really helping to warm me up on a chilly night. But baths--quite the opposite. You get to sit down. No water constantly spraying in your eyes. You can warm up every part of your cold, cold body. Plus, you get floating toys!

So, it was a habit that I continued from childhood.  9.5 out of 10 times I choose a bath over a shower!  But, the other night I was in a hurry and had to take a shower. It was chilly in the house, so I turned up the heat in the shower, got all clean, and got out.  As soon as I got out, it felt like my skin was tightening up. Soon I felt itchy and so so dry and my skin was red all over! This was weird--I don't typically get dry skin. Was I having some kind of reaction to something? Then I realized it--that darn shower! I wanted to get warmed up, so I overcompensated with the heat of the shower! It was almost a first-degree burn that I gave myself. 

So, I learned an important lesson: hot showers = dry skin!

With heat, your pores open up and you lose hydration.  Plus, the hot water strips your skin of vital oils that keep hydration in. If you have dry skin that seems to get drier in the winter, of course the dry air in your home heating system is one culprit.  But an overly-hot shower could be to blame. No matter how gentle your soap is, a shower that's too hot will strip your skin of moisture.

So, here are some tips for preventing that itchy, dry, tight-feeling winter skin!

Bathe Instead
Take a nice warm, but not too hot, bath.  While you soak, your skin will absorb some needed hydration.  You'll relax and because you'll actually get warm, you won't have to overheat your water. 

Using a bath salt with moisturizing oils can do wonders.  Our bath salts have a small but noticeable amount of oil that you'll notice totally softens your skin and creates a small lipid layer on your skin that will seal in the hydration you took on in the water.

Of course, there are times when you may not have time to bathe and just need to take a quick shower.  Make sure that you keep the water just barely above lukewarm.  

Look At Your Water
Hard water deposits turn in to soap scum on your skin, and that can lead to that dry, itchy feeling.  We're all about water softeners here.  But also, water filters.  Using a shower head filter that removes chlorine can work wonders for dry, irritated, or sensitive skin. 

Humidifier
Using a humidifier can help to compensate for the dry air running through your furnace.  More moisture in the air means more moisture for your skin!

Moisturizing
Of course, after showering or bathing, applying a rich, water-free body butter (like ours!) will help to hold in that hydration and moisturize your skin all day long.


Follow these tips and dry, itchy, flaky skin will be a thing of the past!


18 comments:

Katie said...

I think I have hard water, and I am going to look into water softeners. Are they safe? Not sure if they are just salts, or if there are some nasty chemicals involved. Since you said that you are all about them...I am assuming they are pretty safe :)

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Yep! They are safe and just use salt to remove the calcium deposits from your water. :)

Anonymous said...

As soon as I saw the title, I knew the answer was hot showers. I looove taking very hot showers in the winter, but I know I need to change my regimen because my skin has been very dry these past few weeks. I've been meaning to get a new humidifier. Do you have one that you love and recommend? I have one that uses a filter, but it gets so moldy quickly and the filters are not cheap. I've been looking at getting a filterless one like the GermGuardian ones.

Abbey said...

Best thing we ever did was install a bathroom vent heater. When we bought our old house there was an old one in the bathroom so when it broke I went searching to replace it. I'd never seen these out of hotel bathrooms so I didn't even know you could get them for your home. It warms the air in the bathroom so you don't turn the shower water temp up so air to compensate for the cold are around you in the shower. The room temperature really affects how warm you need to turn the water. Although the same is true with a bath if you have an old tub that isn't insulated. Old cast iron tubs remain very cold and will cool the water off very quickly. I run the water twice as hot as I want it when filling up the tub in the winter just to adjust for the cold tub.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Ah! I remember those old cold tubs that just sucked the heat right out of your water! The bathroom heater is a GREAT idea!

Angee said...

Do wet steam rooms dry out the skin too? I love to sit in the one at my gym and I use it to help me detox.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Anonymous: regarding humidifiers. I actually just bought one but haven't taken it out of the box. I'll let you know more details if I end up liking it! :)

Jonathan Wayne said...

I always thought that taking long baths can suck the moisture out of one's skin too? So even if the water is just above lukewarm its ok? You know that "wrinkly" or "spongy" skin one gets on the fingers after a long bath? Isn't that an indicator that the skin has lost a lot of moisture?

I would love to hear your opinion on this.

Great article. Thank you.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Nope! Wrinking in the bathtub isn't an indicator that you've lost moisture--in fact, quite the opposite. It's your dead skin cells absorbing moisture--all that moisture creates ripples in your skin. You can read more about it in this handy article: http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/information/anatomy/skin-wrinkly-in-water.htm :)

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Steam rooms shouldn't dry out your skin, but it's going to be dependent on the temperature of the room and the humidity. If you haven't noticed your skin being dry once you're out of the steam room, shouldn't be a problem!

Debbie said...

Do you have any recommendations on water softeners? There's not a whole lot of info I can find. Thanks!

Shelley said...

I like the idea of calcium in my water because it would be another mineral source for your body to drink in , correct ? It is a pain for deposits on my hardware though :( I have a whole house water filter

Anonymous said...

How do you wash your hair in the bath?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

I usually just wet and rinse my hair under the faucet.

Raquel Magana said...

Hey Stephanie I know I have hard water and I can smell the Chlorine strong in my shower at times. Can you recommend I good shower filter? I was looking some up but wasn't sure which to get and which are safe in the way that the chlorine is taken out or converted.

Anna from Natures Home Spa said...

This really makes sense to me. Now I understand why my hubby has such itchy skin in the evening after his shower, he comes out looking like a lobster he has it so hot. Great article, good insight, thanks.
Anna

Anonymous said...

Can you recommend a water softener? Living in an apartment makes finding one an extreme challenge. Thank you!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Yes! Check this out: http://www.watersticks.com/shower.htm