Hot showers: Are they good for you? Doctors issue important health warning

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Everyone loves a hot shower or bath. It’s a nice way to relax and also offers some health benefits. According to one study, one hour of soaking in a hot bath burned as many calories as half an hour of walking. The same study found when participants took a hot bath, their peak blood sugar after eating was around 10 percent lower than when they exercised instead.

Hot showers can also provide relief from cold or respiratory symptoms, help with skin blemishes and aid sleep.

But hot showers can also have a negative impact on our health, particularly when it comes to our skin.

Cosmetic doctor Dr Rekha Tailor of Health & Aesthetics httpss://www.healthandaesthetics.co.uk told Express Health: “Shorter cooler showers are better for your skin, this is because using water that’s too hot can have a negative impact on the skin.

“Hot water causes damage to the keratin cells that are located on the outer layer of the skin, or epidermis.

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“Higher temperatures cause skin to dry out and aggravate skin conditions such as eczema, often resulting in red, itchy and dry skin.”

Dr Sasha Dhoat, consultant dermatologist at Stratum Clinics, added: “Avoid over-showering, or showering in water that is too hot, which can dry skin and cause inflammation.

“The top layer of the skin, the epidermis, has the vital function of the skins’ barrier; your body’s first defence to the outside world.

“You can think of this a brick wall, preventing moisture loss and keeping out external aggressors, such as chemical irritants and infections.”

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Dr Dhoat also recommends showering for no more than 10 minutes.

“There is no magic number for optimal shower time but 5-10 minutes would be a good ball-park guide,” she said.

“For patients who have issues with their skin barrier anyway e.g., those that suffer from eczema, I would suggest the shortest time possible, get clean and get out. Longer than 15 minutes is overdoing it for anyone.”

Some other showering tips from Dr Dhoat: “Over-aggressive skin cleansing, or over-zealous exfoliation in a bid for glowing, clean skin is, in fact, an act of self-sabotage, damaging this brick wall.

“If your skin is red, flaky, dry or sensitise after washing, it’s pleading with you to dial down your routine.

“This will especially be the case if the skin’s brick wall may be already compromised, for example in ageing skin, ultraviolet light damage or skin disorders such as eczema.”

Dr Adam Friedmann of Stratum Clinics lists some other shower mistakes that might not be great for our skin:

1. Avoid irritants in the shower –  if your skin is starting to feel dry and itchy, swap your usual soap or shower gel for a mild soap substitute and fragrance-free, hypoallergenic products. Ordinary soaps and shower gels tend to remove the natural oils from the skin that keep it healthy.

2. Don’t skip the moisturiser after a shower – everyone should moisturise at least once a day to keep skin protected and hydrated. It is especially important if you have dry skin or a condition like eczema but using a non-comedogenic moisturiser is still important if you have greasy or spot-prone skin. After a shower, water evaporates off your skin quickly, which can leave your skin feeling dry, so moisturise when the skin is still slightly damp as moisturisers work best when skin is already hydrated

3. To keep the skin hydrated simply pat the skin dry after a shower rather than vigorously towelling off

4. Temperature control – any increase in temperature will normally increase blood flow to the surface of the skin and make everything look markedly redder. So, if you’ve noticed that your skin is very red after a shower, the temperature is too high. If you suffer with dry skin or skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, warm water is best as hot water can inflame the skin and make skin conditions worse. I’d also recommend avoiding hot showers after exercise as this sudden change in body temperature can lead to itching

5. Keep showers short as the skin can get irritated if kept in the water for too long

Published at Fri, 21 May 2021 03:01:00 +0000

Hot showers: Are they good for you? Doctors issue important health warning

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