We take great pride in our personal hygiene. As a matter of fact, our personal hygiene habits have become a part of our beauty routine for many of us. For that reason, it sounds like a silly question to ask if you know how to shower? Of course, you do, right? But, do you?
As it turns out, many of our showering behaviors are not that great for our beauty! Some of our shower habits are counter-productive to a well-developed beauty routine! Let’s look.
Do you Love Taking Long, Crazy-Hot Showers?
Of course, you do! Who doesn’t. No matter where you live, a nice long hot shower sounds great. Especially if you live in the colder climates. You come in out of the cold, and nothing feels better than a long, hot shower.
You are probably thinking, what can possibly be wrong with a hot shower. As it turns out, if you have dry skin, taking a long, hot shower is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. Hot showers may also cause damage to your hair.
Hot showers and baths disrupt the normal moisture balance of our skin by stripping away natural oils and fats. Our skin needs those oils, which act as a barrier to prevent moisture from escaping. Very hot showers can also damage the skin cells to the point that tiny tears may develop. These tiny tears cause the itching and scaling associated with dry skin.
Similarly, hot water is also damaging to hair and scalp. Again, you are stripping natural oils from both with water that is too hot. Stripping your hair of natural oils can lead to brittle hair that may break off. Dry scalp is not only irritating but may also cause damage to the hair follicles.
So, What is a Person to Do?
There are things you can do to prevent the damaging impacts of water that is too hot – but you aren’t going to like all of them. As I’m sure you already suspect, the list includes:
- turning down the temperature of the water so it is just slightly above body temperature
- spend less time in the shower
- use moisturizing cleansers, shampoos and conditioners, and
- apply moisturizer after your shower
Do you Use Those Wonderfully Scented Bath Products as Part of Your Personal Hygiene?
You are going to hate me. It turns out some scented products are down-right toxic.
I have long suspected this, but my research for this article pretty much verified my theory. For as long as I can remember, I’ve experienced a sudden onset headache if I am near someone who is wearing too much fragrance. Even if I like the scent, I will still get a bad headache from it.
According to Ginger Downey, a Certified Nutrition Specialist, in an article she wrote for Bottom Line, Inc., manufacturers are not required to disclose the ingredients included on items labeled as “fragrance”. So, we don’t even know what chemicals we are exposed to.
Studies have shown the chemicals used in fragrances may trigger headaches, asthma, wheezing, respiratory issues and watery eyes. Whew!
What Can You do if You Love Your Scented Products?
There are things you can do to eliminate you and your family’s exposure to these substances without having to completely give up your scented products.
First and foremost, eliminate the problem. Stop buying products that indicate “fragrance” or “parfum” on their label. These includes your personal hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc. By the way, you may also consider eliminating scented products from your home all-together. Again, if it’s fragranced, you may not know what that smell is.
On the positive side, you can use essential oils and natural botanical ingredients in lower quantities to get you scent fix. Just be wise about it – read labels carefully to ensure the scents in the products come from a natural source.
I, for one, am ecstatic about this. I’ve always wondered why I don’t get headaches from essential oils. Now I know!
What About Your Loofah?
Here I go again! What can possibly be wrong with a loofah you ask. In a word, bacteria. Yuck!
Natural loofah is a fibrous plant, in the cucumber family, that is used to scrub off dead skin cells. It works great for exfoliation.
Here is the problem. Most of us use our loofah to scrub all over our bodies to eliminate dead skin cells. When we finish our showers, at best we may soap up and rinse off the loofah, then hang it in the shower to dry. So, we have a fibrous loofah, with lots of little nooks and crannies for dead skin cells, etc. to hide in, and a wet shower filled with bacteria. What could possibly go wrong?
Exasperating the problem even further is the fact the loofah never fully has time to dry in the shower.
What Do You Do?
Once again, you are not without options. However, be mindful of what you are doing.
- If you use a loofah, wash it with soap after every use, then remove it from the shower so it can dry completely
- Occasionally microwave natural (not mesh) loofahs for at least 20 seconds
- At least once a week, soak it in a mixture of diluted bleach for 5 minutes then rinse well
- Replace the loofah if you notice any odors or discoloration