Dermatologists (doctors who specialize in skin care) answer the most common questions about showering:
- How often? There is no rule on how often you should shower- this depends on how active you are. If you are not very active and your skin is dry, you might decide to shower 2-3 times a week. But if you are playing sports or working out and tend to sweat a lot, you’ll likely need to shower daily. If you need to shower more than once a day (once in a while) keep your showers short.
- How long? Spending too much time in the shower isn’t good for your skin. Too much time exposed to water can cause dry skin and hair. Try to keep your shower to about 5 minutes or until you are able to lather up, and rinse.
- How hot? Skin doctors actually recommend warm or cool water instead of hot water because hot water removes the natural oils on a person’s skin causing dryness.
- How often should I wash my hair? Most people wash their hair too often. You don’t have to wash your hair every time you shower but this will depend on your hair type. If you hair tends to be oily, you may need to wash your hair more often than someone who has dry hair.
- What kind of soap or products should I use? If your skin tends to be dry, it’s best to use a soap or body wash with moisturizer. If your skin isn’t dry, regular soap (your choice) and water is fine.
- What should I wash first? Wash from top to bottom. This will allow the soap to rinse off your skin. Focus on the parts of your body that need it the most such as under your arms, breasts, vulva and feet. Be sure to wash in between skin folds and between your toes. Never put soap or lather inside your vagina as this can cause irritation—your vagina cleanses itself naturally. If you plan to wash your hair, do that first, and then wash your body. If you have acne, make sure that all the shampoo and conditioner gets rinsed away. If you like to shave your legs in the shower, do this last.
- How should I dry myself off? Gently pat yourself dry. Rubbing hard may cause irritation, dryness and/or itchiness of your skin.
- Should I use lotion after I shower? If you use lotion, its best to use a moisturizer that is fragrance-free. Apply it to your skin 2-3 minutes after showering while your skin is still moist.