Showering: Dermatologist recommends ways to keep skin healthy
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Showering provides numerous health benefits, the most obvious are those that affect the skin. Showering can cleanse and hydrate your skin and get rid of unwanted bacteria. However, what you do next after turning off the shower risks undoing some of that good work.
According to cosmetic doctor Dr Rekha Tailor of Health & Aesthetics, rubbing yourself dry with a towel is to be avoided.
“Resist the urge to rub your skin dry with a towel when you get out of the shower and try to blot it instead,” she advised.
Why? “Because this helps your skin to retain the moisture which it needs to stay healthy and hydrated.”
According to Dr Tailor, leaving skin damp is actually beneficial too because it helps the skin to absorb the ingredients in your products and gain the maximum benefit from them.
Another easy trap to fall into is showering with hot water.
Although hot showers can be soothing, they can produce unwanted effects on the body, warned Dr Tailor.
“Hot water causes damage to the keratin cells that are located on the outer layer of the skin, or epidermis,” she warned.
According to Dr Tailor, higher temperatures cause skin to dry out and aggravate skin conditions such as eczema, often resulting in red, itchy and dry skin.
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In fact, research points to the benefits of having a cold shower.
A study published in the journal PLoS One suggests it may have an immune-boosting effect.
The study sought to evaluate the role cold showers may play on sickness, quality of life and work productivity.
Between January and March 2015, 3,018 participants between 18 and 65 years of age without severe underlying health conditions and no routine experience of cold showering were randomised.
The participants were either randomised into cold showering for 30, 60, 90 seconds or a control group during 30 consecutive days followed by 60 days of showering cold at their own discretion.
Illness days and related sickness absence from work were recorded in the different groups.
Quality of life, work productivity, anxiety, thermal sensation and adverse reactions were also recorded.
By the end of the study, the researchers observed a 29 percent reduction in sickness absence for those following a cold shower regimen compared to the control group.
However, they did not find a difference between the people who took a cold shower for 30, 60, or 90 seconds.
This led them to conclude that cold water triggers the body’s immune system regardless of duration.
A routine cold shower resulted in a statistical reduction of self-reported sickness absence, the researchers concluded.
The results are not entirely surprising – cold bathing is believed to have multiple beneficial effects on health such as improvement of the immune system.
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