When it comes to guilty pleasures, we’ll take a hot bath without hesitation. Call us predictable or boring but there’s nothing like a soothing soak and pruney skin to turn those ‘ughs’ to ‘ahhhs.’ Which is why our day was well and truly dampened when we realised we’d been doing ourselves a major disservice – at least, that is, according to Dr Stacy Chimento, a board certified dermatologist of Riverchase Dermatology.
“There are some basics when it comes to taking a bath that people should know to make sure they aren’t damaging their skin without meaning to,” she recently told Well & Good.
The first big no-no? Having the temp too high.
“Hot water can be abrasive, stripping the skin of its natural oils, which leaves it dehydrated and dull-looking,” Dr. Chimento said. “If you get the water on your face as well, this can cause acne flare-ups, breakouts, and skin irritation.” The ideal range is between 37 and 43C°, which is warm but not uncomfortably steamy.
Dr. Chimento says the ideal temperature for a bath is between 37 and 43 degrees, so which is warm but not uncomfortably hot. “If the water is too hot, the outer layer begins to break down, allowing the entry of bacteria and toxins and drawing out moisture.”
Cutting back on the time you’re spending sitting and stewing is important too (Dr. Chimento recommends no longer than 15 minutes to eliminate any risk of inflammation.) And careful shaving before-hand as this “opens your pores sometimes creates little nicks in the skin” which can allow germs and bacteria from the water to sneak in.
Essential oils are another hard pass (sorry!) “Essential oils should never be mixed with water, as they won’t dilute,” Dr. Chimento said. “While essential oils are rich in antioxidants and antibacterial ingredients beneficial for the skin, most of them include fragrance ingredients that can significantly irritate the skin.” Her tip for a nice-smelling and nourishing soak? Mixing said essential oils with aloe vera and oats (think of it like a home-made scrub minus any harsh abrasives.)
“Immediately following your bath, moisturise your skin while it’s still slightly damp to seal in moisture,” Dr. Chimento concluded. “You can do this with any lotion or body oil.” Noted.
Main image: @bellahadid
What’s your go-to self-care practice?