Turns out we’ve been taking baths wrong this whole time

Turns out we’ve been taking baths wrong this whole time

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? 

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Comments 52

  1. Haven’t had a bath in a very long time, unfortunately where I am living it only has a shower.

    If I ever get the chance to travel again I hope my Hotel Room will have a bath at least I can use there water. Some great Tips for having a bath the proper way.

  2. Sadly my bathroom is in pieces. It only has a working toilet. I do have an ensuite though but its the main bathroom that had the bath. The bath is sitting in my dining area waiting to be installed. Im trying to get the money together for that but its going to be a long way off so no baths for me.

  3. Haven’t had a bath since our last trip to Japan were onsens (hot springs) are popular. Quite often the temperature is way too hot for me. The only time I could enjoy one was when we could control the temperature in a private bath.

  4. recently moved into a place with a tub and i have been having a bath at least twice a week since. its soo good. bit of epsom salt or a bath bomb. Devine. – haha though im a positive after reading this that they have been too hot. haha skin peeling off too hot.

  5. I haven’t had a bath for years. I prefer showers for efficiency. If I do have a bath I add salt to the water to help relax the muscles and to keep bacteria at bay.

  6. I haven’t had a bath in years. I hate shallow baths it’s so the opposite of relaxing. Half if me is cosy whereas the other half I’m freezing my t!ts off.

    The last time I had a bath was in a hotel and I did get a little hot although I love my shower steaming.

  7. You are on my wavelength Love bug! I find it takes a little bit of planning and prep. I even like to give the bath a quick clean before I use it because my girls have all used it or worse, yikes, it gets dusty! (from lack of use!)

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