Washing your body with soap is one of the most habitual parts of your day. Soap helps keep your body clean and scrubs away toxins—it’s the foundation for our health and social interactions. And even though it’s something you practice daily, there are ways to make the most out of your bath time ritual.
A hot shower sounds nice in theory, especially on a cold morning or after a hard day’s work. However, the heat could be harming your skin. The Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests your water heater’s maximum temperature should be set to no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. FYI, that’s really hot. Ten minutes of exposure to water temps that high could result in third degree burns. If your skin turns bright red post-shower, that’s a surefire sign to turn it down.
Instead, try first warming your shower up for a few seconds to create steam which is said to help relieve feelings of muscle tension and congestion. As your shower continues, make your way towards a more tepid temperature. With less direct heat, see if you notice your skin is softer and more hydrated.
Speed it up
Did you know that, according to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, the average American shower is about 8.2 minutes long, using about 17.2 gallons of water at an average of 2.1 gallons per minute? All that water wasted for nothing but #ShowerThoughts.
Save water and take a shorter shower. One way to reduce shower time is by turning your water off while shampooing and soaping up. This could reduce your shower water usage down to five minutes long, potentially saving gallons more H2O. Feeling dauntless? Do as the soldiers do and try what’s known as a “navy shower.” This uses the same method of turning water off while lathering up with soap, but the soldiers are trained to keep the total time of water flow to under two minutes. Roger that.
Keep it clean
When lathering up, your soap suds should be rich and inviting. If you’re noticing an overpowering amount of bubbles, this could be synthetic surfactants at work. Surfactants are chemicals (surface active agents) found in soaps that break the tension between oil and water to help release and remove dirt. They often have emulsifying effects to produce a frothy lather.
However, many conventional soaps employ synthetic surfactants, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), often said to irritate skin, to get the job done quickly. Try cleaning your body with safe, natural soaps that are free from synthetic detergents and foaming agents.
Don’t forget that you bathe so you can “freshen up,” meaning you’re not just ridding your skin of the daily dirt it collects, but you’re exuding a refreshed odor when you leave the shower as well. Wash your body with cleaner ingredients, such as natural soaps made without artificial fragrances or dyes, to feel thoroughly revived.
Naturally, please. No one wants to scrub their skin with particles like plastic. And even though plastic microbeads were outlawed in the manufacturing and sales of cosmetics with the passing of the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, sometimes you can still find them on shelves. 😕
Your skin will thank you if you use plant-derived exfoliants such as citrus peel or fine sand. Your body sheds dead skin cells every day, so using a hand-held bar soap containing natural exfoliants is said to consistently renew your skin and rid it of the dead cells. Exfoliating is also said to stimulate cell production, which could lead to firmer skin.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so treat it kindly. Aggressively drying off with a towel post-shower may cause friction and irritate your skin. Plus, all that moisture you just enriched your skin with could be wiped off if you use your towel with too much force. Be nice and use your towel to gently pat your body dry.