The 30-Second Hack You Should Be Using In The Shower, According To A Doctor

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For many of us, taking a long hot shower isn’t just about getting clean, it’s the only time of the day when no one can reach us to ask about that overdue work assignment or what’s for dinner or our car’s extended warranty.

But could our beloved shower time be wreaking havoc on our bodies?

That’s what we — Raj Punjabi and Noah Michelson, hosts of HuffPost’s “Am I Doing It Wrong?” podcast — asked Dr. Divya Shokeen, the founder of Ocean Skin & Vein Institute in Manhattan Beach, California, when she dropped by the studio to talk about all of the ways we might be showering wrong and how to do it better.

Listen to the full episode by pressing play:

“Should you be taking a hot shower? No. Ideally, you should be taking a cold one,” Dr. Shokeen told us.

“I actually went down a huge rabbit hole on PubMed, which is basically a scientific database that goes through all these articles, [and I found studies that show] a cold shower not only invigorates you more, it helps with hair follicles, it helps with hair growth, it helps with skin rejuvenation, with blood vessel dilation — it’s awesome for you.”

Hot water, on the other hand, can strip skin of its natural protective oils, fats and proteins, which can cause irritation, dryness and worsen eczema symptoms.

Since most of us can’t bear the thought of an icy shower, Dr. Shokeen recommends that we use warm water — not hot — and keep it short.

“Ideally [a shower should last] five minutes — five to 10 minutes. Anything longer … disrupts the mantle of your skin, which can cause more harm than good.”

Then, just before we’ve finished showering, she recommends turning down the water temperature.

“If you can tolerate it, [during] the last 30 seconds, make it cold.”

Following this chilly “30-second hack” can give us some of the benefits of cold water exposure without forcing us to suffer through an entirely frigid shower. However, some individuals with certain medical conditions, like heart issues, should never take a cold shower of any length, and it’s always a good idea to consult a medical professional before you make any health-related change to your daily routine.

Dr. Shokeen also noted that the cleansing tools we use in the shower, like loofahs and sponges, can damage our skin.

“100% — [only use your hands to clean],” she emphasized. “There’s no negotiation on that in terms of the medical studies, because anything that you’re doing with loofahs and sponges, again, it’s all about disruption of the mantle … you actually disrupt the top layer, which allows for more dehydration, and now you’re going to have to use more lotion to minimize that.”

We also chatted about why she never faces the showerhead, the one part of your body you can probably stop washing and much more.

Listen to the full episode above or wherever you get your podcasts.

Make sure to subscribe to “Am I Doing It Wrong?” so you don’t miss a single episode, including our investigations of the ins and outs of tipping, how to apologize or vanquish your credit card debt, how to find love online or overcome anxiety, tips for online shopping, taking care of your teeth and pooping like a pro, secrets to booking and staying in a hotel, how to deal with an angry person, cooking tips from celebrity chef Jet Tila, shocking laundry secrets, the tips and tricks for cleaner dishes, getting your best workout and more.

For more from Dr. Shokeen, visit the websites for her dermatology practice and her skin care line.

Need some help with something you’ve been doing wrong? Email us at [email protected], and we might investigate the topic in an upcoming episode.

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