This skin expert says you've got your showering technique all wrong

A skin expert has revealed how the UK’s showering habits aren’t scrubbing up – from completely missing parts of the body such as ears, toes, and legs to using too much product.

Dermatologist Dr Alia Ahmed has recommended 10 showering habits for better skin health and appearance, including thoroughly washing off all products, avoiding those with irritating ingredients like alcohol as well choosing warm rather than hot water.

It follows research of 2,000 adults which revealed 56 per cent prefer hot or ‘boiling’ showers, with 70 per cent cranking up the heat at this time of year. However, the dermatologist explained that although it can be tempting to turn up the temperature when cold, it can be irritating and exacerbate already dry and itchy skin.

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Dr Ahmed, who has teamed up with Dove to launch its new collection of body washes, including their Deeply Nourishing Body Wash, said: “Using hot water causes dilation of blood vessels, as the skin wants to cool down, which promotes inflammation and itch.

“Shorter showers are better, as the skin pays for the indulgence of a longer shower, especially in hard water areas - I recommend five minutes where possible. Repeated exposure to hard water can cause build up on the skin, which can lead to dryness and irritation through skin barrier dysfunction.”

According to the study, adults are spending twice as long under the water than they should be at an average of 10 minutes, with 41 per cent saying they’d go for longer if they had the time. 

It also emerged one in 10 always double cleanse with body wash rather than just once, with 85 per cent liking the ‘squeaky clean’ feeling when they get out of the shower. To experience this, 52 per cent make sure the product lathers up nicely and 35 per cent use a sponge or flannel to access the ‘hard to reach’ areas.

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Although Dr Ahmed said: “There is no definite need to double-cleanse after a shower. The squeaky-clean feeling, although desired by many because it feels more ‘hygienic’, is not necessary for your skin to be clean and actually could be a sign the products you’re using are actually drying your skin. Lather doesn’t mean cleaner skin and hands are more effective than flannels, as they can pick up a lot of germs if not washed regularly.”

It also emerged 56 per cent of adults polled via OnePoll experience dry skin after standing under the water – although 35 per cent are unlikely to moisturise.

Dr Alia Ahmed suggests looking for a moisture boosting body wash, adding a cool blast of water at the end to smooth hair cuticles and tailoring your product choices to your skin and hair type.

Top 10 simple ways to improve your shower habits

  1. Use your hands to wash instead of a flannel
  2. Always wash extremities like ears, toes and legs
  3. Aim to shower once a day
  4. Make sure you wash your products off properly
  5. Don’t turn up the heat too much
  6. …but similarly, don’t force yourself to have a freezing shower
  7. No need to double cleanse if you’re using a suitably moisturising body wash
  8. Use a 50p size dollop of product
  9. Wash your face at the sink after your shower with lukewarm water as it’s easier on the skin
  10. Pick products that nourish the skin, rather than strip it
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