5 Shower Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Skin

Keep these tips in mind during your morning routine.

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You don’t have to give up steamy showers entirely. To get the same soothing effect, Dr. Piliang recommends letting the steam build up before you step under the water. “First turn on your shower as hot as you want it,” she explains. “Let it get nice and steamy and warm in there, and after it’s all heated up, turn it down to a comfortable temperature and then get in.” This way you can enjoy the heat without irritating your skin.

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quicklist: 2 category: 5 Shower Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Skin title: You’re using a harsh soap url: text: You may love that squeaky-clean feeling that comes from scouring your skin, but soaps with antibacterial agents or harsher detergents may be causing more harm than good.

That squeaky sensation happens when all of the natural oils have been stripped from the skin. In contrast, “when the oils are present, they act as a lubricant so your hand will slide smoothly over the skin,” says Dr. Piliang. Without that barrier, your skin is even more exposed to hot water, whipping winds, and other things that dry it out.

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quicklist: 4 category: 5 Shower Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Skin title: You’re not cleaning your razor url: text: Razors can collect bacteria from your skin, and can then breed more germs while sitting in a damp, dark shower. That’s why you must rinse it with scalding hot water before each use, says Sanford Vieder, MD, of Lakes Urgent Care in Michigan. Skipping this step can opening you up to infection, especially if you cut yourself, but even if you don’t.

“When you use the razor you can obviously nick yourself and give yourself a cut, but the razor is also going to make very microscopic tears in the skin that can be a portal of entry for bacteria or fungus,” adds Dr. Piliang. You should replace your razor blade completely about once a week. “If you use a dull blade you are at a greater risk of cutting your skin and creating an entryway for that bacteria to come in,” warns Dr. Vieder.

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“Athletes foot and warts can be picked up in public places,” warns Dr. Piliang. “Wearing shower shoes or flip flops on your feet when you’re in and out of the shower can help avoid these problems.”

This article originally appeared at Health.com.