Why Shouldn’t You Wash Your Face In The Shower?

Medically reviewed by Dr. CP ThajudheenDr. CP Thajudheen, MD
By Arshiya SyedaArshiya Syeda  • 

To achieve healthy skin with no wrinkles, dry patches, and acne, you must follow a daily skin care regimen without any excuses. And the first step towards it should be washing your face. But should you wash your face in the shower? Though it sounds reasonable, it is not a good idea. Read this article to know why it is not advisable to wash your face in the shower and the correct way to wash it.

Is It Bad To Wash Your Face In The Shower?

Yes, washing your face in the shower can be bad for your skin. A lot of issues with this practice come down to temperature. Most of us bathe with hot water, which can damage our facial skin.

Since the skin on your face is more sensitive than the skin on the other body parts, the temperature matters. Washing your face in a hot shower opens the pores, enabling the cleansing products to get absorbed deep into the skin. This can strip the natural oils of your skin and cause dryness.

The warmth from hot water and steam might dilate and rupture sensitive blood capillaries in the skin. Also, the bacteria in the shower can increase the risk of skin infections. Although there is no scientific proof to back these claims, you must be careful while washing your face in the shower and never use very hot water to clean and scrub your face.

The next sections answer questions you may have about washing your face in the shower.

Should You Wash Your Face Before Or After Showering?

It is better to wash your face after you shower because it is impossible to shampoo your hair without it running down your face. Shampoo can block the pores on your face, leading to acne and breakouts. Hence, you should wait until you step out of the shower to wash and moisturize your face and maintain its natural oil and hydration levels.

If you practice a skin care regimen regularly and still do not notice the desirable results, chances are you might be using water at an incorrect temperature to wash your face.

Should You Wash Your Face With Hot Or Cold Water?

While washing your face with hot water can seem relaxing, it is not a suitable choice for your skin. Steaming hot water might cause irritation, inflammation, redness, and scaling. It can dry out your skin and strip the essential oils from the epidermis.

This can be incredibly bothersome if you have dry or oily skin. Your skin can react to the lack of natural oils by producing more oil to balance the deficiency, causing unwanted breakouts.

On the other hand, dabbing cold water can reduce puffiness and refresh your skin. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that cold water can close your skin pores and prevent the entry of dirt and bacteria. However, try to avoid washing your face with extremely cold water as it never cleans the skin effectively.

So, what is the suitable water temperature for washing your face after a shower? Dermatologists recommend using lukewarm water to wash your face. Lukewarm water ensures that your facial cleanser or face wash receives the appropriate amount of foaming action, removes dust and dirt from your skin, and balances the essential moisture and oils.

Should You Exfoliate Before Or After Shower?

The best time to exfoliate your skin is always after a shower. This is because once you shower with hot or lukewarm water, your pores open up, and the exfoliant absorbs deep in your facial skin to remove dirt and dead cells, making your skin healthy and glowing.

While face washing is a fundamental step in every skin care regimen, it is not as easy as people think. From applying the wrong face wash to over-exfoliating, find out some common mistakes people make while washing the face.

Common Face Washing Mistakes

1. Using The Wrong Facial Cleanser

Buying the best products suitable for your skin type is crucial for healthy, flawless skin. Your facial cleanser must remove dirt, impurities, and dead skin without stripping the skin’s natural oils. Hence, use a hydrating, cleansing cream for normal to dry skin types. On the other hand, people with oily or combination skin types must choose non-comedogenic foaming or gel facial cleanser.

2. Over Exfoliation

Exfoliating helps you get rid of dead skin cells that develop over time. However, doing it frequently can damage your skin. It induces flakiness, dryness, and irritation. Hence, skin care experts suggest limiting facial exfoliation to once or twice a week.

3. Leaving The Skin Bare

Apply moisturizers and serums after exfoliating or washing your face to keep dry skin at bay. Once you have cleansed and patted your face dry, make sure to use a moisturizer or serum within a minute. This will help lock in the natural oils and moisture of your skin to keep it healthy and glowing.

4. Incorrect Frequency

Do not wash your face more than once or twice a day. However, this frequency entirely depends on your skin type and other factors. If you wear makeup, cleanse your face twice a day to keep your pores unclogged. Similarly, if you have acne-prone skin, washing your face twice or thrice is imperative to keep it healthy. However, for sensitive skin types, washing your face once a day is enough.

Is It Bad To Use Bar Soap On Your Face In The Shower?

No. Although it is not bad to use bar soaps on your face, harsh soaps can make your skin dry and dull. Also, the soaps used for bathing can irritate your skin and cause a pH imbalance, leading to acne breakouts.  Therefore, it is recommended to treat your body and facial skin differently. Use gentle facial cleansers as per your skin type to eliminate sweat and dirt without stripping the essential oils of your face.

Now, let us understand the best technique for washing your face in the shower.

What Is The Right Technique To Wash Your Face?

  1.  Wet your face.
  2.  Take a coin-sized amount of facial cleanser and gently massage your face in a circular motion. Glide your fingers over your face and neck without any pressure.
  3.  Let the cleanser sit on your face for around 20 seconds.
  4.  Rinse off and pat your face dry. Do not rub with a towel.
  5.  Follow up with a moisturizer. You can also use a hydrating lotion suitable for your skin type.
  6.  Massage the product for a minute to deeply nourish your skin.

Washing your face in the shower is not a good idea if you want to achieve healthy skin. The bacteria in the shower can increase the risk of skin infections, and the hot water you use can also damage your skin. It is a common mistake we have been following for a long time. Better late than never. You can still change your habit and follow the correct way of washing your face, as discussed in this article.

Always wash your face with lukewarm water after the shower. You can wash your face twice a day and follow up with a moisturizer to maintain your skin hydration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use a washcloth in the shower?

Yes, you can use a washcloth in the shower. Ensure that you wash it properly and let it dry outside to reduce the risk of developing bacteria.

Is it better to wash your face in the morning or evening?

You should wash your face twice a day (morning and night) with a gentle cleanser to keep your face clean.

Do cold showers make acne worse?

No. Cold water increases blood circulation, controls sebum production, and may help manage your acne.

Key Takeaways

  • Washing your face in the shower is not a great idea as the skin on your face is more sensitive than the other parts of your body.
  • It is best to wash your face with cold water because the hot water can strip off the natural oils from your skin.
  • The frequency of washing your face depends on your skin type and how often you wear makeup.
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