You might think that if your body is dehydrated, it will try and absorb water anyway it can; that standing in the shower will make your skin soak up water like a sponge. But this is not the case.
One of the main functions of the skin is to protect the body from the outside world. Dust, germs, and other harmful elements are prevented from entering the body by the skin. The skin also helps regulate body temperature.
Does skin absorb water in the shower?
The outer layer of skin is mainly a combination of dead cells and oily secretions produced by the skin. This layer helps to make skin water-resistant and prevents water from getting into the skin. While the skin is quite good at absorbing certain minerals through the skin, water doesn’t actually get passed it. For water to hydrate the body it has to get into the bloodstream, the only way for that to happen is to drink your water.
Why does skin look all wrinkly after a long shower?
Your skin looks wrinkly after a long shower because the top layer of skin cells absorbs water and puffs up a bit. The absorbed water, however, does not go beyond this layer and eventually gets evaporated into the atmosphere.
Why do you feel dehydrated after a shower?
A hot shower can be very relaxing and most people enjoy showering in warm to hot water. During a long hot shower, your body temperature starts to rise. The body’s natural mechanism for regulating body temperature is by sweating. When we feel hot, our sweat glands release droplets of perspiration all over the skin. As these little droplets start to evaporate, they draw heat out of the body and carry it away with them. It is in this way sweating helps to bring down the temperature of the body.
When we take a hot shower, we don’t realize that we are sweating because the shower water covers our sweat. The longer we shower, the longer we keep sweating as the body tries to cool itself down. All the sweating in the shower causes the body to lose considerable amounts of water. So, instead of hydrating us, a long shower can actually dehydrate us. This is why we often feel very thirsty after a long shower.
How does showering dehydrates your skin?
So, now we know that showering doesn’t hydrate our skin but instead dehydrates our body. What it also does is dehydrate our skin making it feel dry and itchy. The outer protective layer does an excellent job of keeping our skin water resistant and also protects the natural oils that keep our skin hydrated.
The real culprit in the shower is soap. When we use a harsh soap on our skin, we strip the skin of its protection and also of all its oils. Soap leaves our skin dry and sensitive. Long hot showers might be relaxing for the muscles, but they are not good for our skin especially if we are using a harsh soap.
Tips for staying hydrated during a shower
So how do we protect ourselves from getting dehydrated in the shower? Here are a few tips that can help you stay hydrated and keep your skin feeling soft and supple as well:
Shorter showers: Keep your showers to a maximum of ten minutes so that you can enjoy the relaxing feel without dehydrating your body and skin too much.
Less hot showers: When the shower is too hot we sweat a lot more. Keeping the temperature of the shower at lukewarm or less will stop us from getting too hot and we will sweat less.
Use mild soap: Instead of using a harsh soap use a milder soap or a moisturizing shower gel. Shower gels are gentler on the skin and don’t strip it of its natural oils. Soap-free cleansers are also available for people with very sensitive skin.
Dry gently: When towel drying, don’t rub the towel over your body but pat yourself dry. Make sure to leave some moisture on your skin.
Moisturize: As soon as you have dabbed yourself dry apply a moisturizer all over your body. The cream will help to lock the water in and prevent further drying of the skin.
Drink water: And finally, the best way to stay hydrated is to drink lots of water. Have a glass or two of water after your hot shower to make up for any fluids you might have lost.
Soaking in a bathtub of very hot water also has the same effect on the body as a hot shower does. You should follow the same steps to prevent your skin from drying out and your body from getting dehydrated when taking a bath.
When to avoid taking a hot shower
We know that hot showers are dehydrating, for this reason, there are certain cases when hot showers should be avoided altogether:
- Avoid a hot shower after consuming too much alcohol. Alcohol is also dehydrating and the combination of the alcohol and the hot shower could leave you severely dehydrated which could lead to other problems.
- If you are suffering from sunburn, it would be better to have a shower with cool water and use a very mild soap. The oils secreted by the skin help to protect and heal it. When these oils are stripped away, your skin takes longer to heal.
- During winter months skin gets dry and even cracked. While you can’t have a cold shower, avoid very hot water and keep it under ten minutes to prevent your skin from drying out even more.
- Dermatologists advise against very hot showers if you suffer from skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis as these conditions could get worse with dry skin.
The best way to keep your skin and body healthy and well hydrated is to drink eight 8oz glasses of good quality drinking water every day. Jantzen supplies the best quality drinking water all over the Klang Valley in Malaysia.