Here's Why You Shouldn't Wash Your Face In The Shower

It seems like the most natural thing in the world, but in spite of the convenience, washing your face in the shower could be doing more harm than good. As Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, succinctly told Well+Good, "We may love hot showers, but our skin does not."  

However, certain experts believe it's not the worst thing in the world we could be doing and, unless you suffer from particularly sensitive skin or are taking scorching hot showers, it shouldn't cause too much damage. So, should we be washing our faces in the shower — or not?

Hot showers adversely affect your skin

Zeichner notes that hot water has been scientifically proven to irritate the skin. "Hot water can strip the skin of oils, leading to dryness, irritation, and inflammation," he says. 

Consultant dermatologist Dr. Juber Hafiji, speaking to RTE, agrees, explaining, "Despite the widespread belief that hot water helps open pores for cleansing, there is little evidence to support this."

Lauren Mackenzie, skincare expert and head of medical aesthetics for Transform, recommends washing your face in the sink instead. She notes that it's far easier to control the temperature of the water in the sink, which makes it easy to customize the temps for your tender facial skin. "Unlike when you are in the shower, the water will be cooler, and this is much better for the delicacy of the skin in the facial area," she says. 

Washing your face in the shower is fine... with caveats

If you're not a sink girl, don't panic. As Dr. Zeicher notes, a lot of the issues with washing your face in the shower have to do with timing. If you keep it to 10 minutes or less, you should be okay. 

Mona Gohara, MD, a Danbury, Connecticut-based dermatologist, agrees, telling Well+Good, "As long as your technique and products are right, the place isn't important in my view. Just use warm water, not hot water."

Sujata Jolly, founder and CEO of Clinogen, acknowledged to RTE that washing your face in the shower saves time and also helps make sure all of the cleanser residues are removed. However, be careful about other products. "If washing your hair, you shampoo, condition, and then cleanse your face and neck and rinse with warm water," she suggests. This helps you remove other residues so they're not left behind on your face.

Put simply, as Dr. Zeichner advises, if you're set on washing your face in the shower, make sure your routine is right for your skin. It doesn't matter where you wash, as long as you wash right for you