Shower and shine

Are you cleaning yourself the right way?

man taking a showerWe take a shower every single day; it’s something we do even without thinking. From a hygiene and skincare perspective, it is one of the most important things we do for ourselves.

It sounds like such a simple thing. Yet, questions like ‘Is there a right way to take a shower?’ sometimes cross our minds.

Why do we need to take a shower?

Every day, as we go about our work, our body organs too are busy carrying out their functions. In the process of their work, they secrete substances like sweat and sebum, which deposit on the skin.

Taking a shower helps clean these off. Depending on your geographical location, the amount of such secretions varies, which then decides whether you need to shower once or twice a day.

You also need to shower to wash off the dust and grime you collect through the day. If you travel a lot, or engage in physical labour, shower at least twice a day.

Is there a best time to shower?

Not really. When you take a shower is an individual choice. Those who shower only once may choose to do it morning or night, depending on their convenience and need. However, it is advisable to shower right after an activity that makes you grimy, sticky and dirty.

Is there a proper way to take a shower?

The primary function of showering is to cleanse your body and rejuvenate it. The process of showering itself is simple:

First, sluice yourself with water. Make sure you are completely wet. This is important for your initial cleansing. Just feel the water running down the entire length of your body.

Then, take a liberal amount of shower gel in your hand. Wet it and apply all over. Scrub gently. If you are using soap; first rub soap onto your palms and then apply all over your body. Pay attention to areas like behind the ears, finger webs and the skin behind joints, to cleanse thoroughly.

Then, wash the soap off completely with water. Clean yourself from top down. If you’ve shampooed your hair, rake a hand through your hair to ensure that no shampoo remains.

Pat yourself dry with a soft towel. While drying, pay special attention to areas like folds of skin, scalp and toes to prevent moisture from getting trapped, which can lead to fungal infections.

Is a hot shower better for the skin than a cold one?

It’s not recommended to use scalding hot water for the skin as it can worsen some skin conditions like allergies and make the skin sensitive. Always wash yourself with lukewarm or room temperature water.

Is a shower better than a bucket bath?

No, both perform the same function. A bucket bath uses less water and hence is more environment-friendly. Shower on days when you are relaxed or you have muscle aches. You can benefit from jets of water hitting your tired muscles.

Is a bath tub better then?

No. Bath tubs are an ancient roman custom, which was a big social event. Today, tub baths are about relaxation, de-stressing and indulgence. You can get more out of your tub bath by using aroma and herbal products. There are also medicated baths for certain conditions like eczema and atopic dermatitis.

What should I do after a shower?

Immediately after a bath is the best time to moisturise your skin. Since your skin is still a bit moist from the bath, it absorbs the moisturiser better.

Use an antifungal dusting powder on the skin folds, especially in summer to prevent fungal infections. Towel-dry your hair, use a mild leave-in conditioner and finger comb it to prevent breakage.

What happens if I don’t shower properly?

A number of problems can arise due to lack of hygiene especially if you live in a tropical country. You could get fungal infections like tinea or candida.

If the skin is not properly cleansed in summer, you get prone to bacterial infections like impetigo and folliculitis.

Not cleaning the hair and scalp can lead to scalp infections, severe dandruff and pediculosis or hair lice. Not showering also leads to unpleasant body odour, which can be socially embarrassing.A clean body is an integral part of a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Aparna Santhanam
Dr Aparna Santhanam is a cosmetic dermatologist and hair specialist. She is also a Parachute Therapie Hair expert. She has an avid interest in holistic health and fitness. She loves combining modern medicine with traditional beliefs and remedies.


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