Relax, spa, hygiene, softness concept. Joyful smiling young man with broad smile, shows white perfect teeth, rubs cheek with sponge, has foam on body, takes shower, poses against pink background

(© Wayhome Studio -

LONDON — Are you showering incorrectly? From taking long showers to completely missing parts of the body – such as ears, toes, and legs – to using too much product, a skin expert says many people aren’t scrubbing themselves sufficiently.

British dermatologist Dr. Alia Ahmed recommends 10 showering practices to enhance skin health and appearance. Key among these is the thorough rinsing of all products and the avoidance of skin irritants like alcohol. She also advocates for warm showers over hot ones.

This advice might be unwelcome to many people. A corresponding survey of 2,000 British adults, reveals that 56% of participants prefer hot, or even “boiling” showers. Interestingly, 70% tend to increase the shower temperature during colder months.

However, Dr. Ahmed warns against the temptation of hot showers in cold weather. “Using hot water causes dilation of blood vessels, as the skin wants to cool down, which promotes inflammation and itch,” she explains.

A woman washing her hair
Spending time in the shower can certainly be relaxing, but Dr. Alia Ahmend says a 5-minute shower is best for your skin. (© amixstudio –

The dermatologist, in collaboration with Dove, which commissioned the survey, also says it’s not wise to spend too much time showering. “Shorter showers are better, as the skin pays for the indulgence of a longer shower, especially in hard water areas,” she says. “I recommend five minutes where possible. Repeated exposure to hard water can cause build up on the skin, which can lead to dryness and irritation through skin barrier dysfunction.”

According to the survey, however, adults typically spend twice as long in the shower than she recommends, averaging around 10 minutes. Moreover, 41% would indulge in even longer showers if time permitted.

As for scrubbing habits, 52% always ensure their body wash lathers well, and 35% use sponges or washcloths for hard-to-reach areas. Interestingly, one in 10 participants double-cleanse with body wash. Overall, 85% cherish the “squeaky clean” sensation post-shower.

If you don’t have that feeling, however, Dr. Ahmed says it’s not worth washing yourself again.

“There is no definite need to double-cleanse after a shower. The squeaky-clean feeling, although desired by many because it feels more ‘hygienic,’ is not necessary for your skin to be clean and actually could be a sign the products you’re using are actually drying your skin,” she says.

She also points out that lather doesn’t equate to cleaner skin, and using your hands is often more effective than washcloths, which can harbor germs if not cleaned regularly.

The research, conducted via OnePoll, also revealed that 56% of adults experience dry skin after showering, yet 35% are reluctant to moisturize. Dr. Ahmed advises choosing a moisturizing body wash and finishing with a cool water blast to smooth hair cuticles, tailoring product choices to individual skin and hair types.


Dr. Ahmed’s Top 10 Simple Ways To Improve Shower Habits

1. Use your hands to wash instead of a wash cloth
2. Always wash extremities like ears, toes and legs
3. Aim to shower once a day
4. Make sure you wash your products off properly
5. Don’t turn up the heat too much
6. …but similarly, don’t force yourself to have a freezing shower
7. No need to double cleanse if you’re using a suitably moisturising body wash
8. Use a quarter-size squirt of product
9. Wash your face at the sink after your shower with lukewarm water as it’s easier on the skin
10. Pick products that nourish the skin, rather than strip it

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