When you read that title you probably thought this article would be about your tendency to belt out Beyoncé’s greatest hits in the shower when you should already be well on your way to work. And while that does indeed fit the definition of doing too much, what I’m really talking about here is the tendency to scrub your body down with damaging products morning — maybe even noon too — and night.
While most of us have gotten accustomed to using natural hair products or at least checking labels for standard no-nos like sulfates, parabens, and the like, we’re not always as diligent when it comes to cleansers we use on our bodies. In fact, according to a recent Dove research study, 74% of dermatologists report that most women don’t realize they are being too harsh on their skin in the shower.
“Using harsh cleansers can strip the skin of natural proteins, oils, and moisture,” explained Dove dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, of Advanced DermCare in Danbury, CT. “This is particularly true for those products that have harsh ingredients, such as sulfates or an active similar to the detergent in dish soap. Yes, dish soap! Sometimes people do not realize what they are washing with.”
Aside from the discomfort that can come from drying cleansers, washing with harsh products can also cause irritation by way of “more inflamed and damaged skin,” Dr. Gohara said. “This makes the skin more likely to be irritated and makes conditions such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis worse.” She added, “One may see redness, flakes, or even cracks!”
While it’s the general hustle and bustle of every day life that usually causes women — and men — to be too harsh with their cleansing regimens, misinformation is also a huge issue. Asked which specific ingredients we should beware of when purchasing soaps, scrubs, shower gels and washes, Dr. Gohara said “Sulfates are a big culprit and soaps comprised of detergents with high pH. I love Dove Body Wash because it is made with 100% gentle cleansers, is sulfate-free and is the #1 dermatologist recommended body wash.”
With fall just a few weeks away, don’t forget to follow up shower time with a moisturizing lotion or cream to keep dry skin and other conditions at bay as well.