Why You Probably Shouldn’t Wash Your Face in the Shower

It might not be worth saving you a few extra minutes.

Skincare woman washing face in shower foaming facewash soap scrub on skin. Asian female adult cleaning body showering in hot water at home on in hotel as morning routine. Enjoying relaxing time.Maridav/Shutterstock

Everyone has their perfect shower routine and favorite products. Some people like starting with hair washing and others prefer sudsing up the whole body first. For most people, part of the process is washing your face—but it might not be the best thing for your skin.

The main reason you probably shouldn’t wash your face in the shower is that people typically use much hotter water when showering, according to Benjamin Garden, MD, a dermatologist practicing in Chicago. “It feels so good on a cold winter day or after a tough workout, but that hot water is very damaging and irritating to our skin,” he says. Hot water dissolves and washes away the natural oils on the skin, Dr. Garden says. And the hotter the water, the more drying it is. Plus, too much hot water on the face over time can also produce excess pigment or coloring in the skin. So Dr. Garden especially recommends people who are prone to discoloration or melasma to avoid too much hot water on the face. This is how you can tell if you have melasma, sun spots, or other skin spots.

Another reason to avoid washing your face in the shower is time. Any long, lingering showers create too much exposure to water which, again, irritates and damages the skin. Moving your face washing routine to the sink not only cuts down on the amount of water the comes into contact with the body, but it also shortens shower time. Dr. Garden says the ideal shower time should be between five to ten minutes. Make sure you’re not making these 8 other showering mistakes, either.

Although washing your face in the shower could be bad for your skin, there is a way to do so carefully to avoid these negatives. Dr. Garden recommends showering briefly, only once per day, and with warm water. He also suggests turning your back to the water and just running it on your face during a quick facial wash. Also, make sure also to avoid loofahs since they are too irritating—it’s just one of the 15 everyday habits that are wrecking your skin.

Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is a former staff writer at Reader’s Digest. There’s a 90% chance Emily is drinking tea right now, but when she’s not writing about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts and liking one too many astrology memes.