These days, it seems like every grocery store, classroom, and office comes equipped with enough hand sanitizer to kill every germ known to man. While it’s good to wipe out bad bacteria and other harmful toxins, it’s not good to be too clean. After all, our body needs good bacteria (also known as probiotics) to function properly—and our skin needs proper moisture to stay healthy.
Most Americans hop in the shower at least once per day, with a few outliers that prefer bathing even more frequently than that. But all this sanitizing and showering is taking its toll on our skin, causing it to become dry and irritated.
The issue with over-cleaning
Dr. Rosalyn George, a renowned dermatologist who runs one of the leading practices in North Carolina, claims that "In America, we definitely are very clean, which is a good thing and a bad thing."
Though being clean and fresh feel nice, showering too often can do more harm than good because it strips the foundation of skin. Think of skin as a wall made of bricks and mortar, George says. The bricks are individual skin cells, and the mortar is the fatty acids that hold everything together.
"Whenever you wash your body with soap, you're depleting the fatty acids," George explains. "When you over-cleanse yourself, you can be prone to skin infections, eczema, and other skin issues."
How to keep your skin moisturized
The verdict? For most people, showering any more than once a day is probably too much. Even drying off after bathing is enough to suck the moisture out of your skin, George explains. But, you can’t just stop showering, especially if you’re a person that goes to the gym every day or works a labor intensive job that makes you sweat.
In order to help skin stay extra moisturized and healthy, apply a soothing cream, lotion, or oil all over your body as soon as you get out of the shower. This is an ideal time because moisture can be locked in while skin is still porous. It’s also just as important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, which may help keep skin clear and elastic.
Furthermore, it’s key not to bathe in water that’s hot enough to practically boil a lobster. Most of us tend to take showers that are scalding, George notes—the extra high temperature only dries out and irritates the skin even more. If your skin is feeling dehydrated and flaky, next time you’re in the shower try a temperature that’s warm and opt for a soap that has moisturizing properties.
Soaps and lotions that hydrate the skin
Whether you’re taking a bubble bath or a relaxing shower, it’s important to wash with moisturizing soaps, followed by a layer of lotion after you’re dry. Here are some of our favorite products sold at Thrive Market that may help your skin look and feel hydrated for hours after your cleaning ritual.
Soaps you’ll love
Here are just a few of our favorite moisturizing soaps we carry at Thrive Market. Keep one by your bathroom sink, in the shower, and in the kitchen so your skin can stay hydrated every time you wash your hands or your body.
Moon Valley Organics Cocoa Butter Comfrey Bar Soap
Cocoa butter is they key ingredient that helps you achieve soft skin, while comfrey is known to soothe and reduce inflammation. But that’s not all—beeswax, minerals, and oils with vitamin E are the finishing touches that ensure moisture stays locked in your skin all day long. See for yourself how this hydrating bar soap makes showering a whole lot better.
Pamper yourself with this moisturizing bar soap made with vegetable ingredients and a recipe developed by a French expatriate living in the U.S. Although the company is located stateside, it still uses the triple-milled soap-making practice developed centuries ago in Marseille. The result is a high-quality soap that will retain its structure and integrity even with frequent use, while bringing ultimate hydration to your skin.
Clean and moisturize simultaneously with this 86 percent pure olive oil soap. Harvested from sun-drenched orchards, the olive oil in this specially crafted soap is ultra moisturizing and will leave your skin feeling replenished. Not to mention, the oil used to make this luxurious bar is non-GMO verified, meaning no pesticides or herbicides were used in the growing process of the olive trees.
Lotions you’ll love
Fragrance free and lightly scented, we have both types of lotions that are sure to quench dry, flaky skin. Keep one at home, in your car, and at work so you can lather anytime and have your skin feeling soft and supple.
Lather and hydrate your skin with 100 percent organic and fair trade ingredients: jojoba (to heal and soothe) as well as hemp and avocado oils (to smooth and make supple). Dr. Bronner's Organic Lotions work well for most skin types, including sensitive, dry, or combination skin. But we recommend using this just as a body lotion because the potent peppermint may leave behind a strong scent on your face.
Overall, the goal is to shower only once a day (or less) with warm water to keep skin supple. It’s also key to bathe with a moisturizing bar of soap, followed by massaging some lotion into your skin once you’re dried off. And remember to drink plenty of water every day. This pampering process will help you achieve the glowing, hydrated skin that you’ve always dreamed of.
Illustration by Katherine Prendergast