Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How to Take a Bath: Part 1

I know, I know.  You've been taking a bath all your life so how could I possibly teach you anything new?  Actually you would be surprised at what you can learn about the process of taking a bath.  This is actually a handout that I have available in the shop and I get tons of positive feedback from it.  So for this blog I am breaking this whole concept down into two parts.  Part 1 will be about the basics, like water, towels and such.  Part 2 will be all about incorporating products into your bath.  So let's get started....

Part One:  The Three T's

The most important thing that you can remember about taking a bath are the Three T's: Time, Temperature, and  Toweling (okay the third one is a stretch but go with me on this).  Most people don't pay attention to the little details like this, but I guarantee that by following some simple guidelines you can improve your bathing experience and the condition of your skin.


Many people don't really keep track of how much time they spend in the bath.  They soak for awhile and when the water starts to cool they either add more or get out.  However, time is very important to your skin. The magic number is really about 20 minutes.  For the first 20 minutes you are submerged in water your pores open up and you skin soaks up all the water that it can.  This is a great way to hydrate the skin.  After about 20 minutes though, your skin cells are holding about all the water they can.  This is when your skin begins to "prune" or wrinkle up.  This happens on your hands and feet because your skin is thicker there than on the rest of your body.  Your skin is so full of water it just can't hold any more.  This is really the best time to get out.  Any longer than this and your skin starts to loose some of the good stuff it needs to hang on to.


Temperature is a VERY important factor in bathing or showering.  Contrary to what a lot of people think a warm bath is really the way to go.  Taking a bath in super hot water is actually bad for your skin.  Your skin has this layer of proteins and lipids that form a barrier which keeps moisture in your skin.  Some of this is broken down during a shower or bath but not all of it.  However in very hot water this barrier is washed away, which lets moisture escape from your skin.  So if you take very hot showers or baths daily, your skin is constantly going through this cycle of stripping and losing moisture and other important things it needs to stay properly hydrated.  So basically super hot baths/showers lead to dry itchy skin.  Next time you hop in the bath or shower turn the temperature down on the water and you should start noticing a difference in your skin.


The third important factor in bathing (and the one people think about least) is how you dry your skin.  Rough toweling will actually do more harm than good.  It's a myth that rubbing your skin roughly with a towel will help to exfoliate the skin.  Leave this to face and body scrubs.  Rubbing your skin in a hard/rough manner with a towel can actually do damage to the skin cells.  This will dry your skin out and can even lead to irritation or break-outs.  When you get out of the water gently pat the surface of your skin with a towel.  This will allow water on the surface of your skin to absorb naturally.  You don't want to go through pampering your skin in the tub just to undo all that work when drying off right?  I would also like to note that I recommend a seperate hair towel, especially if you are using oils in or after your bath.  Use a super absorbent hair towel to dry your face and then wrap around your head.  Then use a separate towel for your body.  This prevents any extra oils from the bath water or bath products from getting onto your hair or face (and clogging pores).
It's a good idea to apply lotion to your skin right after you have patted it dry.  This will "seal" the skin helping to lock in moisture and keep you from drying out.

So start using the Three T's and let me know if you notice a difference in your skin.  Happy bathing!

(By the way I'm not a doctor or anything.  I've had some medical training but all of my information comes from research and years of trial and error on my own skin.  Keep in mind that this is just friendly advice and not medical advice or medical diagnosing.  Thanks!)

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