Taking a nice shower before going to bed has become a habit for a lot of people. It makes us feel nice and clean, helps us relax, and puts us in a good mood for sleep. For some people though, nighttime showers may be the cause of nasty pimple breakouts. Can showering at night really cause acne?
There are many components to a simple shower – the type of water, the soap or cleansers used to clean the skin, and the use of exfoliates or scrubs. Hard water can be more harsh on skin because it has more undissolved minerals like zinc, magnesium and calcium that can break down the skin’s proteins and dry out the skin. When the skin becomes dry and irritated, it can become even more prone to acne. Check your water supply if your water is treated or not. Having your water treated can make a difference for clearer, healthier skin.
The temperature of your shower can also make a difference to your skin’s health. Indulging in a long hot shower before bed will actually do more harm than good for your skin. This is because the extreme heat can strip your skin off of the protective layer of fats and oil that keeps it smooth and hydrated. This makes it more prone to drying out. When the skin compensates by producing excess oil, this could lead to even more acne breakouts.
If you do get the urge to take a nighttime bath, it is best to indulge in a warm (not hot!) shower. Besides being gentler on the skin, the warm water helps expand the pores so that accumulated dirt and bacteria become easier to clean. A nice warm shower can also help soothe tense muscles and relax your body – a perfect preparation to a good night’s sleep.
To make the most of your shower, try using a medicated cleanser or soap that suits your acne type. This is especially helpful if you have back and body acne as the nightly cleansing ritual will help speed up the healing process. If you have mild whiteheads or small pimples, use a salicylic-acid based cleanser and use a scrub or loofah twice a week to help with your acne. For bigger pustules and zits, use a benzoyl peroxide-based cleanser on your back and other affected areas (not on the entire body!). Be careful not to over-scrub or exfoliate the skin as this can lead to dryness, irritation and damage. Gently scrub the affected area, wash with warm water, and pat dry.
To summarize, showering at night is an excellent natural acne treatment that can help speed up acne healing. Indeed, smart washing can and will do wonders for your skin. Just don’t overdo it, stick to warm water showers, and enjoy your bath while you’re at it.