You probably don’t put too much thought into your daily shower—it’s just something you do every day to get clean and, depending on your routine, wake up or wind down. But certain habits may actually be leaving you with dry, itchy skin, or even prone to a raging infection. Nix these sudsy saboteurs before you lather up next.

Your water is too hot

Dry, itchy skin? Scalding showers might be to blame. “If there is tons and tons of steam coming out, then that’s a sign that your shower is too hot,” says Melissa Piliang, MD, dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic. In addition to drying out your skin, Dr. Piliang warns that hot showers can cause eczema to flare up.

You don’t have to give up steamy showers entirely. To get the same soothing effect, Dr. Piliang recommends letting the steam build up before you step under the water. “First turn on your shower as hot as you want it,” she explains. “Let it get nice and steamy and warm in there, and after it’s all heated up, turn it down to a comfortable temperature and then get in.” This way you can enjoy the heat without irritating your skin.

(To be continued…)

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