Shower & Bath Essentials
How to protect your skin in the shower...
This is a topic I’m super passionate about as someone with dry, dehydrated skin and a compromised moisture barrier. To be honest, I think we ALL have a compromised moisture barrier at some point in our lives, either due to stress, pollution, poor skincare choices, lifestyle choices, etc. What are the signs of a compromised moisture barrier? Dehydration. Dehydration does not discriminate with skin types. You can be oily, dry, combo, sensitive, etc AND dehydrated at the same time.
Here are some signs of a compromised moisture barrier:
- skin is lackluster & dull
- skin has no bounce or spring to it
- skin feels dry and wrinkly when pulled
- skin feels itchy or irritated
- skin burns easily when you apply products
- skin feels rough
- skin feels dry & tight when cleansed
When looking to solve dehydrated skin or a "stripped" moisture barrier, the first thing to consider, and the most obvious, is restoring hydration & moisture. Humectants like glycerin or hyaluronic acid need to become your bff! They help to draw water into the skin where it will actually hydrate the cells and plump the skin. Basically, humectants will help give you bouncy skin again and are the first step when it comes to healing a damaged moisture barrier. But you’ll need more than just humectants to get the job done!
You’ll want to pick up a moisturizer that is occlusive in nature. Occlusive ingredients help to “seal everything in” & can be very healing to the skin. Examples of occlusive ingredients are lanolin, beeswax, silicones, mineral oil, etc. My favorite occlusive ingredients are lanolin & beeswax because they don’t clog my pores or cause me to break out (the way silicones & mineral oil do). But each person has their own sensitivities, so use whatever works for you!
I’m going to split this post up into two sections, bath & shower, because I use different techniques for each. Each style of bathing comes with its own set of challenges!
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR SKIN IN THE BATH
For me, bathing is a nightly ritual. I light some candles, run a hot bath, pour in some epsom salts for my muscles, and relax. But sitting in hot water can be extremely stripping to the skin & can aggrivate an already compromised moisture barrier. So here’s what I use in my bathtub:
- Glycerin. I buy a tub of glycerin from amazon and pour at least 1\4 cup into the bath. This doesn’t make a HUGE impact, but it definitely helps. The glycerin helps the water in the bathtub to be more hydrating, and less stripping.
- Citric Acid. You have to be careful with this one because straight exposure to the skin can be quite irritating. When it's diluted, it's perfectly safe. The reason I include citric acid is because it helps to lower the PH of the water, therefore mitigating some of the damage the water causes.
- Epsom Salt. This isn’t essential for skin health, but it DEFINITELY helps with muscle & joint pain, and makes the bath more relaxing.
- Bath Oil. You can use any oil you like for this, or you can make your own at home! Pouring some bath oil into your tub of hot water can help to soften your skin and protect it from the hot water. I notice that when I leave the bathtub now, my skin feels softer and smoother. It doesn’t leave “greasy\oily” residue either, because I’m not applying it straight onto my skin.
- Milk Baths. Milk baths are the bomb. Not only do they soften your skin, relax you, and smell amazing, but they can also protect your skin from moisture loss while you’re soaking in that hot water.
LASTLY, and this point is relevant to both baths AND showers, make sure you get a PH balancing water filter for your faucet! This has made a difference for me when it comes bathing & showering, and it helps to filter out any chlorine from the water too, which can be quite drying & damaging to the skin.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR SKIN IN THE SHOWER
While I'm definitely more of a bath person than a shower person these days, sometimes you just need a quick rinse before bed! I don't always have the time or energy to do a whole bath routine, in which case I'll opt for a 5-10 minute shower. Obviously I can’t pour a bunch of glycerin into the bathtub if I’m taking a shower, so it’s a bit more difficult to protect the skin, IMO. The same rules apply, try to lower the PH of the water, protect the skin with humectants, oils, etc, and use a shower cream. Here are my shower favs:
- Water filters are key, and can help protect your skin & hair from the damage of chlorine.
- Hydrating\moisturizing masks & sheet masks! So this is one of my best kept secrets, but I always use a moisturizing mask or sheet mask when I take a shower! It helps to protect my face from the water while I’m shampooing my hair, and my face is in much better shape ever since I started doing this. My favorite moisturizing mask these days is by TULA - the kefir ultimate recovery mask (you can get 20% off your order by using the code: FRANKIE20). I also really like Knours sweet enough rescue sheet mask because it’s super moisturizing. Most sheet masks are water based, but this one from knours has a creamy emulsion consistency. It uses both oil & water ingredients to maximize skin hydration & moisture. Perfect for protecting your moisture barrier in the shower!
- Bath oils are a MUST. I actually like to apply oil to my skin BEFORE hopping into the shower. It helps protect & soothe my skin when it comes into contact with hot water. I’ve recommended this to numerous people before and everyone comes back with the same response “won’t the oil clog my pores, or cause breakouts?” My answer? Absolutely not. First, I recommend that you think of this step the same way you would think of an oil cleanser! Oil helps to dissolve skin clogging bacteria & residue that’s leftover from exercising, sweating, just living, etc. It also helps protect your skin while you’re using a body wash! So I don’t just oil my skin up and leave it… I always follow up with a shower cream or body wash. That said, this step is super important, so you leave the shower with soft, moisturized skin... not flaky, tight, irritated skin.
- Shower Cream or any PH balanced, moisturizing body wash. If you need to wash your skin, avoid bar soap at all costs! Bar soap has a high PH which can be very damaging to the skin. I prefer to use a shower cream like this one from Elemis. It cleanses my skin without stripping it! But you can use any moisturizing body wash you can find. For those with dry skin like myself, this is a no brainer. But just because you have oily skin, doesn’t mean you don’t need moisture or hydration. On the contrary, it’s super important to fix a damaged moisture barrier so your skin doesn’t keep overproducing sebum. It will help balance things out.
SO what are my favorite products for using in the shower? CLICK HERE OR keep reading. I’ll list them below!
Favorite sheet mask for protecting the face during showers: Knours. This is by far my favorite because it’s an emulsion of both oil & water, so it’s much more protective than your average sheet mask. My oily skin friends might find this one a bit heavy compared to a water based sheet mask, but it’s PERFECT for protecting your face during a hot shower. Water based sheet masks are not enough to combat the hot water from a shower. You NEED that emulsion factor (aka oil content too) in order to form a protective layer on top of the skin. That is why I would recommend this sheet mask for all skin types.
Favorite moisturizing mask: Tula's kefir recovery mask. Use the code: FRANKIE20 for 20% off! This has been my go-to, honestly. I use it far more often than sheet masks because it’s way cheaper per use, and does an even better job IMO. This is PACKED to the brim with probiotics that help to lock moisture in and prevent breakouts. So if you’re on the oily side of things and worried about putting a “film” over your face in the shower, let me alleviate your fears. This product will not cause breakouts. It’s not a pore-clogging type product to begin with. The kefir recovery mask is actually light as a feather and very fluffy (not heavy or greasy). The first two ingredients are water & glycerin (hydration focused) and it’s packed with ceramides, apple extract (natural vitamin c), and lactic acid, so it helps to brighten and exfoliate the skin, protect it, improve moisture retention, and deeply soothe the skin. I used to leave my shower with my face feeling tight, stripped, and irritated. Now it feels deeply moisturized, all thanks to this mask.
Favorite bath oil: natura brasil pitanga shower oil. This shower oil is amazing for multiple reasons. 1. It deals with hydration AND moisture loss. So it’s water based, with glycerin and oil as well. The product has 3 distinct layers that are separated (water & oil don’t mix after all) and you have to shake it up before using it. This also has squalane (which mimics skin’s natural sebum), olive fruit extract, etc.
Favorite shower cream\body wash: Elemis frangipani shower cream. This is the most hydrating body wash I’ve ever used! It doesn’t leave a film on your skin, however. Instead it cleanses gently (like cream cleanser) and deeply, leaving your skin feeling smooth and moisturized. For an even deeper cleanse (like for my oily skin friends!), you can combine the shower cream with a natural exfoliant, like this volition turmeric polish or frank bod scrub. The combo provides an even deeper cleanse & exfoliation, which helps prevent breakouts. But it doesn’t strip the skin, thankfully.
Favorite milk bath: herbivore’s coconut milk bath. This isn’t the most complex of formulas, so if I’m able to find a better milk bath, I’ll definitely share. The reason this is my fav right now is because the ingredient list is amazing (very simple, all natural, no fragrance) & it’s pretty affordable considering! You can get 20% off your order by using this link – all you have to do is sign up with a new email each time.
I hope this was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions below. Happy bathing, friends! Xo Frankie