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7 Bathroom Sins You’re Probably Committing

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You probably have your bathroom routine down pat. You could even go through all the steps in your sleep—in fact, you probably have on the occasional sluggish morning. But sometimes we’re so fixated on our regimens that we don’t realize we could be making some serious mistakes when it comes to our health and hygiene. Luckily, we’ve got the scoop on the habits you need to shake, so take note!

1. Your showers are too hot

A long, steaming, hot shower may seem like heaven, especially on a cold winter morning, but you want to make sure you’re not scalding yourself with the water because that can have a serious impact on your skin. Dr. Jessica Krant, a board-certified dermatologist and associate at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York, says that the hotter the water temperature, the more it will strip away your natural skin oils, which are meant to protect you.

While a cold shower has its benefits, like improving your circulation and easing muscle soreness, we get it if you aren’t exactly eager to start trying them. Instead, Dr. Krant advises (more so in the winter since our skin is already prone to dryness) taking showers that are short and lukewarm. Plus, by taking shorter showers you’ll be helping the environment!

2. Youre drying off too vigorously

Toweling dry is probably something you never thought you needed advising on, but if you’ve been one to constantly experience extreme skin irritation immediately after shower, you might want to rethink how you dry off. Dr. Krant says the best rule of thumb is to always be gentle. “Patting dry [will leave you] less prone to irritation or itchiness later,” she says.

If you find that the same parts of your body are always itchy after showering, or you notice a flaky look to any of your limbs, those are signs that you could be taking it too far with your towel. Initial dryness is not abnormal though, since that’s the effect water has on our skin (especially in winter), so don’t skip out on the moisturizer, even if you’re gently patting dry!

3. Youre not replacing your towels frequently enough

It’s easy to assume that the towels you dry off with right after you wash your hands or body are always clean, but after too many uses, they can quickly get clogged with mildew, or worse, bacteria. That means if one of your suitemates is sick and didn’t properly wash her hands, her germs can linger on the towel and be spread to you (whether you’re sharing a hand towel or hers hangs next to yours). Additionally, if your towel is constantly damp, that’s a sign that mildew and bacteria could be lingering, so your best bet would be to toss it in the laundry and grab a fresh one.

When it comes to your bath towels, you can worry less about spreading other people’s germs, but that doesn’t mean you should keep using them for weeks on end. If they don’t dry properly (because, ahem, they’re sitting in a pile in your room!), they’ll stay damp, which makes them a breeding ground for bacteria. To increase their lifespan, make sure they dry fully. Hang them in your bedroom, which lacks the moisture of the bathroom, and try to keep them on a bar instead of a hook so the towel can dry fully and more quickly. Ideally, you want to wash a towel you use daily at least once a week. And while changing them regularly is important, Dr. Krant says that taking a new towel every day is overkill!

4. You’re using an old razor

Aside from becoming dull and thus increasing your risk of getting nicked, old razors can pose a health risk thanks to the bacteria they collect over time. For starters, they can spread viruses and infections as serious as hepatitis through open cuts, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Even if you’re the sole user of your trusty Gillette Venus, you can still be prone to ingrown hairs or a staph infection if the razor is past its prime. Though Dr. Krant says that the lifespan of a razor depends on the quality, your best bet is to toss it when it shows signs of becoming dull (the blade will tug, rather than glide). So the next time you hop in the shower, examine your razor. If you can’t remember the last time you replaced it, if you see any signs of rust, or it’s not shaving well, toss it.

Dr. Krant also says that storing your razor in the shower isn’t exactly ideal. “The increased constant moisture will add to the bacterial growth,” she explains. “If you want to protect your blades for longer, take them out of the bathroom altogether.” For extra precaution, you can purchase a clip-on anti-microbial pod that completely covers the head of the razor and protects it from odor-causing germs. At $5.99, a Steripod is super affordable, plus they’re sold at Bed Bath & Beyond, which makes it easy for anyone to get their hands on!

5. You’re going overboard with the face wash

Between the colorful packaging and lovely scents, there’s something addictive about buying face wash, so if you have more than one type in your shower caddy, you’re not alone! But just because you own five variants of what’s essentially the same thing doesn’t mean you should use them all in one go. As with hot showers, cleansing with facial soaps can remove the healthy, protective oils your face needs, Dr. Krant says. So if your nightly cleansing routine involves a foaming wash, exfoliating gel and a facial scrub, you may be overdoing it.

Because our skin exfoliates itself everyday by shedding dead skin cells, Dr. Krant says that expediting that process can actually create “a cycle of inflammation, dryness and increased flaking, leading you to believe you have to exfoliate even more.” And all of those fancy brushes, sponges and electronic devices many are hyped about? They may not be making that much of a difference after all, according to Dr. Krant. “I believe it’s healthier for skin to use only the hands to wash,” she says. “This allows dirt to be gently removed without irritating the skin, which leads to breakouts and more drying than necessary.”

So the next time your face feels like it’s about to crack and fall apart after a cleansing routine, ask yourself how many products you used. If there were too many for you to remember, you were definitely using too many! To maintain healthy skin without irritating it, Dr. Krant recommends using a scrub at night and a more gentle cleanser, like a gel or foam wash, in the morning.

6. Youre wiping too hard after using the bathroom

If you thought your face was the part of your body that’s most sensitive to abrasion, think again! According to Dr. Krant, our genital areas are very delicate. So when it comes to cleaning up down south, you don’t want to go to town with the wiping. “The skin of our groin is very delicate and prone to microscopic tears, she says. “So it’s important not to wipe too roughly there.”

Toilet paper softness may play a role with irritation, but upgrading to the most expensive toilet paper of the thickest ply doesn’t mean you should be any less gentle. Minimizing the number of wipes is important, says Dr. Krant, so she advises jumping in the shower for a quick rinse if you don’t feel you’re clean enough. While she says there isn’t a set number of wipes we should stick to, Dr. Krant explains that more than a few reaches for more toilet paper may be cause for irritation. As an alternative, using baby wipes after a bowel movement can help prevent irritation while keeping your behind clean!

7. Your hand towels and toothbrush are too close to the toilet

Unless you use a communal bathroom with stalls or your bathroom sink is on the opposite end of the bathroom, any objects within close proximity to the toilet are going to get sprayed with remnants of its contents any time it’s flushed. This fact is pretty gross, but thankfully easy to fix. For starters, put the seat cover down before you flush, if you have one. While microscopic debris can still spread (from those tiny openings along the sides of the seat), a closed toilet is always better.

But just to be completely safe, remove any baskets of toilet paper, tissues, towels, etc. that sit on the tank. If your sink is right next to the toilet and your toothbrush sits on the counter space, consider it to be in a danger zone! Instead, store your toothbrush in the medicine cabinet, or at least cover it with a sterilizing pod, which can be found at Bed Bath and Beyond or on Amazon for as low as $3.99.

Despite its association with getting clean, the bathroom is still a pretty icky place that can wreak havoc on things like your skin, immunity and overall health. Luckily, many of these mistakes can be easily corrected and avoided to begin with—so it’s time to stop committing these bathroom sins!


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