Health & Fitness | June 24, 2021 1:23 pm

The Mistakes That Most Men Make While Taking a Shower

"How" you take your shower is more important than "when"

A black and white photo of a person showering, as soon through a shower door
What does the perfect shower look like? It clocks in under 10 minutes, for starters.
Alex Potemkin/Getty Images

Ask someone to talk about their shower habits, they’ll likely focus on the time of day that they hop in: morning or evening. Morning shower folks extoll the benefits of feeling clean and alert for the day, evening shower folks can’t imagine heading into bed still covered in sweat, dirt or pollen. Both factions are pretty militant about their stance.

But according to a recent feature in The Washington Post, neither routine is more correct than the other. Mona Gohara, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, said that a preference for when to shower “isn’t a scientific decision. [It’s] a personal decision.”

That’s mainly because the endgame of taking a shower — in terms of the lasting, tangible effects it will have on the body (not just feeling momentarily focused or relaxed) — should be about hygiene and skin health. Within that pursuit, morning or evening is irrelevant. What’s actually important? The decisions you make during your shower.

Those decisions include: temperature, shower length, the relative dryness of your skin, prioritizing areas that actually need consistent washing, taking it easy on the scrubbing, choosing body-friendly products and moisturizing once you’re done.

Is there a perfect shower? Not necessarily — again, it’s a highly personal thing — but an ideal one would look something like this: shorter than 10 minutes (which will save your energy bill and the planet, by the way) and about room-temperature water throughout. You’ll want to use a gentle cleanser and prioritize the spots that consistently emit odor, which includes your armpits and private areas.

Too often, we get in the shower and mindlessly annihilate each inch of our bodies with soap and shampoo. But most big brand washes contain irritating ingredients, and addressing the same spots everyday is only going to dry skin more, especially if you have a skin condition like eczema. In the long run, then, aggressive washing makes your skin oilier while turning your hair brittle.

The big takeaway here? Take it easy in there. Make sure you know what’s in your soap (we like Dr. Squatch), only shampoo a couple times a week, and definitely apply a fragrance-free lotion when you’re done, which traps in the moisture.

The only time that “time of day” really comes into play is with temperature. If you’re looking to play around with a hot or cold shower (the latter of which has some real health benefits), just make sure to do so in the morning. Dramatically fiddling with thermoregulation just before bed isn’t a recipe for your best night’s sleep.