Applying An Oil In The Shower Will Make Your Skin Extra Soft & Firm
Having a robust, all-encompassing shower experience is certainly having a moment. Folks have deemed it the "everything shower," and it's quite the sensorial endeavor. Involving eucalyptus plants, body treatments, hair masks, fragrance (ahem, everything), it's the epitome of accessible indulgence. Showering is something we have to do daily—so why not make a few of those showers something special? Given I'm personally a fan of long, steamy showers—plus it just takes a while to shampoo and condition my long, tangly hair—you'll hear no complaints from me about this trend.
But please be cautioned that spending a considerable amount of time under the hot spray of water isn't necessarily the best for skin. Hot water breaks down lipids and can dry out the skin, leaving you drier than before.
There is a solution—speaking as someone who not only loves hot water but logistically needs to take longer showers to care for her hair—and it's as simple as utilizing body oil in the shower.
How using a body oil in the shower can keep your skin soft
Applying an oil in the shower—yes, in, not just post—is one surefire way to reap its benefits.
The skin naturally produces lipids (like squalane and ceramides), which help make up your skin barrier. These lipids are the reason your skin is able to hold on to moisture and stay hydrated. However, external elements can damage these lipids, which will compromise the skin barrier.
Hot water is one of those damaging external forces: Not only can it disrupt your natural oils, but "hot water evaporates faster," says board-certified dermatologist Purshiva Patel, M.D.This means it increases transepidermal water loss.
Applying topical oils can provide a thin, comforting layer of protection between your skin and the hot water. Oils have a larger molecular weight, and they sit on the skin rather than being absorbed. This is a good thing, as their purpose is to act as that buffer.
As celebrity esthetician and dermatological nurse Natalie Aguilar told us: "This oil barrier prevents excessive water loss and helps with any irritation," she notes.
Personally, I love mindbodygreen's body oil because it has the perfect light texture. It's a dry oil, which simply means it has a light, not greasy texture. While some people prefer a rich or thick oil, I want something that doesn't feel too goopy pre- or post-shower.
It's made with enriching botanical oils, like safflower seed oil, squalane, and vitamin E, so it's ideal for keeping skin soft and firm. For example, safflower seed oil contains a flavonoid called acacetin, which can actually inhibit collagen breakdown1 (read: it helps protect your skin's collagen from losing collagen). It also contains prickly pear seed oil, which contains three different kinds of fatty acids2 and is high in the healing antioxidant vitamin K.
While long, hot showers aren't the best for skin health—you don't have to give them up entirely. Just be sure to use a body oil in the shower to help combat the drying effects of hot water.
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.