Why You Shouldn't Wash Your Face With Hot Water This Winter

mbg Editorial Assistant By Jamie Schneider
mbg Editorial Assistant
Jamie Schneider is the Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen with a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan. She's previously written for Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
How to Wash Your Face After a Workout

The best of experts will tell you, skin care is a little like style; it tends to shift with the seasons. Not a total product makeover, per se, but a couple of tweaks here and there will make sure your skin stays glowing and hydrated all year long. 

"Your environment affects all parts of your body, so of course it will affect your skin!" board-certified dermatologist Howard Murad, M.D., has previously told us

But if you are going to tweak your skin care routine this winter, there's one crucial tip to keep in mind, no matter what product swaps you make: Do not (we repeat: do not) wash your face with hot water. Here's why. 

Hot water can dehydrate the skin.

Come winter, you might want to hop into an extra-steamy shower after braving those brittle winds. But that instant gratification you might get from a scalding splash of water can actually worsen your moisture barrier in the long term and result in dehydration. And, as we know, even people with over-oily skin can still be at risk for dehydration; no matter your complexion, the advice applies. 

It's advice we should be using year-round, as holistic esthetician Kimberly Yap Tan tells us: "If the water's too hot, it will strip and damage skin; and if it's too cold, it won't dissolve the face wash properly, leaving residue. Extreme temps either way can also cause broken capillaries for sensitive- or thin-skinned folks."

But because your skin is already facing a higher risk of dehydration in the winter (we're constantly switching between outside temperatures and blasts of heat once we step inside), it's extra important to make sure we aren't piling on problems by washing our face the wrong way.


So what should you do on a wintry day?

Even if you walk in the door shivering from a snowy day, take some time to warm up before hopping into a hot shower. (Drink some tea, bundle up in blankets, attempt a five-minute HIIT session, the list goes on.) When you're not so chilled to the bone and ready to wash up, it'll be easier to stick to lukewarm water. 

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