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The Effects of Showering Too Often, Too Hot and Too Long
By: Johann W. Wiechers, PhD, JW Solutions
Posted: December 1, 2009
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But how does this scientific backing help a parent in a "shower battle” with their teenagers? First of all, these teenagers argue that their shower water is not chlorinated (true), to which I argue that the water in our city is hard, which increases the irritancy effects of water. My daughter is doing competitive synchronized swimming, (currently her team is in third place in all the Netherlands) and she swims 7–14 hr per week. Each swim is followed by extensive showering and indeed, her whole team is suffering from dry skin.
The point of this article is not my family's shower habits but rather the consequences of excessive showering. Extracting too much NMF leads to damage in barrier function. When the barrier function is damaged, skin penetration of topical skin care products increases, from cleansing liquids to ever-so-mildly-formulated cosmetic products.
The personal care industry is often blamed by consumers for the irritancy reactions caused by topical products. However, the same consumers would not have these irritancy complaints if they did not shower too often, too hot and too long. The question then is: How does the personal care industry explain to consumers that water dries them out when we cannot even convince our own teenage children ?
If anyone knows the answer to do this question, please let me know. It will save me money (water utility bill), it will save my children’s NMF, it will reduce skin irritancy for consumers and reduce product complaints for the personal care industry. The effect of excessive showering is definitely a hot issue that the personal care industry may have left alone too often for too long.
Johann W. Wiechers, PhD
Independent Consultant for Cosmetic Science, JW Solutions
Scientific Advisor, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine
Gasthuispolderweg 30 2807 LL Gouda, The Netherlands