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Is There Such a Thing as Showering Too Much?

Whether you’ve had a downer of a day or a sweaty afternoon on a hike, nothing feels as restorative as a long, hot shower, even if you showered that morning. But those hot showers may be stripping your skin of its natural oils and moisture. Which brings up the question: Is it possible to shower too often? In short, no—as long as you take the right precautions.

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Although it’s not a must, you can shower every day without worrying about your skin. But the right shower routine doesn’t stop when you turn off the faucet. “It’s important to moisturize afterward, as skin can dry out from hot water,” says dermatologist Tina Funt, M.D. , of Schweiger Dermatology Group in Garden City, New York. Even during harsh winter weather or in drier climates—think a vacation to Palm Springs—you can still shower every day, as long as you follow up with a thick, rich moisturizer. The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends taking a warm, rather than hot, shower to minimize dryness.

If you do need to shower twice in one day, whether you sprang for a last-minute spin class or went to the park on a sunny day, the products you use become even more important for your skin health. In this case, Dr. Funt recommends sudsing up with a gentle, creamy cleanser in the shower. Then, after you’ve toweled off (but while your skin is still damp), apply your moisturizer. “For extra moisture, you can use barrier creams, which contain extra fatty acids and cholesterol,” Dr. Funt says. These ingredients are essential for maintaining your skin barrier, which in turn helps keep skin hydrated and healthy.

Exfoliation is a different story. Since scrubbing away dead skin cells can irritate skin if you do it too often (or too enthusiastically), Dr. Funt suggests limiting exfoliation to once a week. That’s especially vital in the winter, when your skin is more prone to irritation and dryness. And, of course, moisturize well right after you exfoliate.

As for your hair, shampooing your hair every day is perfectly fine, Dr. Funt says. If you wash your hair daily, and it seems dry or looks frizzy, try a formula free of sulfates (which can clean a little too well, making strands feel more squeaky-clean than soft). Better yet, opt for a cleansing conditioner, or co-wash, which hydrates as it gently cleanses hair. And definitely don’t shampoo more than once a day. That “rinse and repeat” thing doesn’t clean hair better and can even do more harm than good by drying out hair. Eek!

Get more great health and wellness stories at MarthaStewart.com/Strive.