Dr George Moncrieff advises against taking long hot baths
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The winter months are bleak at the best of times but if you have a skin condition, the cold season can prove particularly burdensome. Cold winter air can wreak havoc on the skin, aggravating skin problems such as psoriasis – a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales. You may be tempted to have a long hot bath to remedy your skin woes but think again.
Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, Doctor George Moncrieff said this inviting practice can actually prove counterintuitive.
He was responding to Phillip Schofield’s inquiry: “You would think having a long bath would be the right thing to do but that’s actually not right?”
Doctor Moncrieff responded: “A ten-minute bath that’s not too hot does hydrate the skin very nicely but if you are in the water for too long you start to remove the body’s natural oils.
As he explained, the skin needs oil on the surface to prevent water from evaporating.
The doc advised five to ten minutes “maximum” in the bath.
The temperature of your bath could also prove risky.
“If you have a hot bath you are melting that [oil] off as well,” warned Doctor Moncrieff.
The duration of bathing is not the only important factor. The frequency can also contribute to skin problems.
Harvard Health focuses on showering but the same will apply to having a bath.
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“Daily showers do not improve your health, could cause skin problems or other health issues — and, importantly, they waste a lot of water,” warns the health body.
While there is no ideal frequency, experts suggest that showering several times per week is plenty for most people (unless you are grimy, sweaty, or have other reasons to shower more often).
“Short showers (lasting three or four minutes) with a focus on the armpits and groin may suffice,” notes Harvard Health.
The health body adds: “If you’re like me, it may be hard to imagine skipping the daily shower. But if you’re doing it for your health, it may be a habit worth breaking.”
Cold water swimming, on the other hand, brings myriad health benefits, evidence suggests.
“When cold water swimming is practiced by experienced people with good health in a regular, graded and adjusted mode, it appears to bring health benefits,” stated a review published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Several studies have suggested that cold water swimming has a wide variety of health benefits, the review points out.
Fewer upper respiratory tract infections, amelioration of mood disorders, and general well-being were some of the benefits identified in the review.
General tips to look after your skin
You should actively avoid certain activities to support the health of your skin and the rest of your body.
Smoking is linked to early ageing of the skin.
The NHS explains: “It’s thought smoking reduces the skin’s natural elasticity by causing the breakdown of collagen and reducing collagen production. Collagen is a protein that supports skin strength.”
According to the health body, when you drink alcohol, your body and skin can become dehydrated, leaving the skin looking older and tired.
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