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It’s one of life’s simplest pleasures to wash away stress from a busy workday, exercise, or the collapse of the UK government, but experts are now saying many of us aren’t taking a bath the right way.
Medical professionals recommend a maximum temperature of 40C in the tub, but some people have admitted to going beyond that – at the risk of experiencing nasty health problems.
According to Dr Deborah Lee, from the Dr Fox online pharmacy based in Glasgow, water which is way too hot can damage skin, increase our blood pressure, and cause nausea.
“Although temperatures above 40°C are unlikely to burn the skin, this can still have health consequences.
“Bathing and showering in very hot water strips the natural oils from the skin, leaving it dry, red, and brittle. Sometimes the skin overreacts to hot water and produces too much oil to try and compensate for the dryness.
“So, if you have oily skin, taking long, hot baths and showers can make this worse,” she said, adding that the heat can speed up the ageing of our skin and cause acne flare ups.
And if you’ve ever felt dizzy after getting out of the bath, that could be down to a sudden drop in blood pressure.
Abbas Kanani, superintendent pharmacist at Chemist Click, said: “Take a seat, preferably outside the bathroom where the temperature is not likely to be as hot and allow your blood pressure to restore (usually around 5 minutes in healthy individuals).
“Take long and deep breaths and allow your body to cool down. Drink cold water slowly, try not to make any sudden movements, and eat a light meal - these can all help raise blood pressure and alleviate feelings of sickness.”
Other steps we can take to look after our health (and enjoy a safe bath at the same time) include testing the temperature of the water with a thermometer or leaving it for a few minutes if it feels hot to the touch.
Moisturisers on damp skin can help prevent dryness after a bath, while bubble bath is one way to keep our skin hydrated when washing.
In addition to having the temperature somewhere under 40C, the ideal length of time in the bath to avoid drying out our skin is between 10 to 20 minutes.
The perfect length of time to get through a relaxing album, a few pages of a good book, or an existential crisis.
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