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You're Obsessed with Lather

Soaps that lather like crazy may have lots of detergents (such as sodium laurel sulfate), which can be irritating to the skin, says Dr. Jaliman. You can get just as clean with a less sudsy soap. And it's not necessary to use a huge heaping mound of body wash either. "Cleansing agents are meant to be used in approximately a quarter to silver dollar-sized dollop," says Dr. Palm. Using too much is not only tougher on your wallet, but it also leads to greater concentrations of soap on the skin, increasing the chance of irritation and dryness, she adds. (You may want to avoid the extra lather when it comes to your shampoo habits as well, as it may be one of the hair-washing mistakes you could be making.)

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You're Scrubbing Too Much or Too Hard

"Overly aggressive cleansing can cause irritation, leading to redness or rashes, and it can make eczema worse," says Melanie Palm, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Art of Skin MD, in San Diego. As long as you're using soap and water, there's no need to go overboard with the scrubbing.

Also, be careful with the gritty stuff. "Rough exfoliating products can actually cause tiny tears in the skin," says Dr. Shainhouse. "If you need to exfoliate, look for body sugar or salt scrubs that will melt in the water, and limit use to twice a week."

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You're Using the Wrong Soap

Soap, particularly bar soap, not only removes dirt from your skin, it also strips away some of your body's natural oils. So you want to make sure you're not using a soap that's compounding that moisture-zapping. And get rid of is the scented stuff. Yeah, we all love coming out of the shower smelling like strawberries or a tropical rainforest, but fragrance can really dry out your skin, says Debra Jaliman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. Instead, reach for a soap or body wash that is moisturizing and fragrance- and dye-free. (Post-shower but pre-towel, take a peek at your butt. It can tell you some things about your skin's health.)

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You're Using Hot Water (or Taking Too Long)

There's nothing like a long, hot shower on a cold day (or after an intense workout). But that steamy water is harsh on your skin. "Just like it strips grease off pots and pans, hot water strips the oil from your skin," says Cynthia Bailey, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of DrBaileySkinCare.com. "Hot water also brings blood to the surface of the skin (which is why you turn red in a hot bath or shower), and that fuels inflammation like eczema and itching," she says.

Lukewarm water is the best temperature for showers, and keep it short. Under 10 minutes is more than enough time, says Tsippora Shainhouse, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills.

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Shower Skin Disasters

We already know what you're thinking: There's absolutely no way you're screwing up when it comes to showering—wash, rinse, repeat, right? After all, it's not like this is new to you. Well, you might be getting yourself clean, but these common bathing mistakes could have damaging effects on your skin while you're busy scrubbing away.

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