You shouldn't wash your face in the shower is a myth, according to skin experts

woman wash face in shower
(Image credit: Getty)

Have you ever been told you shouldn’t wash your face in the shower? We ask the beauty experts whether there is any truth to this beauty rumour  -or if jumping in the shower with a cleanser is more than OK? 

When you’re in the shower, it’s easy to reach for the cleanser and let the suds lather up under the running water rather than wash your face properly at the sink. But, could this be doing more harm than good to your skin? 

It’s thought that washing your face in the shower dries the skin out, causes spots and can worsen skin irritation but there is limited research on this theory. With opinions varying, we asked the experts to weigh in and decipher once and for all whether you should or shouldn’t wash your face in the shower.

Should you wash your face in the shower?

Yes, it is absolutely fine to wash your face in the shower. This won't cause any harm as long as you protect the skin by using warm water and moisturising afterwards.

Elena Cudworth, Founder and Senior Aesthetician at Elenique clinic in London explains, "Standing in a shower of hot water can dehydrate the skin, and the skin can feel tighter so it is important to moisturise the skin straight after the shower. But, if you do this, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t wash your face in the shower.

"In fact, for those with combination skin types, hot water will relax the pores and using a foaming cleanser will result in a deeper cleanse, reducing congestion.”

Consultant Dermatologist Dr Ophelia Veraitch is also very much in favour of a shower cleanse, “I actually encourage my patients to wash their faces in the shower because I know how busy everyone's lives are and I know that for many people they won't have time to have a shower and then wash their face before/after it.

"For acne-prone teenagers (who often don't have a skincare regimen) for example, it's especially important that they start to wash their face and so by encouraging them to do it in the shower it's more likely to happen.”

For the healthiest skin, you could also follow with a skin toner to remove any excess product build-up. And, one of the best facial oils to rehydrate the skin.

shouldn't wash your face in the shower

(Image credit: Getty)

Does washing your face in the shower cause acne?

“It's a myth that washing your face in the shower causes acne and spots, and in fact quite the opposite is true,” explains Dr Ophelia. “I always clean my face in the shower and as long as you use a clean face towel to properly take the residue off (also no need for a separate toner then!) then there's no reason why it will cause acne and spots.”

Where you wash your face is completely up to you and you may find that you can have a more thorough cleanse at the basin.

Does washing your face in the shower dry it out?

The experts agree that washing your face in the shower is absolutely fine but if the water is too hot, this can dry the skin out (which can lead to a broken skin barrier and making the skin more susceptible to spots and irritation.)

“Of course standing in a shower of hot water can dehydrate the skin,” says Elena. “For those with more sensitive skin or rosacea prone skin, I advise to avoid very hot water on your skin to reduce the risk of sensitivity and redness. You should use a gentle milky or cream cleanser to complete the cleansing routine and moisturise straight after. It is also great to use a hydrating mask once or twice a week to keep your skin balanced and calm.”

When washing your face in the shower, Dr Ophelia suggests a gentle cleanser with warm (not hot!) water too, “I would advise using a gentle cleanser to wash the face in the shower. You can massage it in well before washing off with a clean face towel. Ensure that the water isn't too hot too and together this will ensure that the skin doesn't dry out.”

Should you wash your face before or after a shower?

We all know that cleansing is necessary for skin health and according to the experts, it doesn’t really matter when you cleanse, the important thing is that you do it regularly.

“There really is no reason to wash your face separately,” says Dr Ophelia. Cleansing is important to get rid of dirt, sebum, make-up and bacteria and prevent premature ageing and spots -but the real secret to great skin is just washing your face twice a day, everyday. 

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Emma North
Senior Beauty Writer

Emma North is a Senior Beauty Writer who works for digital titles including woman&home, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own, Chat and GoodtoKnow. Emma’s career in beauty journalism began with internships at publications including Vogue, Elle, The Telegraph and Glamour while she undertook a degree in journalism. She was then taken under the wing of Funmi Fetto, Contributing Beauty Editor at Vogue where Emma assisted with Funmi’s debut beauty book, Palette