You may have 99 problems, but if itching after you shower is one, you know just how frustrating it is! Especially if you put time, effort, and money into curating a relaxing and cleansing shower experience, to come out expecting to feel clean and ready for the day only to instead spend ten minutes scratching before you even bother to get dressed, you know how infuriating the post-shower itch can be.
As it happens, feeling itchy after you shower is a pretty common phenomenon! And it’s one you don’t have to live with. If you struggle with itchy skin after showering, there are definitely ways you can soothe your skin and return your shower time to the luxurious, relaxing experience you deserve.
So What Does Itchy Skin After Showering Mean?
The key to solving any problem is getting to the bottom of why it’s happening in the first place. But try not to start by googling “itchy skin”—like searching any medical mystery, you’re bound to come up with all kinds of answers to your question that create panic, like finding out you have a rare type of infectious disease that only exists in one country halfway across the globe from you. Obviously, this isn’t the case, so take a breath, and let’s talk about some likely (and realistic!) causes for experiencing itchy skin after showering.
1. Your Shower Is Too Hot
Especially if you’re a woman, it’s likely that this simple problem is the culprit to your post-shower scratching sesh. It’s a well-known joke—a woman steps out of the shower to allow her male partner to step in, only to find himself scalded by the temperature. It also comes into play when you think about how the men in your life tend to run a little hotter than the women, just in day-to-day activities.
You’ve probably seen more than a few men standing outside in shorts in the winter and wondered if they’ve lost their minds if you’re a woman—but it turns out there’s a reason for all of this.
Thermoregulation in men and women is actually a bit different, just because of common size and fat content differences. So what feels like a warm, soothing shower to many women can feel like lava to men. But whether you’re a boy or a girl, if your shower is too hot, it can strip things like oils and lipids from your skin which can cause dryness.
Hot water also evaporates faster than cooler water, which also contributes to post-shower dryness. And as most of us know, dry skin can be super itchy no matter what the cause is. If your skin is itchy after showering, it’s worth dialing the temperature back a few notches and seeing if this alleviates your problem. Simple!
2. You Take Too Long
We love a long, luxurious soak as much as the next person, but if you’re taking too long under the spray, it could be the cause of your itchy skin after showering. Especially if your water is also too hot, spending more time in hot water can do even more damage to your skin’s all-important barrier, and dry it out even further.
It’s both good for your skin and for the environment to try and be a bit more mindful of how long you take in the shower. Try to cut back on your shower time and see if it helps to alleviate your itch.
If you really value your daily soaking time, you can switch from a shower to a bath. Taking a bath gives you a little bit more control over the temperature—or at least means the water will cool down over time even if you start hot, giving your skin less exposure to potentially too-hot and drying water.
3. Your Water Is Too Hard
Depending on where you live, your water composition can be very different. You may have noticed this if you’ve moved between countries, states, or even just cities in the past. Some places may leave you with effortlessly full and frizz-free hair, while in other places, you feel like you’ve never had so many bad hair days in a row. This likely isn’t much to do with your routine, but instead the properties of water in different areas!
The same also applies to your skin. If you live somewhere with hard water, it can have a negative impact on your skin barrier and cause your skin to itch after you shower. Hard water refers to the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water. Hard water isn’t dangerous as such, and you can and probably do drink it, depending on where you live.
But hard water can also make it more difficult to get fully clean, so you may be overdoing it when it comes to body wash which can be drying—and in general, hard water can be harsher to your skin than other types of water.
There isn’t much you can do to change the type of water where you live, at least not much that’s affordable, so if you feel like hard water is the issue, you might want to pay a little extra attention to your bath products. Because it’s pretty much dry and irritated skin that’s making you itch, loading up on uber-hydrating bath products like our Signature Body Bars Variety Pack can help soothe your skin as you shower so it’s calmer when you get out.
4. You Shower Too Much
“Is there even such a thing?” You might be asking. Turns out, there totally is! While it’s obviously good to shower after strenuous exercise or anything that makes you particularly sweaty, showering daily when your activity level is low might just exacerbate the dryness and irritation that causes your skin to itch after you shower.
5. You Have Sensitive Skin
It’s possible that your itchiness isn’t due to any particular issue in your showering routine, but instead down to the fact that your skin is sensitive in general. That means that things that might not cause other people any issues can actually trigger irritation, redness, and yes, itchiness after you shower.
The best thing to do for your sensitive skin is to be extra vigilant about caring for it! While it may take you some trial and error to find products gentle and simple enough to bring you relief rather than further irritation, once you figure out what works for you and your sensitive skin, you’ll never go back!
In fact, there’s actually a difference between having sensitive skin and sensitized skin. If your skin hasn’t been reactive your whole life, it’s possible that your skin is just in a temporary state of reactivity brought on by a product or process that doesn’t agree with it. If you have only recently started experiencing negative reactions from your skin, it might be worth paring down your shower routine and reintroducing any products you use one by one to see if anything is causing the reaction, or if the problem is something else.
If your skin is sensitive, using shower products that are geared toward your skin type is key! Our Oatmeal and Honey Body Bar is a great way to get squeaky clean when you shower while soothing your skin and keeping it super moisturized, which may help lessen any negative reaction your skin might have when you step out of the shower.
6. Irritating Laundry Detergent
No, we don’t mean the detergent is just getting on your nerves. Along the same lines as having sensitive skin, sometimes itchy skin after showering is due to what happens after you shower rather than during. What’s the first thing you do when you get out of your shower?
Unless you shake dry like a dog, it’s likely to reach for your coziest bath towel and either wrap yourself up or pat yourself down. Maybe you even reach for a luxurious robe to help you dry off.
Whatever it is you use to get yourself dry after you shower, you (hopefully) wash it on a regular basis, and so your itchy skin may actually be due to a component in your laundry detergent that’s irritating your skin.
Take some time to look into the label on your laundry detergent. Some detergents, especially cheap ones, tend to contain lots of irritating ingredients, like preservatives, dyes, or strong fragrances. The itching you experience post-shower might be coming from direct contact with residual detergent rather than your actual shower.
7. You’re Too Clean
Not all body cleansers are formulated with your skin’s health in mind! Even if you’ve been using one particular kind of body soap your entire life, our skin changes as we age. When you’re younger, your skin is refreshing itself more frequently, and it’s also producing much more of things like collagen and elastin, which are key to giving your skin that youthful glow, and keeping it hydrated. It’s why you don’t really remember needing a skincare or moisturizing routine as a kid, or even as a teen, depending on luck and genetics—it’s because you didn’t need it!
Because our skin changes as we age, what worked for you five years ago may not work so well now. If you’re finding your skin dry and itchy after a shower, try a gentler cleanser. Some body cleansers can actually get your skin so clean that it strips it of necessary moisture and oils, leaving your skin thirsty and crying out for attention when you emerge from the shower—hence the itch.
8. Certain Skin Conditions
You probably already know if you have eczema, but you might not have thought about how your shower can exacerbate the condition. Because eczema causes intense dryness and irritation to parts of your skin, long periods of time under a spray of hot water might exacerbate it, triggering the reaction you’re having when you step out of the shower.
It’s worth moving your body moisturizer into the bathroom if you have this problem so that as soon as you pat yourself dry you can hydrate your skin right away, so the dryness doesn’t have too long to cause damage and discomfort. If you’re not happy with your moisturizer, it’s always worth speaking to your dermatologist for recommendations on what product is going to work best with your skin condition.
While we all love a long, hot shower, it could be that this exact thing is causing itchy skin after showering. The best way to tackle the issue is deconstructing your shower routine and breaking it down into its core parts, so you can do everything you can to promote skin hydration and health throughout the process.
No matter what the root cause is, most problems that cause itchiness after you shower come down to a lack of proper moisture in your skin, so making sure every step of your showering process is designed to be kind to your skin will go a long way toward restoring your shower time to your favorite part of the day. No itchiness required.