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To make your showering space truly calming, clean up the clutter and add mood-boosting touches. A potted plant helps to purify the air, increase productivity, and boost psychological well-being . The glow and scent of a good candle is calming (and you get bonus points if it turns into a potted herb garden after burning it, as Esker’s does).
This is one of those prep steps that may not be enjoyable for everyone (actually, does anyone really, truly love rubbing bristles over their body?), but the rewards are well worth it. You’ve likely heard that dry brushing boosts lymphatic flow. It can also stimulate collagen and might even help reduce screen time use . But did you know it can make your body products more effective? “I start with dry brushing before my shower to remove dead skin cells that would prevent full absorption of my shower creams,” says Dr. Russak. “Dry brushing also increases blood flow to the surface of the skin, which aids in absorption.” Just remember, especially in the winter, that those skin cells you’re buffing away are there to protect you. Removing them might lead to irritation, so exfoliate with caution and nix this step if your skin seems irritated.
According to almost every derm I spoke to, the perfect power shower expires after exactly 10 minutes. “While we all love the idea of a long, hot shower, especially as the weather gets cooler, it’s important to remember that prolonged exposure to water, and hot water in particular, can be irritating and drying to the skin,” says Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD , a New York City board-certified dermatologist who works with the skin-care brand CeraVe. Plus, when the point of a shower is to pep yourself up, brief is better. “Ten minutes will leave you feeling fresh, invigorated and alert,” confirms Tsippora Shainhouse , MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Beverly Hills.
Subjecting yourself to frigid water is likely the last thing you want to do in the dead of winter, but hear me out: The benefits are major, and it gets easier every time you do it. Proponents of this practice believe that “environmental stress” (e.g., an icy shower) is one of the missing pillars of health. And research shows the frigid temps can increase your tolerance to stress , and even alleviate and prevent depression (to reap the feel-good benefits, researchers recommend two to three minutes of 68°F water, preceded by a five-minute gradual adaptation to that temperature). Looking for a more immediate cosmetic benefit? Cool off with ice-cold H2 O for the last 30 seconds of your shower to give your face a more youthful and refreshed look. Michele Green, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York, previously told Well + Good that a cold shower “tightens the pores and … seals in moisture.”
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