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Why Does Dead Skin Come Off After a Shower?

Nothing beats a hot shower to energize you in the morning or to relax you at the end of the day. But hot showers may also leave your skin dry and flaky afterward, causing dead skin to rub off after showering.

Moreover, your shower products and overall shower routine can cause dry and flaky skin too. Your legs, arms, and even your face and scalp can be affected.

But dead skin peeling after a shower is more common than you might think. Here’s everything to know about treating and preventing dead skin from coming off after a shower.

dead skin

Why Does My Skin Rub Off After a Shower?

There can be two primary reasons why your skin might be rubbing off after you shower.

  • Desquamation

Desquamation is a natural process in which skin cells form, shed, and replace themselves within 14 to 28 days. This process called “cell turnover” happens every second. In most cases, it’s not even noticeable. Dead skin cells fall off like dust and aren’t visible. Sometimes, though, you can see visual effects of desquamation as white flakes appear on your skin after a shower.

  • Dry Skin

If you have dry skin, whether it’s your skin type or the result of common shower routine mistakes, you will see that your skin will flake, crack, and peel after you take a shower. Most of the time, dry skin is not a problem, but it can be bothersome. The last thing anyone wants after a shower is for cracks and scales to appear on their bodies and especially their face.

In any case, it’s better to treat your dry, peeling skin earlier rather than wait for it to cause serious cracks, redness, and inflammation.

Reasons for Dry Skin And Peeling of Dead Skin Cells After a Shower

Whenever you notice flaky dead skin cells after a shower, something in your shower routine is likely to cause dry skin. Possible causes include:

  • You’re always taking hot showers. Hot shower strips off your skin’s natural oils and lipids, damaging your skin faster. This can cause dry skin, which can rub off or peel after a shower.

  • Your shower is taking too long. Taking too long in the shower intensifies the initial reason why your skin becomes dry and flaky. While hot showers are great to start or end the day, if your skin is already dry, they can aggravate flaking and itching.

  • You’re using bar soap. There’s a good chance the bar of soap you’re using causes dry skin. The pH level of most bar soaps is around 10. As a result, soap’s higher alkaline properties don’t sit well with the natural pH level of the skin, which is around 5.5. The mismatch can disrupt the skin’s natural balance, causing dryness, irritation, and peeling after a shower.

  • It might be your other shower products. In addition to your bar soap, the products you use in the shower can also have a huge impact on the condition of your skin afterward. Certain body washes and shower gels contain ingredients that may be harsh on the skin. Additionally, leaving these products on your skin for too long can remove natural oils, resulting in dry, rough, and flaky skin after a shower.

How to Stop Dead Skin from Peeling After a Shower

No one wants to see dry and peeling skin after every shower. The good news is, this condition is treatable and preventable. Use these tips to prevent dry skin and dead skin peeling after showering.

  • Shower with lukewarm water and keep your showers short.

It might be tempting to take long, steamy showers, but doing so can disrupt your skin’s natural condition. Showering with lukewarm water is a much better choice if you want to seal moisture and avoid flaky, peeling skin afterward.

  • Take a look at the ingredients of your shower products.

Replace your usual shower products with gentle, fragrance-free kinds. If you experience dry and peeling skin after a shower, avoid using products that contain these ingredients: retinoids, alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), and alcohol.

Using moisturizing body washes and shower gels with a pH-balanced formula will also help retain moisture while showering.

  • Use a clean towel and pat dry after a shower. 

After you shower, use a clean, soft towel to dry the skin. Avoid rubbing to prevent irritation or stripping off your skin’s essential hydration. Instead, gently pat your skin dry.

  • Follow with a moisturizer.

Showering will always leave your skin slightly dry afterward, but incorporating moisturizer in your shower routine can replenish the hydration your skin lost during a shower. To help trap much-needed moisture on your skin, apply moisturizers, lotions, or creams a few minutes after drying off after a shower.

Our Top Pick
Curél Hydra Therapy Moisturizer
$14.99 ($1.25 / Fl Oz)

This wet skin lotion with advanced ceramide complex and Vitamin E provides best-in-class moisturization and skin restoration. Recommended for dry and itchy skin. Can be applied in-shower.

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02/18/2024 08:19 am GMT

Will Exfoliating Help Rub Off Dead Skin?

As mentioned above, your skin undergoes a natural process or cycle where it sheds. The process is simple: the old dead skin is being replaced with the new one.

Occasionally, dead skin may not shed completely, leaving you with dry patches and flaky skin. Thankfully, exfoliation can help remove dead skin cells.

Exfoliators can come in different forms: natural and mechanical, or chemical treatments.

  • Chemical Exfoliators 

Chemical exfoliation may sound harsh to the skin, but it is actually a gentle way to remove dead skin cells. The only drawback, however, is that it is fairly easy to overdo it. Common chemical exfoliators are AHAs, BHAs, and enzyme peels.

Our Top Pick
First Aid Beauty Body Scrub
$12.00 ($6.00 / Ounce)
Gluten-free formula with 10% AHA and vitamin E that nourishes and protects skin makes this body scrub a perfect solution for dry, normal, and sensitive skin.
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02/18/2024 04:08 pm GMT

You might be wondering why we previously told you to avoid shower products that contain AHAs. It’s because AHA is an ingredient you should only use sparingly, twice, or thrice per week. If you use an AHA-containing shower product every day, your skin may become over-exfoliated, dry, and flaky.

  • Mechanical Exfoliators

Mechanical exfoliators are those you use to remove dead skin physically. Some options include dry brushing, a soft washcloth, and exfoliating scrubs and beads.

You can purchase exfoliating scrubs, but you can also make them yourself, like simple salt scrubs, sugar scrubs, and even coffee scrubs. But make sure that they are still gentle on the skin. Avoid excessive rubbing that can leave your skin red and irritated.

Beware: Exfoliating is great for getting rid of dead skin cells, but too much exfoliation can actually damage your skin.

Chantelle Farrell

Chantelle is a professional cosmetologist who runs her own skin care clinic Amaranthine Aesthetics. She specializes in anti-aging treatment and natural skin care procedures that restore skin beauty and keep it healthy over time.

As a skin care expert, Chantelle enjoys sharing her advice about reliable skin care products, techniques, and aftercare procedures. She believes that everyone should take care of their body and skin and can do that effectively when armed with proper knowledge.

About Loo Academy

At Loo Academy, our mission is to offer trusted advice for everything related to bathrooms (design ideas, plumbing advice, showering & bathing tips, remodeling guides, and more) — a place where we all spend a great deal of time.

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