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Why Do My Eyes Turn Red After a Shower and What to Do?

Red eyes are often caused by allergy or eye fatigue, but what does it mean when your eyes turn red after a shower?

Even though bloodshot eyes after a shower may not be life-threatening, they can involve uncomfortable symptoms like irritation, burning sensation, photosensitivity, greasy eyelashes, and even blurring of your vision.

Fortunately, there are some home remedies and showering tips that will help you avoid getting red eyes after a shower before they become a problem.

red bloodshot eye

Why Do My Eyes Get Bloodshot After a Shower

There are a couple of reasons why your eyes sometimes turn red or itchy after showering.

Shower products like shampoo and soap that get into your eyes while showering can cause bloodshot eyes. When you rub your eyes after using your shower products, some chemicals can cause irritation and itchiness.

But even if you’re using completely safe products or don’t use any products at all, the red eyes might still occur because of your shower water.

Why Shower Water Can Be a Problem?

What causes redness in the eyes isn’t the water itself but what’s in the tap water you’re using.

Shower water can have contaminants, which are not always visible to the naked eye. Undetected, these can affect your body in many ways, including turning your eyes red after a shower.

So, what common contaminants might be in your shower water that cause eye irritation and redness?

  • Chlorine

Most public water supplies, like the tap water in your shower, contain chlorine. And while chlorine is an effective disinfectant, showering with chlorinated tap water can also cause redness in the eyes. Chlorine can cause a burning sensation, especially when the chlorinated water gets in contact with your eyes while showering.

Additionally, the chlorine will most likely be present in the water vapor, which will further irritate and cause redness in the eyes.

Chlorine in water dehydrates your eyes, causing slight redness and will also make your eyes a bit teary. In severe cases, prolonged exposure to chlorinated water will make your eyes sensitive to light for several hours.

  • Hardness Minerals

Another reason why eyes become red after a shower is the hardness minerals in your shower water. If your tap has hard water, then it most likely contains high amounts of dissolved minerals like magnesium and calcium. In some cases, hard water also contains a significant amount of ferrous iron, salts, and other metallic elements.

These raw products are known irritants, especially to your eyes. When hard water gets in contact with your eyes while you shower, the irritants will get into your eyes as well. Whenever you take a shower, these hardness minerals can dry out your eyes, making them itchy and red.

You’ll know if your tap water is hard if there’s mineral residue or white scales forming around your shower, especially on faucets and drains.

  • Allergens and Other Foreign Objects

Like chlorine and hard minerals, shower water can also contain allergens and other foreign objects that can irritate your eyes after a shower. You may be allergic to some types of water contaminants, resulting in symptoms like irritation, swelling, and redness in your eyes.

And while water won’t typically contain dust allergens, there may be dirt and germs in there. Rubbing your eyes after a shower can get those into your eyes and cause them to become watery and red.

Why Do My Eyes Turn Red After a Hot Shower?

Another culprit that causes eyes to become red after a bath or a shower is the water temperature.

Hot showers are relaxing but showering with water that’s considerably warmer than your body temperature expands your blood vessels, resulting in eye redness.

Steam from hot water can cause bloodshot eyes. To avoid getting your eyes burning after a shower, make sure the water is not too hot.

Home Remedies and Tips for Red Eyes After Shower

Usually, eye redness after a shower is temporary. Although it should clear up quickly, there are also some simple remedies and tips that can speed up the process even further.

  • Distilled Water

Water is an effective way to remove or flush out irritants from the eye, but make sure it’s clean. Instead of tap water, which may have caused the redness in the first place, use distilled water.

  • Homemade Eyewash

A homemade eyewash made from distilled water and salt can remove dust particles, pollen, and other foreign objects from the eyes and relieve irritation, itching, and redness. Make a cup of distilled water or boiled water, then add a teaspoon of salt.

Your eyes will clean themselves with this pH-balanced saline solution, which functions the same way as tears. If you make a homemade eyewash, be very careful because contamination can occur, which can further exacerbate the infection that is causing your red eyes.

  • Artificial Tears

Over-the-counter eye drops and medicines like artificial tears will help minimize the symptoms of red and irritated eyes. Artificial tears will lubricate the eyes and alleviate dryness or redness.

  • Cool Compress

A towel soaked in cool water is an incredible way to reduce swelling, irritation, itchiness, and redness in your eyes. But make sure you use a clean towel and distilled water for this remedy to avoid contamination that could only worsen the problem.

Also, be sure to wring out excess water from the towel first and avoid extreme temperatures as the area around your eyes can be particularly sensitive.

  • Warm Compress

If the cool compress doesn’t help, you can take the opposite approach using a warm compress. In the same manner, soak a clean towel in warm water, wring it out, and apply it to your eyes for ten minutes.

Warmth increases blood flow and oil production in the eye area, resulting in better lubrication.

But remember that these are only short-term solutions to ease discomfort and other symptoms brought by red eyes. If you frequently experience irritated, red eyes after a shower, you may need to go beyond these quick fixes.

How to Prevent Water in the Shower from Irritating Your Eyes

The best way to prevent your shower water from irritating your eyes is to remove the contaminants that are at the root of the problem.

  • When excess chlorine in water is the reason why you often get red eyes after a shower, a reverse osmosis system or a carbon filter can help.

  • To deal with hardness minerals in your shower water, installing a water softener is the ideal solution. This filtration system will remove magnesium and calcium that causes hardness in your tap water.

  • For allergens and other objects that may be in the water, filtration systems can also get rid of them.

It’s possible to install a filtration system only in the shower or install a whole-house filtration system for effective water filtration in every tap.

Etinosa Ogbebor

As a general practitioner and family physician at Alberta Health Services, Dr. Etinosa Ogbebor has vast experience in treating patients. She is a highly knowledgeable health care professional with a strong passion for primary medical care.

Her commitment to providing comprehensive medical advice to individuals of varied backgrounds has motivated her to continue learning as her career progresses.

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