A hot shower is supposed to refresh your skin and cleanse you from head to toe, but what do you do when you step out covered in a white film once you close the tap?
Why do you have a white deposit on your skin? Is it dangerous or permanent? How do you get rid of it, and how do you prevent it from happening?
Let’s find out!
Why Is My Skin White After a Shower?
There are a few reasons why your skin might have turned a pasty white color after a shower. Knowing what is causing your skin to form a white film can help you avoid it and treat your skin when it does happen.
Reason #1. A Hard Water Shower
More than 85% of the U.S. has hard water in their pipes. This is when the water has a high mineral content, especially calcium carbonate and other minerals like fluoride.
When there are too many of these minerals in the water, it can lead to a deposit forming on surfaces that are exposed to the water such as your shower walls, shower door, faucet, and your skin. This is the most common way that white powder appears on the skin.
Reason #2. Skin Dehydration
Hearing that a shower can dehydrate your skin can sound really strange, given that you’re standing under a shower of water! However, water leeches moisture from the body, causing white skin after showering.
This is why your skin will take on a wrinkly appearance when you spend too much time in the bath or under the shower. The necessary fluids are drained from your skin, resulting in dry and cracked skin afterward.
Really hot showers tend to be the worst for dehydrating your skin, and this can leave you with a white discoloration of your skin. It can even appear as a white film that rubs off from your skin.
Reason #3. Shedding Skin Cells
While the body naturally sheds skin cells as a renewal process, showering can cause more skin cells to be shed all at once, which can result in a powdery white appearance on your skin. Hot water tends to encourage this process more than cooler water temperatures do, so if you like a hot shower, chances are you will experience this massive skin shedding.
Reason #4. Temperature Discoloration
With extremely hot water temperatures, the skin may change color, turning a pasty white color. This can result from the blood flow becoming restricted to the skin with capillaries closing, causing the skin and extremities like the nail beds to whiten.
Reason #5. Soap pH
An often neglected reason for white deposits on the skin after showering is from an incompatibility between your skin pH and the pH of your shower cream, gel, or soap. When your body rejects the soap you use, it may create a defensive barrier that appears as a white film on your skin.
Changing soap or shower gel may have a massive improvement to your post-shower skin appearance.
Is White Film on the Skin After a Shower Dangerous?
Having a white film form on your skin after a shower is not dangerous in itself as this film or dead skin cells will be removed if you towel dry effectively. However, if you air dry, there can be a buildup of dead skin cells that may eventually create smegma in certain parts of your body such as the folds of your skin.
Additionally, white film on your skin can also lead to further dermatitis and dry skin if you don’t replenish the natural oils in your skin after the shower, which is why rubbing on a lotion or skin treatment is so vital.
Air drying when hard water has created a white film on your skin can have other negative effects as the mineral deposits eventually block your skin pores and lead to chemical burns in extreme cases. The minerals in shower water can also interact with your other beauty care products, leading to a chemical reaction and skin breakout.
How to Prevent and Treat White Film on the Skin After a Shower
Once you know what is causing the white film on your skin when you shower, you can decide what to do about it. Here are some preventions and supportive treatments.
If Your Shower Water Is Hard
When you know you have hard water in your area, it is important to fit a water purifier into your shower head. This will help filter the minerals from your shower water before your skin comes into contact with these. There are other options to soften hard water in the shower such as using sodium or potassium chloride water softeners, water filters, and conditioners.
To treat your skin after a shower in hard water, it is important to thoroughly towel dry as this will remove some of the white mineral deposits. Then apply a good quality skin moisturizing lotion to replace some of the lost skin oils and ensure your skin remains flexible.
If Your Skin Is Dehydrated
When your skin has been dehydrated after a long shower, it can also form a white film. Avoid this by timing yourself in the shower and using a milder temperature setting for your shower water.
To treat your dehydrated skin, using a soothing tissue oil and skin balm will help replace some of your skin’s lost moisture, which will encourage normal skin development.
If You Have Shedding Skin Cells
If your shower has induced a massive shedding of skin cells due to the water temperature and removal of essential skin oils and bacteria, it is essential to take steps to prevent this from happening again.
You could try showering every second day, instead of daily. This would give your skin enough time to rebuild the lost sebum it needs for elasticity and moisture.
When your skin has shed dead skin cells, it is essential to towel your body vigorously to restore blood circulation and remove the dead cells. Applying a soothing skin lotion will seal your skin and restore the natural skin shedding routine.
If You Experience Temperature Discoloration
Hot showers can make you red like a tomato, but they can also make you go white and pasty. Your fingertips will especially suffer from the sudden temperature differences. If you demand to have your hot shower, follow it up with some cool temperature shower water for the last two minutes of your shower.
When you step out of the shower, use your towel to massage some circulation back into your extremities and skin. Next, apply some moisturizing body lotion to repair any damage due to oil loss from your skin.
If Your Soap pH Is a Problem
Your soap pH can have serious side effects on your skin. A white film due to soap buildup can lead to acne, breakout, and dry skin. Rinse with cool water. If you suspect the cause of the white film on your skin is soap buildup, be sure to scrub with a plain body brush without any soap.
Treat any resulting breakouts with an appropriate skin lotion and change your soap to be safe.
What NOT to Do When Your Skin Is White After a Shower
If you find your skin has formed a white film after a shower, it is important not to shower again in an attempt to remove the white film unless the film is a result of soap buildup.
Be careful of air drying to avoid a white film as this can lead to a buildup of dead skin cells and result in smegma.