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When you hopped into the shower this morning, chances are you didn’t give a lot of thought to the water temperature. You prepared your shower like you have time and again, perhaps precisely the same for years.

Showers for me range from gloriously relaxing after a particularly intense workout to very rudimentary – in and out as quickly as possible. Now I can add that I’ve learned something about one doctor’s idea of optimum conditions for a maximally healthful experience. So for fun, I thought I’d share this info.

Dr. Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist with the Cleveland Clinic was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. You can read the entire article here.

Bottom line:

Optimum temperature – 112 degrees Fahrenheit. (No, I don’t expect you to carry a thermometer in the shower. Pleasantly warm and not uncomfortably hot seems to be the suggested “just right” heat intensity.)

Yet again this is one of those ‘age dependent’ situations. It seems as we mature, our protective lipid layer replenishes itself at a slower pace. It’s important to do our best to maintain that precious layer as it provides our skin its youthful appearance. So taking two showers a day at 40 may reveal dry patches that simply weren’t there at 20.

I enjoyed Dr. Piliang’s analogy comparing the action of the hot water to washing butter off a knife. In our skin’s case, we want the butter to remain even as we release environmental toxins and bacteria. Sadly, according to the doctor, applied emollient products don’t effectively replace the oils we lose.

As for that quick 15-second blast of cold water at the end of the shower – seems it may be great for aligning the keratin on the hair, giving it a smooth appearance that better reflects light. And cold water splashed on the face after the facial pores are nice and clean may close them up tight for a more vibrant look.

On a bit more serious note, while you may have a world class filter on your tap water in the kitchen where you and your family drink, unfortunately showering in water that contains chlorine or chloramines may present a substantial health risk – one you may not have considered. Please give some thought to the purchase of a shower filter. It will greatly improve those precious benefits of shower-time even more!

Here’s to your clean and radiant health!