Effects of Long Showers

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A long hot shower causes skin damage and increased energy costs.
A long hot shower causes skin damage and increased energy costs. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Long showers use large amounts of water and energy necessary for water heating. These factors have an ecological effect. However, a long shower, especially with hot water, can have a drying effect on the skin. This drying effect can also have other effects on the skin. Limiting the length and heat of the shower reduces these effects.

Natural Moisturizing Factor

Extensive showering with hot water reduces the natural moisturizing factor of skin, according to Johann Wiechers, a skin specialist. The natural moisturizing factor is a mixture of proteins and other compounds that provide a protective barrier to the skin. The natural moisturizing factor is water soluble and is washed from the skin by extensive showering or swimming.

Topical Treatments

If the natural moisturizing factor barrier is washed away, topical treatments such as skin care lotions or moisturizers penetrate the skin more readily. While this sounds good since the skin treatment is penetrating deeper, it is not. If skin cleaners are used in this situation, the deeper penetration can cause irritation. This can be unpleasant and resemble a rash or other skin irritation.

Water Use

A long shower uses more water. This can be tempered by the use of a low-flow shower head. The standard shower head uses about 3.8 gallons of water per minute while low-flow showers use less than 2 gallons per minute. If an individual takes a 10-minute shower, this amounts to 20 gallons of water saved each day, which is 7,000 less gallons of water used per year per person in the household.

Energy Use

Most people shower in hot water. The low-flow shower head also reduces the amount of energy required to heat the water. A low-flow shower head reduces both water and energy costs. Accomplish the same savings as a low-flow shower head by reducing the length of the shower. Compound the savings by reducing the length of the shower and using a low-flow shower head.

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