White film on the skin after a shower? How to fix it

This is a very peculiar issue and it happens to more people than we think. You might get a white film on the skin after a shower. Seems scrubbing has all been in vain? But has it? Let’s look into it.

White film on the skin after a shower

The reason you have this film on your body is because you’re using hard water to shower in.  Hard water contains a variety of minerals.

These minerals have pros and cons, as a pro, they deliver a variety of minerals to us through the water.

As a con, they give us this white film, can clog pores, cause eczema or dry out the skin. This article will help you find out more about it and what to do about it.

What is hard water?

Hard water is water that is packed with a variety of minerals. These minerals include calcium, iron, aluminium and magnesium.

It is usually found in areas where the water is being pumped from groundwater.

The water runs through lime (chalk) which will add calcium and magnesium to the water.

This water is hard because it comes from groundwater and not from reservoirs. The calcium and other minerals are great for your bones but can be bad for your skin.

How do I know if I have it:

Hard water can manifest in many ways. You can sometimes still see white chalk-like particles in the water as it comes out of the tap.

The chalk will settle soon enough and is safe to drink settled or unsettled. There are a few more things that will alert you that you have hard water:

  • Dry skin
  • Scale on plumbing such as faucets and bathtubs
  • Flat hair
  • White film on the skin, after a shower or bath.
  • Low water pressure.

Does hard water still clean?

It does clean, though you might find that your soaps don’t lather as well as they should.

This might not too bad thing because extra lather can dry out your skin.

That being said, if you are scrubbing your skin too hard you might find that you overdo it and start showing symptoms of over-washing (read more about that here).

Because hard water contains high levels of minerals you will find that your soaps don’t dissolve as much as they should.

The soap has nowhere to go as it isn’t dissolved so it clings to your skin, clothes and hair thus causing that white film that you see.

How hard water affects the skin:

Hard water has a drying effect on the skin. This is caused by calcium, iron and magnesium in the water.

These minerals can also wind up clogging the pores on your skin, and drying it too. If not treated in good time it will head to skin flaking as well as itchy skin.

When exposed to hard water, especially the calcium in hard water, the skins chemistry becomes altered.

This prevents the skin from being able to moisturise itself properly. This is what causes all the negative skin conditions such as dry skin, irritated skin, eczema and itching,

We know of all the retreats that offer mineral water streams and rivers which people can sit in to achieve more beautiful, radiant skin.

This is the same type of water as the hard water coming out of our taps but when we use it the addition of soap it becomes a problem.

The soaps don’t dissolve and don’t wash away, causing the white film. Showering in the water with no soap can actually give the skin great a hydrating experience.

How to deal with hard water?

In the taps:

You can install a water softener in the taps around your home. These taps will filter out the minerals found in the hard water.

This is a simple convenient way to get rid of the problem. Here is one you can use for your shower.

On your skin:

If you choose you can purchase distilled water and store it next to your taps to avoid washing your face with the hard water.

That’s if the hard water is causing that much of a problem.

Don’t over-wash or over-exfoliate your skin. The symptoms of over-washing your skin include dry skin and other skin conditions.

If you can’t change the fact that you have hard water in your taps then you can make a change to your cleanser.

You can rather use a soap-free cleanser to shower with, especially ones that don’t need to lather to get your skin clean.

This soap-free cleanser will cleanse effectively. Here is an article on what to use instead of soap.

To combat the effects of hard water on your skin you can decide to use nutrient-rich moisturizing products which will soften the skin and take away the dry dulling effect that the hard water causes on the skin.

This moisturiser works well

Avoid washing in hot water. Hot water can cause more irritation on the skin (among other things) and showing with hot water, that is also hard water, will be detrimental to your efforts to achieve moisturized hydrated non-filmy skin.

Why is my face dry after a shower?

If your face is dry after your shower and you’ve concluded that it isn’t because of hard after then it’s because your face is stripped of its sebum.

The skin needs to moisturise itself to avoid getting dry. The skin naturally produces sebum (skin oil) which makes the skin softer and moisturises it.

If your face is dry after a shower it means that the hot water has stripped your face of its sebum. When the temperate is high the pores open and the sebum gets stripped from the skin.

How long do your pores stay open after a shower?

Naturally, the pores on your skin will take up to an hour to close on their own.

If you want your pores to close quicker then hop into the shower and take a cool or a cold shower. This will help them close faster.

White film on the skin after a shower

Why does my skin peel in the shower?

The high temperatures of our shower may be causing your skin to peel. High temperatures may result in dry skin and thus peeling of the skin. This is especially true in winter.

There is less moisture in the air during winter and any moisture in your skin will evaporate into the air causing your skin to dry out even more.

You can avoid this by using a moisturising body wash, (this one moisturises quite well), an ultra-hydrating body lotion (this one will get the job done) or you can use a humidifier which will add moisture into the air (this one works well).

You should avoid showing in hot water, lukewarm water is best, you should also exfoliate your skin to get rid of any peeling skin.

Can showering too much cause dry skin?

Yes, showering too much can cause dry skin. This is if you are showering in hot water and you’re using products and tools that are drying and rough on your skin.

Using soap or a drying body wash will dry out your skin and hot water will strip the sebum from your skin making your skin drier than it was when you got into the shower.

The loofas, washcloths or exfoliators we use will remove dead skin cells but too much exfoliation can also remove your healthy skin cells and damage your skins natural moisture barrier giving you dry skin.

Read more on over-exfoliation here.

Is it better to air dry after a shower?

It’s not better to air dry after the shower, the water on your skin takes a while to evaporate off of your skin.

In addition, tap water can be quite drying on your skin and leaving it to dry on its own will make your skin drier

The better choice is to pat dry the skin with a clean, dry towel. If you use a towel that hasn’t dried off properly or has been sitting in your bathroom it can start growing bacteria and fungus.

In addition, roughly drying your skin with a towel is a really bad idea.

You should rather gently pat your skin with the towel, if you choose to reuse your towel from yesterday make sure it dries completely before you use it.

Why does dirt still come off my skin when I dry off after I shower?

If you get out the shower and you realise that there is some dirt on your skin as you’re drying off then it’s probably unexfoliated skin.

The skin on your body needs to be exfoliated just as the skin on your face does.

The washing process removes dirt on the top layer of your skin and when you wipe down with a rough towel the towel exfoliates the skin.

If you want this to stop then exfoliate your skin just before you get out of the shower after you’ve washed the dirt and debris off of your skin.

If you’ve washed the drift and debris off the exfoliator can focus on exfoliating the skin.

You can use a body scrub to do exfoliate your skin, a gentle sugar scrub (like this one) will do wonders at exfoliating the skin.

You can also choose to dry brush your skin, dry brushing great at improving the circulation on your skin. Just remember to clean your brush often and throw it away when it gets old.

Why should you put lotion on after a shower?

You should put lotion on after a shower to keep your skin from drying out.

After your shower, your skin becomes dried out from the hot temperatures and the stripping effects that your shower products have on your skin.

Lotions help to eliminate the problem of dry skin. The lotion brings back moisture into your skin and it makes sure that the moisture in the skin stays locked in.

Lotions are a mix of humectants and occlusives. Humectants (a common one in lotion is glycerine) brings moisture from the environment into your skin penetrating it deeply.

The humectants fill the skin cells with moisture, plumping them up and making your skin supple.

The lotions also contain occlusives, these are oils that seal the moisture into your skin preventing moisture loss from evaporation.

Lotions keep you from itchy, flaky, unsightly and dry skin, they give you soft supple smooth skin.

How often should you shower?

You actually don’t have to shower every day. It may seem kind of gross but it may just be good for you.

Doing too much showering can strip your body of healthy bacteria as well as the natural sebum your skin produces.

It also affects your skins natural microbiome which can affect your overall health.

As we wean ourselves off of regular showing the body learns to regulate itself and the initial odour disappears. Read more about it here.

I wouldn’t suggest that you stop showing every day but showing every second day or even every third day may just be the way to go.

Note that sometimes showering is a must, especially after exercise or if you’re visibly dirty.

You should also shower more often if your body naturally produces a lot of body odour, or if you live in hot temperatures and you sweat a lot.

That being said you should still wash your hands often as the bacteria on your hands can get into your eyes as you rub them, your mouth as you eat or your nose if you touch your nose.

What happens if you don’t shower for weeks?

Although you don’t have to shower every day it isn’t recommended that you go weeks without showing. Especially if you sweat a lot or exercise on a regular basis.

After a couple of weeks, your dead skin cells will accumulate giving you rough and dull-looking skin. A lack of exfoliation may even lead to rashes in some people.

If you’re exposed to dirt and you develop a scratch or a cut on your skin this can lead to an infection if you don’t clean it and monitor it. So you can skip the shower every other day but not for weeks on end.

I hope that this was a helpful and interesting article for you. Now that you know what the white film on your skin is after washing I hope that you find your way around it. If you found this article interesting please share it.

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