Why Do Hot Showers Cause Acne?

The question of whether or not hot showers cause acne has been a source of contention for many years. The heat from the water causes pores to open, which can result in clogged hair follicles and the growth of bacteria on the skin. 

Others believe that cold water causes acne because when you step out of the shower, the temperature of your skin changes rapidly.

This can cause blackheads or pimples that are already present on your skin to become more inflamed. Let us continue reading to uncover the truth about why this occurs!

Why Hot Showers Can Cause Acne

The Water Is Too hot or Too Cold

Water that is too hot can cause the skin to dry out, which can irritate acne. If you are standing under the showerhead, your pores are open and therefore more likely to absorb anything that comes into contact with them. 

If this is something other than water (soap or shampoo), it might irritate the skin on your face, leading to breakouts. This includes hot water as well! 

Hot showers may cause pores to become clogged by oils from soaps and shampoos, leaving a film over time, resulting in acne sufferers experiencing an increase in their breakout frequency due to pore blockages caused by these products. 

You Shower Too Frequently

Over-showering is a common cause of acne on the face, especially in women. If you are showering several times a day, your skin may become stressed and unable to cope. 

Make an effort to reduce the number of showers you take each week and see if this has an impact on your acne symptoms. Also, make certain that you are taking a sufficient amount of time in the shower. 

Acne outbreaks can occur if you spend an excessive amount of time in hot water, causing your pores to become clogged with oil and dirt and resulting in breakouts, but not washing well enough can also cause acne.

Your Shampoo & Conditioner are to Blame

Those that use the wrong type of shampoo for their body are more prone to acne. When it comes to both shampoo and conditioner, the one thing that you should do is avoid those that cause build-up on your skin, as this will lead to breakouts more than anything else. 

By building up, we mean a thick residue that does not wash away easily with water alone. Those products typically contain sulfate or silicone ingredients responsible for the accumulation of dirt and oil on skin surfaces leading to clogged pores resulting in pimples and blackheads.

If you believe your shampoo could be triggering acne breakouts I highly recommend taking a look at our team’s top shampoos for acne. This list has shampoo selections based on all hair and skin types including picks for people who color their hair, are balding, and much more!

Water Quality

On top of the other shower factors that could be contributing to skincare issues, water quality is one that should be looked into as well. Areas with hard water might have higher concentrations of minerals and calcium that can affect our skin and make the products we use less effective.

To combat this, it is recommended to have a water filter for the shower to help prevent some of these effects of hard water.


Hot showers can cause acne because they dry out the skin. If you have acne, try taking warm to cold showers and ensuring your body is moisturized well after each shower. 

Never use hot water when washing your face, and avoid using harsh soaps or body washes on areas with acne -Use an oil-free moisturizer to lock in the skin’s natural moisture after showering.

Frequently Asked Questions

How warm should my shower temperature be?

Shower water should be warm, not hot. The ideal water temperature for acne treatment is between 95°F and 105°F (35-40°C).

Can chlorine cause acne?

Chlorine can produce chloramines that trigger acne breakouts. Chlorine itself cannot contribute to breaking out of pimples directly, but when mixed with oils, it creates chemicals that may lead to more severe outbreaks.

Can steam cause acne?

You should not let yourself remain in the steamy environment for more than five minutes because that could worsen breakouts. It is best if you keep long showers under ten minutes or so – just enough time to get clean!

Originally Published: November 16, 2021

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I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their acne naturally. If you cannot easily find an answer to your question on the website, please reach out to me by email ([email protected]) or send me a message on Instagram or Twitter. I will reply within 24 hours.

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sam wood is GoodGlow's Chief Editor
Analyzed by Sam Wood
Hi I’m Sam Wood. I’m the chief editor, lead acne expert, and health coach behind GoodGlow. I’m also an author of one of the top selling acne books on Amazon, a husband, father of two, and a pretty good cook!

I’m so glad you found GoodGlow and hope the information I have spent the last 10 years cultivating will help you clear your skin and improve your overall health.

I began experiencing acne breakotus as a sophomore in high school, but unlike most of my friends, my acne actually got worse as I got into my 20s. I exercised regularly, ate healthy (or so I thought) and spent hundreds of dollars a month on high end skincare products and supplements to help clear my skin. Despite these measures my acne breakouts and scarring only got worse as the years wore on.

This greatly wore on my self confidence and mental health. Simple things like taking pictures or going out with a large group made me feel self conscious. So I avoided these situations whenever I could help it.

As a last ditch effort I decided to try an extremely restrictive diet recommended by a close friend with an autoimmune disease. After following this diet for about two months my skin started to clear for the first time in over 8 years. The good news is that this restrictive diet is not actually necessary for 99% of people to permanently clear their skin, and over the course of a few months I was able to add back about 90% of my “normal diet”.

After clearing my skin I spent the next 4 years self experimenting on myself with different diets, supplements, skincare products to try and find a pattern for what was triggering my acne breakouts. I even tried different meditation, ice baths, and accupuncture to try and isolate the root cause of the breakouts.

In the end I realized that an extremely restrictive diet was not necessary for clear skin. The most important thing to do is to avoid inflammatory foods in your diet. Some common examples of this are fried foods, alcohol, sugar, and dairy.

Most impoirtantly I stopped reading trendy websites for skincare advice and began reading medical journals authored by dermatologists and nutritionists. Although the information in the articles was great the information was not easily understandable to most readers (including me). I spent hours dissecting individual posts and looking up terms I did not understand. Over the next 6 months I gradually began to understand these journals and started self experiemting some of the research on myself.

After experiencing quite a bit of success personally, I started sharing my research on forums and with close friends struggling with acne. When I shared the research it was in easy to understand, plain English. Everyone I talked to loved what I had to say and kept asking more and more questions. So I decided to start a blog so I could just send someone a link when they asked a question instead of rewriting something I had sent 100 times before 😅

While the same directional principles apply to everyone, acne is very personal and should be treated on an individual basis. That’s ultimately why I created GoodGlow. To help everyone reverse engineer the root cause of their acne and clear their skin permanently.

To date I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their skin using a natural, holistic approach. If you are unable to find an answer to your question in any of the articles my team has written please reach out and I will do my best to guide you to the proper information and resources so you can make a thoughtful, informed decision. Read more of Sam's articles.

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