What Happens To Your Body When You Stay In The Bath For Too Long

While showers are often short and sweet, a luxurious bubble bath is all about taking your time. A 2016 survey conducted by YouGov found that about 65% of respondents like to soak in a bathtub for a period of 10 to 30 minutes. Preference appeared to differ somewhat by age, with a little over 25% of younger people reporting taking baths lasting longer than 30 minutes. The same was true for only a little more than 10% of older adults.

However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing — including bath time. Dr. Stacy Chimento, board certified dermatologist of Riverchase Dermatology, tells Well+Good, "There are some basics when it comes to taking a bath that people should know to make sure they aren't damaging their skin without meaning to."

While most side effects of a long bath are usually relatively mild, there are cases where skin damage can be more severe (via Hello Giggles). So how long is too long to spend marinating in a tub?

Keep baths under 15 minutes

Soaking in a bath for extended periods of time can leech the body of its natural oils (via Daily Record). According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), this can lead to the development of dry skin, as well as irritation and inflammation, notes Dr. Chimento to Well+Good. Those diagnosed with psoriasis can be particularly susceptible to skin irritation from a long bath (per Daily Record).

If long baths are becoming a daily habit, however, experts say this can potentially lead to more severe skin damage. "In essence, prolonged immersion in water super saturates the skin and can lead to skin breakdown," explains Florida-based dermatologist Dr. Jeffery Fromowitz to Hello Giggles. What makes this skin deterioration possible are the vesicles that form on our skin when we stew in a bath for long stretches of time. Vesicles are pockets of water that form between the dermis and the epidermis. They're the reason your fingertips start to take on the look of raisins after too much time in the pool. Designed to help us grip things more efficiently when wet, vesicles can eventually rupture, exposing the fresh skin underneath and increasing our risk for infection.

Thankfully, there's no need to swear off baths altogether. Instead, Dr. Chimento advises capping bath time at 15 minutes. This way, you can still enjoy baths as a form of self-care — sans the skin irritation.