Some of you might love a warm shower to feel relaxed and restored at the end of the day, while others may enjoy a cold shower at night or in the morning to feel rejuvenated. No matter which type of shower your body craves and whether you prefer hot water over cold or vice versa, you’ll get out of the shower feeling much refreshed and soothed.
No doubt taking a steamy hot or cold shower has potential health and skin benefits. But have you ever wondered what benefits each type of shower offers?
The temperature of water you should be choosing can have a pronounced impact on your health and wellness. Moreover, it can also influence the way your skin looks and feels. Therefore, knowing the exact benefits of both showers is crucial so you can make the right choice. Keep on reading to discover which shower will work better for you.
Benefits of Cold Showers
Showering water with a temperature range from 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a cold shower. Are you someone who prefers a hot shower over a cold shower? Well, here are the benefits of cold showers that you might be missing out on:
Boosts Circulation - Using cold water on the body aids in accelerating blood flow by constricting the skin's blood vessels. This helps to divert blood circulation away from the surface of the body or the skin. As the blood starts flowing away from the skin, the deeper blood vessels in the connective tissue dilate to maintain body temperature. Consequently, blood circulation to the deeper tissue in the body increases.
We all know why improved blood circulation is good for our body and health. It can be particularly beneficial for people suffering from cardiovascular problems, hypertension, and inflammation.
Reduces Muscle Soreness - Cold showers are pretty popular among fitness enthusiasts and athletes for many reasons. Cold water's anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties can help decrease muscle soreness and fatigue after intense physical activity, such as in sports and workout sessions. In addition, cold water relaxes tense muscles that are common after an intense training session. Athletes commonly use cold water immersion therapy to speed up recovery and muscle repair. As cold water improves microcirculation, it can assist in repairing muscle damage and inflammation.
Potentially Reduces Weight - Some fat cells in the body tend to produce heat in the body by burning fat deposits. This happens when your body is exposed to cold temperatures, such as cold weather conditions and cold showers. These fat cells are common in the neck and shoulder region of the body.
When you take a cold shower, these areas are most exposed to cold water, and thus the breakdown of fat deposits in these parts of the body is triggered. However, showering with cold water alone isn’t going to do much for you if you don’t control your diet and workout.
Reduces Stress and Pain - Cortisol in the body is associated with the body’s fight-or-flight responses and is responsible for stress. When the body produces or releases more cortisol, it leads to stress. Hence, a lower cortisol level is required to keep stress under control; cold showers can help achieve this.
Cold water immersion is linked to a drop in the level of cortisol in the bloodstream. Moreover, cold water showers can also stimulate an automatic pain response in the body, known as stress-induced analgesia. Therefore, it can help lower the pain in the body when you face a stressful stimulus or event.
Improves Skin and Hair - A cold shower can help preserve the body’s natural moisture level as it does not strip the skin and hair of natural oils like hot water. This natural oil or sebum is essential for maintaining healthy skin and hair as they are responsible for sustaining the skin’s lipid barrier.
Hot water can remove sebum from the skin and hair, leaving them dry and damaged. Cold water does the opposite and protects the lipid layer of the skin and hair. Also, cold water is gentler on the skin and hair. The blood vessel-constricting effect of cold water aids in boosting the skin’s glow and suppleness.
Disadvantages of Cold Showers.
- If you’re sick, cold water may be challenging for your immune system. So, it’s better to use lukewarm water while showering to allow your body to adjust to cooler temperatures.
- Too cold water temperature can lower your body temperature excessively and result in reduced breathing rate, lowered blood pressure, decreased consciousness, and heartbeat fluctuations.
Benefits of Hot Shower
While there are countless benefits of taking a cold shower, hot showers also have many health benefits that can entice anyone to go for hot showers after a long day at work or in the morning. Here are some benefits of taking a hot shower:
Improves Sleep - Do you have trouble falling asleep? Hot showers have been known to ease the stress of the day and relax the muscles, helping you fall asleep faster at night. Hot showers can help improve sleep in two ways. First, taking a shower soothes and distresses the body. Second, body temperature drops after a hot shower, which aids in better sleep. This is why a hot shower is a common approach adopted by many for muscle relaxation before bed.
Relieves Cold Symptoms - We are familiar with taking steam to treat cold, cough, and respiratory symptoms.¹ When you take a hot shower, you are surrounded by steam that acts similarly to reduce the complaints of cold, flu, and cough. So, your hot shower routine does not only help you feel relaxed but can also work as a natural remedy for cold. Steam and heat from a hot shower can help open your airways, clear out your nasal passages, and loosen up phlegm.
Clears Blemishes - Hot water and steam can clean and decongest pores, helping to draw out the buildup of gunk, oil, dead cells, makeup residue, and other impurities. This is why steam is used in spas and salons to eliminate blackheads, whiteheads, and blemishes.²
You can achieve the same effect by taking a hot shower. The steam from hot water opens clogged pores, which are the underlying cause of blemishes on the skin. You can exfoliate your skin after a hot shower to remove dirt, dead cells, and other pollutants from the pores, reducing blemishes and blackheads. If you’re worried about hot water stripping your skin of its natural oil, turn down the temperature and apply a hydrating and moisturizing cream afterward.
Enhances Muscle and Joint Health - As mentioned above, hot showers can be beneficial in relieving muscle tension, which aids in soothing tired muscles. This effect of hot showers can help speed up muscle recovery and reduce muscle soreness after a strenuous workout.³ Furthermore, in addition to soothing tired muscles, hot water can also relax the nerves in the body and decrease stiffness in the joints. So, if you have stiff shoulders, ankles, or knees, hop into a hot shower.
Disadvantages of Hot Showers
- A hot shower can draw out moisture from the skin, causing dryness and dehydration. This can harm people with sensitive or dry skin and inflammatory skin problems like psoriasis and eczema.
- The hot temperature of the water can damage the skin’s natural lipid barrier, declining its ability to keep it moisturized and protect the skin from external damage.
- If you have high blood pressure, a hot shower should be the last thing on your list. A hot shower can cause your blood pressure to rise. It can also be bad for those suffering from cardiovascular disease.
Whether you like to take a quick hot shower or a long cold shower, both can help you feel better and provide various health and skin benefits. The temperature of your shower can play an essential role in maintaining the health of your body and skin. The temperature of water you use can carry different benefits, so you should know the benefits and risks of using hot and cold water for showering. This will help you decide what temperature will suit your skin and specific skin concerns. Also, you can reap the health benefits of each type of shower more effectively.
- Healthgrades Editorial Staff. (2021). ‘Respiratory Symptoms’, Healthgrades. Accessed January 14, 2023. Available at: https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/lungs-breathing-and-respiration/respiratory-symptoms
- S. Brooklyn. (2022). ‘How To Treat and Prevent Blackheads’, Sundree. Accessed January 14, 2023. Available at: https://sundree.com/blogs/news/how-to-treat-and-prevent-blackheads
- Sarnataro, Barabra Russi. (2022). ‘Sore Muscles? Don’t Stop Exercising’, WebMD. Accessed January 14, 2023. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/sore-muscles-dont-stop-exercising