When you get ready to hop into the shower, what’s the first thing you do? If you’re like most people, your first step is probably reaching into the shower and cranking the water temperature to HOT. As you know, a hot shower can be a super relaxing, comforting way to start your day or end your night. But what if I told you taking a hot shower is not the best idea for you and your skin, and COLD water is actually the better choice? I know just thinking about the idea of taking a cold shower may send shivers down your spine, but there are so many cold shower benefits you may be missing out on when you decide to turn your shower knob to hot instead.
Keep reading to learn more about cold shower benefits and why you should make the switch from hot to cold water.
Why is My Shower Temperature so Important?
The debate between using hot vs. cold water in the shower is one that has been discussed at great length. And while different people have different preferences, it really comes down to one truth: no matter what temperature you use, your shower has the power to greatly affect the look and feel of your skin. Similar to the way you use skin care products and beauty tools on a daily basis, repeated use of any substance on your skin is sure to make a difference. However, there is one temperature preference that has a more negative impact. Now, hot showers may be the more comfortable option, especially when the weather is chilly, and they’re definitely hard to give up. But there are many reasons you should make the switch to cold showers that we’ll discuss soon. But first, let’s unravel the scary truth about hot showers.
What is so Bad About a Hot Shower?
We all know how great it feels to take a long, hot shower to give your body a nice wash and help you feel at ease. But the truth is: immersing your body in hot water can actually cause more harm than good. In fact, hot showers can cause damage to the skin cells on the outermost layer of your skin, the epidermis, which can result in visible skin issues like uneven skin tone and rough texture. Not only can this visible damage be super frustrating to prevent and fix, but it can even make your skin appear older.
Along with damaging your epidermis, taking a hot shower can also:
- Inflame the skin, causing redness, itchiness, and other irritation
- Wash away healthy oils from your skin, leaving it more vulnerable to outside aggressors like the sun and other pollutants
- Prevent moisture from soaking into your skin, which can leave you with dry patches and fine lines
Dr. Alain Michon, Medical Director at the Ottawa Skin Clinic, further explains, “extreme temperatures can cause various skin conditions and health issues, especially when hot. Hot water and long showers can strip your skin’s natural oils, which leads to dry and flaky skin. In addition, long-term overexposure to hot water can worsen skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and dandruff.”
So, if you’re someone who experiences dryness, redness, or other signs of irritation on your skin, the best solution may be as simple as swapping out your hot shower for a cold one.
Why Should I Turn the Temperature Down?
I’m sure you’ve heard about the benefits of ice baths and cold exposure (there’s a reason professional athletes and high-profile celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow turn to ice-cold baths). But if not, here’s a little refresher. Meant to help your body recover from exercise and improve your overall health, immersing yourself in cold water can help increase circulation, enhance your quality of sleep, and help relax your muscles.
But what you may not know is that cold exposure actually has many beauty benefits too. However, you don’t need to dunk yourself in an iced-filled bath — in fact, an ice bath is usually too cold and harsh for the thin, delicate skin on your face. You can just step into a cold shower instead. Now, cold showers are definitely not as intense as a freezing cold bath. But turning the water temperature down to below 70 degrees Fahrenheit does have the power to improve the overall appearance of your skin.
In fact, Italy-based makeup artist Laura Roncagli says: “Cold water constricts blood vessels, which reduces the swelling and redness that often occurs with acne. It also helps remove any [excess] sebum or oils on the skin’s surface, and it closes pores to prevent dirt and bacteria from getting inside.” (We’ll learn more about this later on!)
Needless to say, cold showers can be totally transformative for your skin. Here are just a few more benefits you should know about:
Cold Shower Benefit #1
Immune System Support for Healthy-looking Skin
As you get older, your immune system naturally begins to weaken. This can make you more vulnerable to getting sick, slow down your healing process, and even increase your risk of developing more serious illnesses like autoimmune disorders. But making the switch to cold showers has been shown to help give your immune system the boost it needs as you age. As you may already know, when you turn the temperature down in the shower, your body shivers to regulate your body temperature. This process not only encourages circulation in your body, but it also stimulates your immune system to keep it working. Not to mention, that stimulation can even give you a little energy boost! So even on the days when you don’t feel your best, taking a cold shower can make all the difference in your immunity and your energy levels.
As for your skin, a healthy immune system is key to promoting a healthy complexion and a younger look. And that’s because a properly functioning immune system promotes a healthy skin microbiome — AKA the microorganisms that live on your skin’s surface and directly influence the health and appearance of your skin. But the benefits don’t stop there! In fact, a healthy immune system is also known to:
- Help protect your skin against infections and irritation for a healthy-looking complexion
- Fight off bacteria that cause breakouts to promote clearer, smoother-looking skin
- Help prevent dryness, redness, and irritation for a more youthful appearance
Needless to say, when you make the switch to cold showers, not only will you help your immune system keep you healthy, but your skin will also be on its way to looking and feeling its best.
Cold Shower Benefit #2
An Increase in Blood Flow for a More Youthful Glow
Another way cold showers improve your overall health is by helping to increase blood flow in your body. When you step into cold water, you may experience a little feeling of shock. And that little shock is exactly what you need to jumpstart circulation and keep blood flowing throughout your body. You see, good blood flow ensures that your entire body is full of oxygen and working properly. But poor blood flow means your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to work — which can show up visibly on your skin, making it look dull and tired. It can even contribute to the appearance of dark under-eyes and other premature signs of visible aging.
So, if you’re someone who’s constantly trying to combat dull skin, you should look for effective ways to increase your blood flow — and taking a cold shower may just be the solution. Because of its ability to increase blood flow in your entire body, cold showers help your skin appear brighter with a more youthful glow. And along with helping you get back to the healthy-looking skin of your youth, increasing blood flow from a cold shower can also:
- Help your skin cells get rid of toxins, excess oil, and other daily impurities that can cause visible signs of aging
- Promote an overall decrease in redness and puffiness for a brighter complexion
When you take cold showers, you encourage blood flow for a properly functioning body and help your skin maintain its youthful glow all day long. And who wouldn’t want that?
Cold Shower Benefit #3
Lock in Moisture for a More Hydrated Complexion
As you get older, your skin naturally begins to lose its water content as cell renewal begins to rapidly slow down. This loss in water can result in visible signs of aging including fine lines, wrinkles, and dry patches. And while retaining moisture in your skin may seem like a lost cause as you age, there are still many steps you can take to help rehydrate your skin. And that’s where cold showers come in. As you know by now, taking a cold shower can significantly improve the look and feel of your skin overall. But one of the most impressive cold shower benefits is its ability to help keep your skin hydrated. Unlike hot showers, taking a cold shower can actually help seal in natural oils on your skin. And by locking in moisture with a cold shower, you’re ensuring your skin remains hydrated and healthy.
Not only does moisture retention promote an overall more supple appearance, but it also:
- Softens skin’s texture for a smoother look and feel
- Helps visibly plump and firm skin to reduce the appearance of sagginess
- Promotes a refreshed complexion that appears free from visible signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles
Not to mention, Roncagli notes, “taking a cold shower can [also] help improve your skin complexion by shrinking pores and toning the skin.”
Needless to say, when you take a cold shower, you give your skin all of the tools it needs to remain looking healthy, glowing, and hydrated. I know this information can be a little overwhelming, but obtaining all the benefits of a cold shower is much easier than you might think. (Keep reading to learn more!)
How to Maximize Cold Shower Benefits:
Switching completely to cold showers may seem uncomfortable and maybe not the most relaxing feeling. But remember: a “cold” shower is any shower temperature that’s under 70 degrees Fahrenheit — not anywhere near freezing. Now thankfully, that doesn’t sound too cold. But if you’re used to warmer showers, we recommend easing into the cold shower method by simply turning your usual warm water to cold during the last 30 seconds of your shower. (We recommend doing this each morning so your skin can be at its best all day long.) If you can make it for 30 seconds on the first day, try turning the temperature down for an entire minute the next day. Lowering the temperature in small increments over time will help your body acclimate to the colder water, and you’ll be loving your cold showers in no time.
Pro tip: if saying goodbye to your warm showers altogether is too much for you, you can always try washing only your face with cold water. Instead of warming up the water before your morning and nighttime skin care routine, try making it cold instead. While it may feel a little shocking at first, this method can totally transform your skin and leave you looking and feeling your best. Plus, using cold water in the morning can help wake you and your skin up — helping you look and feel energized all day long.
How Else Can I Get Refreshed, Glowing Skin?
If you want to further increase the benefits you get from taking a cold shower, there are several skin care products you can add to your routine. Combining a cold shower with fast-acting skin care will not only increase your chances of getting a smoother, brighter complexion, but it will ensure your skin looks and feels its absolute best, too. Here are a couple of skin care options that will leave you with a healthy-looking, youthful glow you won’t find anywhere else:
If you want to attain an even more “awakened” appearance, you should opt for a serum that focuses on your eye area. For example, a product designed to brighten the appearance of your under-eyes will not only leave you with an overall younger look, but it can help reduce the look of puffiness and get you even closer to the glowing complexion you’ve been dreaming of. When shopping for a new under-eye product, you should look for an antioxidant-rich formula that helps firm and refresh the appearance of your eyes — making your skin look more radiant and youthful than ever.
If you want to enhance the moisture-sealing benefit of taking a cold shower, you should try using a hydrating gel moisturizer designed to deeply penetrate your skin for a more supple appearance. Not only will using a powerful moisturizer help lock in hydration, but it can visibly smooth texture and promote a glowing complexion, too. When searching for a new facial moisturizer, you should look for hyaluronic acid or, its salt-form derivative, sodium hyaluronate in the ingredients list. And you’ll be left with a more hydrated, younger-looking appearance in no time.
Pro tip: If you really want to lock in moisture, you should apply your hydrating gel during the first minute after stepping out of the shower. This will not only help promote a youthful glow but can take your cold shower benefits to a whole new level. P.S. While we don’t recommend ice facials or directly immersing your face into ice-cold water, keeping your beauty tools, facial rollers, and products in a beauty fridge is another great way to encourage the benefits of using cold water on your skin. (Just make sure your tools aren’t too cold before using them on your face.)
If you’re someone who struggles with dull, tired skin that’s prone to dryness and irritation, you know how frustrating it can be trying to maintain a younger-looking appearance. But as you can see, getting back to the hydrated, glowing, healthy-looking skin of your youth doesn’t have to be so difficult. It may be hard to imagine giving up your hot, comfortable showers, but the truth is: the benefits of taking a cold shower are worth it. Now, changing your water temperature isn’t an end-all-be-all solution to getting younger-looking skin. So it’s essential you pair this method with effective skin care products that further the benefits of a cold shower.
So, the next time you look in the mirror and see redness, dryness, or a tired complexion, give cold showers a try. And eventually, you’ll start to look forward to hopping in the shower and turning the temperature down (even if it’s only for a short minute).
How often do you take the plunge into a cold shower? Have you seen the benefits of turning the temperature down? Let us know in the comments below!