Nothing compares to a long warm bath after a cold day. Except an ice-cold shower after a sizzling day out in the summer sun. Regardless of what you prefer, there are a number of potential advantages and disadvantages to the way you take your shower. After reading this article, you may even want to think about changing your showering routine!
Some like it hot: health benefits of hot showers
De-stressing after a long day
As reported by Healthline, when taking a hot shower, the water activates the parasympathetic nervous system which helps relieve tension by relaxing the muscles. Hot showers are also natural sedatives, giving you a better sleep when taken just before going to bed. You can find more sleeping tips in one of our previous articles.
Cleansing the pores
While the main purpose might be to clean your body, hot water and steam also open the pores on your skin and clean the dirt and oils that lead to blemishes. To get the best results, the Independent suggests finishing with cold water for an overall glow.
Easing pains and cold symptoms
Hot water stimulates blood flow and relieves body tension thus helping reduce muscular pain. It can also reduce cold symptoms, as the steam loosens up the phlegm and clears the nasal passages.
Possible disadvantages of hot showers
Drying out your skin
On the other hand, staying under hot water for long, can dry out the skin as hot water is known to damage the keratin cells. Women’s Health advises that a hot daily shower can remove too much of the natural body oils that protect the skin cells, making them more prone to bacteria.
According to Huffington Post, the skin turns red after a hot shower because it causes the blood circulation to go up. This might cause itchiness and even a rash.
Aggravating certain conditions
Healthline further points out that hot showers can worsen conditions like eczema, high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease.
Some like it cold: health benefits of cold showers
A natural dose of energy
Although not many people can bear cold showers, The Beaver Online claims they wake up your body, increasing your mental alertness and boosting your mood. That shock triggered by the sudden temperature change in your body makes you take deep breaths, increasing the oxygen intake and the heart rate.
Hair and skin
While hot water can leave your skin dry after showering, cold water is more hydrating and is good for your hair too as it can help with split ends and can make it look shinier and stronger.
Losing weight in the shower
Business Insider UK believes that cold in general could help you with losing weight. The human body has two types of fat tissues: white and brown. The white fat is associated with the fat that many of us are trying to get rid of. The brown fat is activated when the body is exposed to extreme cold to keep it warm. This makes the brown fat burn off the white fat. Thus, as cold showers stimulate the brown tissue, it can also cause weight loss.
Possible disadvantages of cold showers
Aggravating respiratory illnesses
Despite all these benefits, a cold shower might not be such a good idea when you are already cold or sick, as low temperatures go hand in hand with respiratory diseases, declares The Harvard Health Publishing.
Ice-cold showers after a work-out may be risky
A BBC report talks about cryotherapy, which refers to the practice of submerging muscles in ice-cold water, a trend that has been going on among elite and amateur athletes. The method is thought to reduce the swelling and soreness after an intense work-out, but some experts consider it harmful due to the thermic shock that happens in your body.
The debate between hot and cold showers is not over and each has their possible benefits and disadvantages. Another approach recommended by Forbes is to try a contrast shower: by alternating the cold and hot water in 2-minute cycles. They say this could be more invigorating than a cup of coffee in the morning!
Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not substitute the medical advice from a healthcare professional.