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What to Know About the Benefits of a Cold Shower vs. a Hot Shower

Medically Reviewed by Mahammad Juber, MD on August 30, 2022

A warm shower after a long day at work can feel restorative. Or, maybe a cold shower is just what your body craves to get up in the morning. 

Regardless of the type of shower you prefer, you are likely to feel better stepping out than when you stepped in. Taking a quick, cold shower or a steamy, long bath may have several potential health benefits. 

If you’ve ever stopped to wonder what the exact benefits of a cold shower vs. a hot shower are, though, keep reading to discover what temperature you should be rinsing off to and whether it plays a significant role in your health and wellness.  

Cold Shower Benefits

Like most people, you may prefer warm showers to cold ones; however, there may be some tremendous benefits you’re missing out on if so. Showering in 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit water is considered a cold shower. Check out the following benefits of taking a cold shower and see if you think it may be worth the effort. 

Cold showers:

Keep your hair shiny and your skin hydrated

When we take a hot shower, our pores open, but cold showers can temporarily tighten them and help you retain the natural oils in your skin and hair. Those prone to dry skin or concerned about dry, brittle hair might consider rinsing off with cold water every so often. 

If you’re experiencing breakouts or feel your skin could use a good cleansing, on the other hand, go with a steamy shower! 

Improve mental health and boost immunity 

Cold water stimulates the production of noradrenaline and beta-endorphins. Electrical impulses are sent from our nerve endings to our brain when we take cold showers, and this chemical reaction may have an antidepressant effect on some individuals. Taking a cold shower may keep you from catching a cold by heightening your immune system and making you more resistant to illness. 

Increase circulation 

When our bodies feel cold water, they naturally switch to survival mode and react by increasing our heart rate. The cold water puts your circulatory system into overdrive, causing your heart to pump more efficiently and causing overall circulation throughout your body to improve. 

With increased circulation, you may find that your skin clears from pesky blemishes over time and looks healthier overall. (Getting in at least half an hour of exercise every day is ultimately the best way to get your blood pumping, though, and it doesn’t involve shivering all the way through.) 

Taking a cold shower in the morning can also give you an initial energy boost and even help you establish a regular routine. Switch up your shower routine and dare to turn the nozzle the other way for a change. As your body fights to stay warm, the heightened reaction will temporarily boost your metabolism and help you shed some weight. 

Of course, if your goal is weight loss, you must maintain regular physical activity. Cold showers should never be viewed as a replacement for other therapies, skin-care regimens, and exercise.  

Hot Shower Benefits

After a long day at work, you probably dream of rushing home and jumping into a hot shower. Everyone loves sneaking away for a soak in the tub or a long, warm shower. You may not know that every time you take a hot shower, though, you also enjoy a few health benefits. Here are some benefits hot showers can have on our minds, bodies, and skin. 

Burn some calories 

When you are soaking in a hot bath, you are shedding a few calories while enjoying all the wonderful and relaxing benefits of a warm tub. Hot baths and showers should never be used as a substitute for exercise, though, and you should limit your time in the shower when you use hot water because it can increase your risk of burns or heat stroke.

Keep your skin clear and healthy 

Taking a hot bath or shower can help open your pores and flush out toxins that become trapped in your skin throughout the day. Warm water can result in fresher skin that feels more hydrated.

Get better sleep

The muscles in your body may feel tense after a long day, and entering a warm bath or hot shower can help you relax, soothing your body as it soothes your mind. Jumping in the shower a couple of hours before bed can actually help you achieve better sleep. Additionally, getting clean before crawling under the cover will reduce the buildup of germs, dirt, sweat, and body oils that can accumulate on your bedding over time. 

Making night-time showers a regular part of your routine can increase your sleep quality and help alleviate stress.

You should be careful not to soak in a warm tub for too long before bed, though, and limit your bath or shower to around 20 minutes. Also, experience all the benefits of showering before bed by avoiding overly hot or cold showers.

Best Temperature for Showering

Getting into a cold shower is never a pleasant experience, but there are a few health benefits you may gain from braving the experience. Cold showers can help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, improve circulation, lower stress levels, and reduce muscle soreness and fatigue. Hot showers, meanwhile, can improve cardiovascular health, soothe stiff joints, and improve sleep

Understanding when to take a hot or cold shower is essential. Both deliver incredible potential health benefits and can affect your body differently. People with arthritis, for instance, may benefit more from a warm shower in the morning than a cold one because the water is easier on their bones and allows them to experience increased mobility. However, an athlete who suffers from a sports injury might benefit from a cold shower that could help reduce inflammation

Avoid taking showers that are too cold or too hot, which may harm your health. Knowing the type of effect you hope to achieve or the benefits you’d like to gain from showering before deciding where to turn the shower nozzle is important. In the future, this helpful guide can assist you in determining whether you should take a cold or hot shower. 

Show Sources

Sources:

Cleveland Clinic: “Are Good Showers Good for You? 4 Health Benefits.”

Intermountain Healthcare: “From Hot to Cold: The Hidden Health Benefits of Bathing.”

Sleep Advisor: “Showering Before Bed- Is It a Good or Bad Idea?”

Sleep Foundation: “Showering Before Bed.” 

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