Even the thought of a cold shower runs a chill down most of our spines. Jumping into a stream of uncomfortable cold water instead of the familiar, relaxing hot water can be a difficult task especially during the winter months. Cold showers do come with many benefits for the skin and health however, here’s why you should bite the bullet and take the plunge;
Cold showers improve blood flow to the skin
Cold showers promote blood circulation, not only throughout the body but also to the skin. By promoting blood flow to the skin, essential nutrients and oxygen can be transported to where they’re required; this can improve skin quality and plumpness. Toxins can also be more effectively carried away from the skin, including skin-damaging free radicals. Improved blood flow also means a post-shower glow (we hope you enjoyed that rhyme as much as we enjoyed writing it).
Cold showers lock in skin moisture
Unlike hot showers, cold showers do not wash away the essential oils your skin needs to maintain healthy barrier function. It’s a myth that cold showers hydrate the skin, water in itself cannot hydrate the skin. Cold water does however help to close off the pores and constrict blood vessels, this has a skin tightening effect and it can temporarily minimise the size of your pores.
Cold showers can help to reduce skin inflammation
Cold water acts much like ice would on inflammation on a smaller scale. By blasting your face and body with cold water, you’re reducing inflammation which in turn means reduced skin redness and irritation. This is especially good news for those suffering from acne, eczema or psoriasis. Cold water is recommended for those suffering from skin conditions such as these, as hot water has the potential to aggravate them due to it’s drying effect.
Cold showers can potentially reduce stress, this can improve skin quality
Some small scale scientific studies have highlighted the effectiveness of cold showers in not only reducing stress, but increasing tolerance to it. By reducing overall stress you can indirectly improve the quality of your skin; reduced stress means reduced hormonal fluctuations which can be responsible for reduced skin quality and blemishes; reduced stress levels also mean improved quality of sleep where most of your skin’s cellular regeneration occurs.
Cold showers improve metabolism, this can improve skin cell turnover
It’s a well known fact that cold showers have the potential to improve the metabolic rate, it’s less well known that this can directly improve the condition of your skin. By increasing your metabolism not only are you promoting fat-burn throughout the body, you’re also increasing skin cell turnover. Improved metabolism means significantly improved skin cell communication which in turn means improved cell renewal, as well as collagen production. Collagen is the protein responsible for the skin’s form and youthfulness; by boosting collagen you could be slowing down the aging process.
Cold showers promote good scalp and hair health
Hot showers strip the scalp and hair of essential oils which can leave your hair looking a bit lacklustre, as well as causing scalp dryness and inflammation. Cold water has quite the opposite effect, it can help to lock in essential moisture on both your hair and your scalp, preventing future breakages and improving shine.
Cold showers boost our immune system
Cold showers help to supercharge our immune system by improving circulation and increasing metabolism. This increased immune system function can impact the condition of your skin for the better. An improved immune system means a better skin barrier response, and ability to fight off bacteria and pathogens.
So, How cold does the shower have to be?
Well, to reap the maximum benefits of a cold shower, the answer to that is ‘as cold as your shower will permit’. That being said, even lukewarm water can have the effects highlighted above, though to a lesser extent. Both cold showers and lukewarm showers are significantly better than hot showers for skin health.
If you’re new to cold showers, note that even 10 seconds of being in the ice-cold splash of water can provide a lot of benefit. We recommend jumping in head first, better to get the immediate shock than having a build-up where you keep testing the water temperature, one limb at a time. Here’s a fact, it’ll still be cold, whether you go in quickly or slowly. You can do it, we believe in you.
To sum it up
Cold showers are far better than hot showers when it comes to skin health, recurring hot showers can have a detrimental impact on skin condition. Cold showers are excellent for this reason; cold showers improve blood flow; cold showers do not dry the skin and help retain moisture; cold showers improve our immune system and metabolism which boosts skin cell turnover.