There’s nothing like a hot shower on a chilly winter morning. As temperatures continue to fall, our bodies will crave a piping hot shower to ease the stress of the day more and more. Could too-hot water temperatures be causing damage to our skin, though? Sadly, yes. There are more cons to a hot shower than there are pros; the main con being the dreaded ‘dry and flaky’ skin. Paying extra attention to temperature of our shower water becomes even more pressing when the weather becomes cold and windy as this is when we need our skin’s natural oils the most – coincidentally just when we desire hot showers the most!
Frustrating, we know. But not to worry! Read on for a breakdown of the pros and cons of hot showers and for our favorite tips on how to easily adjust your shower schedule to be more skin friendly and nourishing.
Disadvantages of Hot Showers on Skin
Hot showers suck the moisture out of skin by stripping it of natural oils. The older we get, the less oil our skin produces, therefore, keeping skin as conditioned as possible becomes crucial. Hot water causes damage to the keratin cells found on the epidermis – the outermost layer of the skin. Damaging these cells creates dryness & flaking while preventing the keratin cells from keeping moisture locked in our skin. Additionally, combining hot water and scrubbing with soap on the skin further irritates and harms the outer layer of the skin by dissolving the lipids (fatty compounds) responsible for keeping skin moisturized.
Ever noticed the uncontrollable itching that often follows a hot shower? Yes, that’s because of hot water too! The heat causes cells to release histamine in the skin, causing inflammation and itching. Also, because hot water is more drying than temperate water, the dryness can leave us with a higher the chance of irritation and itchiness.
Furthermore, frequent hot showers can become dangerous when they dry out the skin so much that it worsens preexisting skin conditions like eczema.
Benefits of Hot Showers
Despite the cons mentioned above, hot showers do have some notable benefits. Nothing is quite as relaxing or sleep-inducing as a hot shower which can activate the parasympathetic nervous system and inspire fatigue.
Our favorite hot shower benefits include:
Hot water relaxes and relieves muscle fatigue and total body tension.
The steam from hot showers can be a great natural remedy to open sinus airways, loosen up congestion and phlegm, clear nasal passages, and reduce cold and cough symptoms. Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to the shower floor for added respiratory strengthening!
The hot water and steam caused by a hot shower can also help to open up our pores, allowing for deep cleansing and the clearing away of dirt and oils.
After reading the pros and cons of hot showers, the question becomes ‘so, what do I do?’. Despite its downsides, the good news is that you don’t have to give up hot showers completely for better skin. Opting for a cold shower once in a while or reducing the temperature to a lukewarm shower and properly moisturizing after are feasible compromises in the name of healthy skin. Additionally, using moisturizing body washes instead of bar soaps and patting instead of scrubbing when towel drying are two easy tips for your shower routine that will help you to avoid damaging and drying out your beautiful skin!