Your hot showers are unintentionally doing your hair and skin more harm than good. While stepping into a cold shower doesn’t seem like the most pleasant experience, the beauty benefits you’ll reap are well worth the short blast of cold. (Plus, cold showers aren’t as intolerable as you might think!)
My roommate and I have gotten into the habit of announcing when one of us is about to hop in the shower because we’ve discovered if you use the kitchen sink and the shower simultaneously, the shower water turns ice cold.
I finally made the connection after the fourth time I had to jump to the side of the shower, plastering myself to the tile to avoid the cold stream as my roommate unwittingly washed dishes in the kitchen sink.However, I’ve learned my roommate may be doing me a favor — especially when it comes to keeping my skin and hair healthy.
Hot showers are great for easing sore muscles, relieving congestion, and warming you up on a frigid, Minnesota winter day, but scalding showers aren’t great for your skin or hair. Hot showers strip your skin and hair of their natural oils, exacerbating the myriad of skin and hair conditions we try to avoid. The hot water dries out your skin, leaving you feeling itchy, and aggravates chronic skin conditions like eczema or acne. Your hair doesn’t fare much better. Hot showers also dry out your hair, resulting in frizz, dullness, excessive split ends, and an itchy scalp.
Hot showers strip your skin and hair of their natural oils, exacerbating a myriad of skin and hair conditions.
So what happens when you step into a cold shower?
Well… until you get used to colder showers, what may happen first is you release a slew of profanities, creating new curse words even you didn’t know you had in your arsenal. (Don’t worry, I’ll tell you how to build up your cold shower tolerance.) However, you’ll enjoy immediate beauty benefits from a cold shower.
Cold showers lock in the natural oils in your skin and hair. The cold water closes pores, tightening your skin, plus relieves itchiness and inflammation. The cold also constricts blood vessels, helping to reduce redness, puffiness, and pollution damage, leaving your skin with a healthy glow and a youthful, refreshed look.
Your hair will thank you as well. Cold water is gentler on your hair, preventing breakage and hair fall. The cold helps close the hair cuticle, enabling your hair to reflect more light, which results in incredible shine.
Alyssa LaBella, a licensed Advance Practice Esthetician at One Agora Health, says, “There are tons of health benefits whole body-wise for taking a cold shower or blasting yourself with the cold water at the end.” For your face, LaBella advises using lukewarm water, “to break up the dirt and oils from the day, then finish by splashing your face with cold water, helping to decrease inflammation and puffiness, temporarily tighten the skin, and increase collagen production.”
And as LaBella mentioned, the benefits of cold showers extend beyond your hair and skin.
The shock of cold drives you to take deeper breaths and causes your heart rate to spike, waking up your body and making you more alert, energized, and focused. Perfect for those days when you’re struggling to get out of bed or need an extra jolt.
A short blast of cold or a cold shower once a week will still give you beauty benefits.
Even with all the amazing beauty benefits of cold showers, you may still be hesitant to give up your hot showers. Luckily, you don’t have to endure the cold for long.
Start building your tolerance by turning on the cold water for the last ten seconds of your shower. Then, when you’re ready, increase your cold exposure to thirty seconds. Keep increasing the length of time where the cold still feels comfortable for you. Taking cold showers shouldn’t be a painful experience! A short blast of cold or a cold shower once a week will still give you beauty benefits.
LaBella finishes up her shower routine with a blast of cold water, but if you’re not quite ready for a full-on cold shower, LaBella recommends running an ice cube over your face which is beneficial for acne, reducing the redness and inflammation.
Listen to your body. If a cold shower seems too intolerable, use lukewarm water instead of hot and keep showers short so your skin and hair keep their natural oils to give you that luminous glow and lustrous shine!