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Skin Science

Why taking cold showers is awesome for your skin

Woman taking cold shower cleansing skin
Christina Heiser
Christina Heiser May, 21, 2020

Skincare-obsessed, fitness enthusiast, cat lover 

Back in your middle school days, your health teacher probably lectured you on the importance of good hygiene. You know the drill: Brush your teeth twice a day, wash your hands and shower regularly to keep looking and feeling your best.

These are all good habits, but it turns out many Americans actually shower a bit too frequently — and use water that is way too hot!

You don't really have to shower every single day to stay clean. What's more, taking cold showers is so much better for your body's skin than washing in high temps. Ready to upgrade your shower skills? Consider this your ultimate guide to showering for skin health, not just cleanliness.

Why you don't have to shower every day

Everyone's lifestyle is different. If you're someone who hits the gym for intense cardio sessions every single day, daily showers are probably a must. And if it's scorching out and you're sweating a ton, then yes, you should totally hop in the shower!

But in general, dermatologists say you don't have to shower every single day. So, how often is best? The answer's as unique as your skin is! Showering anywhere from every other day to once a week may be optimal for you, depending on your lifestyle.

This is because frequent, long showers (as well as harsh soaps) can actually strip your skin of natural oils from its outermost layer, leaving you dry, flaky and potentially irritated. Washing your hair every day can also dry out your scalp, as shampoo removes natural oils that keep hair soft and shiny. So it's generally OK to go a few days without washing your hair as well.

Portrait of happy girl taking shower with gel. She washing with puffThe benefits of taking quick, cold showers

We get it — taking cold showers doesn't exactly sound like the most enjoyable experience. But using cold water doesn't have to mean taking an ice bath.

What's more, cooler showers can have some major benefits for your skin! By cutting down on your shower time and lowering the temperature, you could enjoy softer, smoother skin and shinier hair.

You'll also have a positive impact on the environment. According to Boston University's Sustainability Program, Americans use an average of 25,300 gallons of water a year. This means that if you shorten your shower by two minutes, you can cut your water use by 10 gallons each time.

How to take the best shower ever for your skin

Maintaining healthy, happy skin starts in the shower. To begin, you could schedule your showers for just the days you need to wash your hair. On those days, try to limit your time in the shower anywhere from five to 10 minutes tops. Use cold (or lukewarm) water and wash off with a gentle cleanser.

If you have sensitive skin, try to avoid shower gels with fragrances, as those sometimes cause irritation. Also, a little body wash goes a long way — so only use as much as you need to get rid of dirt and oil.

When you're done, blot (don't rub) your skin with a towel. Then, finish up by applying lotion to seal in moisture.

What to do on days you don't shower

On those days you're not planning on washing your entire body, you don't have to give up on feeling super fresh and clean! For starters, you can spritz a dry shampoo into your hair (around your roots) to absorb oil and odor.

You can also spray your favorite perfume onto your pulse points to freshen up your scent, and apply an antiperspirant to control excess moisture. Moistened body cleansing wipes are another great product to have on hand when you're not showering.

So go ahead and break your middle school health teacher's advice — you don't need to take a hot shower every day! Rest assured no one will be the wiser, and your skin will thank you.

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