There’s nothing worse than coming home from a long day, expecting a nice hot shower, and realizing all the hot water has run out. Well, for the past few days here at Atherton Hall, the hot water tanks have not been properly working. It’s been quite the struggle trying to take a shower when the water is so cold is STINGS your skin.
Although taking a cold shower for me seems like the worst thing that’s ever happened to mankind, when discussing the matter with my floor, I was shocked to hear that some people liked cold showers… like actually preferred them over hot showers. I was confused and frankly appalled that someone would voluntarily take a cold shower over a hot one, but it did get me thinking. Are there reasons why some people would like cold showers over hot ones?
First, I thought of the obvious benefits of taking a hot vs. a cold shower.
Taking a hot shower obviously relaxes you, and probably your muscles, so it’s probably better for night. However, if it wasn’t already apparent from the times when you were the last one in the shower and there was no hot water left, cold showers wake you up. So, I would imagine that they would be better in the morning.
Surprisingly, after some research, I found that my original hypotheses were actually somewhat wrong.
I found an article that states taking a cold shower actually can help with your sore muscles by lowering your heartrate and reducing inflammation (which, I guess, makes sense if you think about how athletes take ice baths after a hard workout). I also found that a cold shower can improve your circulation. Once the cold water touches the skin, the blood flow with increase, allowing your arteries to pump more blood, thereby improving your blood circulation (Borreli).
Furthermore, Cold showers are known to reduce depression. This article reveals that because the cold water is so sensitive to the skin, once it touches the skin, a surge of electrical impulses run from your nerves to your brain, creating in an anti-depressant result.
I also found that colder showers improve your skin and hair. Hot water can expand your pores and dry out your skin and hair, but cold water can close your pores and hair follicles. It also tightens your skin. Thus, you will appear more renewed, refreshed, and less prone to acne because you pores will not get congested (yay!) (Article found here)
Ok.. so now we know that cold showers not only wake you up, but they can improve your mood, reduce soreness and increase circulation, and improve the quality and look of your skin and hair. So, how do hot showers compare to that?
Well, we already talked about how cold water can close the pores and temporarily prevent dirt and bacteria from getting into them, but hot water temporarily makes the skin softer, so it is easier to clean out your pores. Hot water can allow you to clean your face thoroughly, since the bacteria easier to extract (Article found here).
Finally, It can also reduce muscle tension in a different way than a cold shower can – think of a heating pad instead of an ice bath. The hot water can decrease muscle tension by increasing the flexibility of the tissues, according to Physio Works.
So, what’s the best option?
Since it is obvious that both hot and cold showers have perks, perhaps making the last few seconds of your shower cold, so you can experience at least some of the effects that a cold shower can bring, could be beneficial.
Until I can muster up the courage to try another cold shower, I’ll continue sticking to the hot showers.
In text citation: Borreli, L., (2016). 7 Surprising Cold Shower Benefits For Your Body And Skin. Retrieved September 16, 2016, from http://www.medicaldaily.com/benefits-cold-showers-7-reasons-why-taking-cool-showers-good-your-health-289524