Hot or Cold: which showers are better?

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.

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In text citation: Borreli, L., (2016). 7 Surprising Cold Shower Benefits For Your Body And Skin. Retrieved September 16, 2016, from

11 thoughts on “Hot or Cold: which showers are better?

  1. sbm5465

    I’ve never been a fan of cold showers, but after reading your blog post, I might give it a little more consideration. One of the facts that really spoke the most to me was that cold showers are better for your skin and your hair. This article goes a little bit more in depth about why cold water is more beneficial for your hair. Not only does it prevent from drying your hair out, but it also lessens frizz and can even reduce your risk of hair loss. Ill be sure to let my balding uncle know about that one.

  2. cmt5658

    This article actually made me sad because I absolutely HATE cold showers. No matter what temperature it is outside, of if I am dying in the consistently hot dorms, I will always take a hot shower, or at least a warm one. It was surprising to here that cold showers help with aching and plans, because I have always assumed the opposite. However, I guess it would be make sense because when we get hurt we put ice on our bruises, not a heat pack. Something to look into may be the science behind why people prefer hot showers over cold. This article ( explains why more guys prefer cold showers than girls, which is definitely something interesting to think about.

  3. Zachary Weissman

    I had no idea cold showers had so many perks. I always thought the only way to shower was one with hot water. I also didn’t know people actually enjoyed taking cold showers. Like you, I also think that’s crazy.

  4. Bernarda Jarrin Alvear

    Cold showers can help in various ways. Its impressive how the temperature of the water can truly affect your body. It is very interesting how cold showers may even help your skin, I will personally try it sometime. Also I know that cold showers help people who suffer from asthma. A friend of mine has severe asthma and after he gets an asthma attack he takes cold showers. He told me that this enables him to breathe easier. Just a minute in the shower and he is already feeling better. The effects of cold water are surprising.
    Here is a link I found about how to fight asthma and it actually had a section that explains how cold showers help.

  5. Claudia Lynn Hatch

    I was a dual sport athlete in High school and I always wondered what was better, an ice bath or a hot shower? You have helped answer this question and now I know what to do after my next tough workout session. I thought this was a great topic and very useful, especially to those who struggle with depression or who enjoy working out.
    Above is a funny video that gives you some tips on how to ice bath!

  6. Thomas Tatem Moore

    I regularly take hot showers even though, I realize the health benefits and therapeutic effects a cold shower can have on an individual. I just feel uncomfortable taking a cold shower. Here is an article I found showing the health risks of cold showers.

  7. Daniella Cappello

    I am a firm believer in boiling hot showers even in the midst of the hottest summer heat. Something about the hot water really soothes my entire body. However, I have heard that showering in cold water provides many benefits. After reading this blog I almost feel inspired to attempt at a cold shower. The evidence behind the benefits makes total sense but part of me is a bit intimidated.

  8. pkr5098

    I had the same original thoughts as you did, believing hot showers were good at night and cold showers would wake you up in the morning. The results shocked me but I believe it. I always take pretty hot showers just because its relaxing, but maybe if I turn it down a little it could be a little more beneficial for me. I know taking ice baths after sports really helps your body, so maybe that goes the same with really cold showers.

  9. Eddy Lee

    To choose between one, I would definitely go with cold showers. I regularly take cold showers and I can agree with many of the points you have made in your post. A cold shower really wakes you up and has a therapeutic effect on you. When you leave the shower, your body feels energized and relaxed at the same time. I also agree with the fact that cold water is so much better for your skin and hair. How water for me drys out my skin which is not very good especially in the winter time. For people who usually take hot showers, I recommend switching to cold because you may really enjoy it.

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