We Hate To Admit It, But Cold Showers Have A Lot Of Benefits

Cold showers, as uncomfortable as they can be, have all kinds of health benefits. They can boost our immune systems. A study conducted in the Netherlands found that participants had fewer sick days by 29% after they lowered their shower temperature below 60 degrees for as short a stint as 30-90 seconds. It doesn't take long to reap the benefits. Other studies found that cold showers helped increase mood and attention when taken in the mornings. The study reported that participants experienced "physiological and biochemical changes," with a boost to metabolism and heart rate. Cold showers also help reduce soreness and inflammation in the body, UCLA Health reports.

While these physical benefits are enough to get us intrigued, cold showers also offer significant beauty benefits, with notable improvements to skin, scalp, and hair health. The good news is that we don't need to suffer for too long in chilly water to notice improvements. UCLA Health states that we can shower in warmer water and end our showers with a blast of cold. Start with 30 seconds of cold water exposure and, as you get used to it, work your way up to a minute. Not too bad, huh? So here's the specifics of how cold water can make a huge difference in our beauty routines.

Cold water doesn't strip our natural oils

Cold showers offer several benefits for our skin. While hot showers might be more comfortable initially, the hot water can strip our skin of its natural, healthy oils, leaving us excessively dry. Dermatologist Jessica Krant told HuffPost that lukewarm or cold water was better when washing the face, because hot water is known to "strip healthy natural oils from your skin too quickly." This is especially important in winter months, when colder weather is already drying out our skin. It seems counterintuitive to take cold showers when it's cold outside, but the benefits are worth it. Dermatologist Lance Brown told Health, "Hot water will strip away some of the natural, protective oils that your skin makes." We need to keep these protective oils because excessive stripping leaves us feeling dry and itchy.

Cold water showers are also extremely helpful for those with eczema or psoriasis. "Any skin condition characterized by a defective skin barrier can be worsened by a hot shower," dermatologist Shari Marchbein explained to Glamour. "[It] strips the skin of sebum, the healthy fats and oils necessary for skin health, and dehydrates the skin." So in order to keep our skin healthy and hydrated, cold showers are the way to go.

Cold water benefits for acne

For those of us who struggle with acne, cold showers offer several benefits, however, as several dermatologists note, washing our faces in cold water is just one part of a skin care regime aimed at eradicating acne. Dermatologist Geeta Yadav told Byrdie, "Oil doesn't flow through pores as easily when it's cold, and cold water reduces the inflammatory effects of acne, which is where a lot of discomfort comes from." This logic applies, of course, to body acne too, so it can be helpful for troubled zones beyond our faces.

Cold showers can help rid our bodies of toxins, which can help deal with acne. "A cold shower can trigger the circulatory system to stimulate the skin to release waste and reduce inflammation," Dr. Kevin Mun told Coveteur. This can be hugely beneficial in reducing redness and breakouts.

However, it's worth stressing that cold showers aren't a quick fix to chronic acne, so we can consider adding them to our beauty routine along with a targeted regime. Dermatologist Melanie Palm told Byrdie that a good skin care routine for acne "involves proper cleansing, using the right skincare ingredients consistently, avoiding comedogenic products, nurturing a healthy skin barrier, healthy lifestyle changes, minimizing hormonal fluctuations, and in some cases, prescription topicals or oral medications." But if cold showers can help, we'll try them!

Cold water is good for our hair health

Cold showers can do wonders for our hair and scalps. Excessive heat, and not just from blow dryers, can damage our hair and make it more susceptible to breakage. Not only that, but cold water can give hair a lustrous shine. "Soft keratin cells become easily damaged by heat," Dr. Kevin Mun told Coveteur. "When [that happens], hair becomes weak and dry and loses its shine. A cold shower can help prevent the hair from getting damaged by heat."

Cold water offers styling benefits for our hair too. Stylist Jonathan Soons explained this to Glamour. "Showering in cold water makes your hair shinier and less frizzy, as it closes the cuticle, helping to keep hair healthy," he said. But it's not just our hair that benefits from cold showers. Our scalps do better in colder water. "It can also keep your scalp healthy as once the pores are closed, they are much less vulnerable, protecting them from dirt, grease and oil," Soons added. "If you can't get past the frigid temperature, just have a final rinse in cold water." Much like on our skin, cold water helps reduce the amount of healthy oils that get stripped from our scalps and hair, keeping this part of our body from becoming overly dry. There's one caveat worth noting, however. Soons said that the downside of showering in cold water is that it can reduce hair volume, so for those of us with thinner hair, this is something to consider.