Taking the right kind of shower every day is an important but sometimes an overlooked aspect of beauty. Skin, hair, and pores are bombarded with different things every day so it's good to look after them as best as you can.
Our skin needs the proper attention because it does a lot of work for us every day, whether that's safeguarding the inside organs of your body or protecting you from germs that might try to make you sick. Let's face it, our skin is on duty 24/7!
Therefore, keeping our skin in its best shape is imperative. Let's take a deep dive into what skin is made up of, that way you can understand it's mechanisms a little better.
Skin is made up of three layers; the epidermis (top) dermis (middle) and subcutaneous layer (bottom). In accordance with the clevandclinic.org, the epidermis (the top layer) is the thinnest layer of skin, but it’s responsible for protecting you from the outside world, and it’s composed of five layers of its own.
Each layer of your skin works together to keep your body safe, including your skeletal system, organs, muscles, and tissues. The epidermis has many additional functions, including:
- Hydration. The outermost layer of the epidermis (stratum corneum) holds in water and keeps your skin hydrated.
- Producing new skin cells. New skin cells develop at the bottom layer of your epidermis (stratum basale) and travel up through the other layers as they get older.
- Protection. The epidermis acts like a suit of armor to protect your body from harm, including ultraviolet (UV) radiation, pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) and chemicals.
- Skin color. The epidermis has cells called melanocytes which creates melanin, which is a group of pigments in your skin that provides skin color.
The dermis (the middle layer) is the layer of skin that lies beneath the epidermis and above the subcutaneous layer. It is the thickest layer of the skin and is made up of fibrous and elastic tissue. Thus, it provides strength and flexibility to the skin. The dermis layer of skin is also where the sebum (sebaceous gland) lies.
The sebum is a natural oily substance found on nearly every surface of the body. Its unique composition seals in moisture and prevents skin from becoming over dry. It also has antibacterial properties, making it the body’s first defense against infection.
The subcutaneous (the bottom layer) protects the body and keeps it warm. It provides insulation protection to our vital tissues such as muscles, bones, blood vessels, and organs.
Now that you know more about your skin, let's learn more about the pros and cons of taking Hot vs Cold showers:
In accordance with health.com, beauty care experts says that cold water tightens and constricts the blood flow which gives your skin a healthier glow. In addition, says if you have itchy skin or skin conditions that cause you to itch, cold showers can help you overcome the sensation to scratch.
- Doesn’t dry out your skin
- Increases your alertness/ boost your mood
- Helps with blood circulation & weight loss
- As cold water hits your body and external limbs, it constricts circulation on the surface of your body. This causes blood in your deeper tissues to circulate at faster rates to maintain ideal body temperature.
- In that sense, a cold shower has the opposite effect of a hot shower for someone with hypertension or cardiovascular disease, since exposure to cold temperatures triggers the circulatory system to reduce inflammation and can help prevent cardiovascular disease
- Since cold water has regenerative properties, your muscles will relax and repair after a tough workout.
- Some fat cells, such as brown fat, can generate heat by burning fat. They do this when your body is exposed to cold conditions like in a shower.
- Not welcoming during the colder months
- Not ideal for people with illnesses
Also, cold water, unlike hot water, doesn’t dry out the sebum layer, a naturally lubricated barrier that provides protection for your skin and hair.
- Provides relief from respiratory symptoms
- Helps with blemishes
- Helps with muscle relaxation
- Opens the pores of the skin, which allows you to clean out the trapped dirt and oil.
- Can dry out and irritate your skin. Schaffer say the hot water causes damage to the keratin cells that are located on the most outer layer of our skin — the epidermis. By disrupting these cells, it creates dry skin and prevents the cells from locking in moisture.
- Higher temperatures make it easier for the skin to dry out and worsen conditions like eczema.
- Hot showers can cause you to itch. Friedman says the heat can cause mast cells (which contain histamine) to release their contents in the skin and cause itching.
- They can increase your blood pressure, too. If you have problems with high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, taking a shower that’s too hot can make these conditions worse.
All in all, there are a pros and cons to either type of shower that you can take however, with the right skin care products you can always protect your skin to be it's best!
Stratum Corneum: Top Layer of Skin Anatomy and Function (healthline.com)
Epidermis (Outer Layer of Skin): Layers, Function & Structure (clevelandclinic.org)
Cold shower vs. hot shower: What are the benefits? (medicalnewstoday.com)