A blast of chilly water may do the body goodbut are the shivers worth it? Of all the beauty trends out there right now, this one might take the cake: searches for “cold showers” are up 75% on Pinterest, according to the social platform. Proponents claim the brrr-inducing temps contribute to increasing metabolism, boost mood, and even lead to healthier skin and hair.
But showers aren’t just about get clean( hello, relaxation !), so a cold one better offer real perks. But does it?
Well maybe. First, lets talk beauty benefits. In words of your hair, “the cold will flatten the ruffled cuticles and lock in moisture to prevent breakage, ” tells Jessie Cheung, MD, a dermatologist in the Chicago area. Cold water was originally help constrict blood vessels in your skin to temporarily tighten pores and lessen redness and puffiness, she adds. Whats more, cold temperatures boost circulation( its your bodys way of keeping warm ). For your face, that were likely to mean a healthy glow.
A cold rain is also said to help boost mood, but the evidence for this is slim. One survey from the International Journal of Circumpolar Health looked at the practice of “winter swimming, ” which is popular in Finland. Their findings suggest that regularly taking a dip in cold water( the participants swam four times a week) might improve energy and overall well-being. And a 2007 survey published in Medical Hypotheses found that short 2-3 minute cold showers may help relieve depressive symptomsbut the researchers noted more widespread studies on this are needed.
There has been some emerging research indicating cold temperatures may induce brown fat, a type of fat that burns extra calories. In a small 2014 survey, men exposed to a cold environment had an increase in brown fat volume as well as coinciding fat metabolic activity. But again, theres not enough research to suggest that taking cold showers can lead to weight loss.
The real benefits may come from avoiding super-hot showers in the first place. Hot water might feel good, but it does a number on your skin and hair, explains New York City-based dermatologist Lance Brown, MD. “Hot water will strip away some of the natural, protective oils that your skin attains, ” he tells, which can leave skin impression dry and itchy and perhaps worsen skin conditions like eczema. This is especially problematic during the winter months, when cold air outside and dry heat inside naturally attain skin more parched.
The good news: “You dont need to be in the cold for too long to assure skin and hair benefits, ” tells Dr. Cheung. “A short blastaim for at least 10 secondsat the end of your rain will do.”
If thats just not going to work for you, dont feel guilty about skipping the cold rain wholly. Dr. Brown recommends short, 10 -minute showers in lukewarm or mildly cold water. Lather up with a gentle, fragrance-free soap, pat your body dry with a towel, and follow up with a moisturizer on still-damp skin. Enjoy the light!
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