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A Hot Shower Feels Good But It Can Harm Your Skin

By Paul Rothbart

After a tough day of work or physical chores, a hot shower feels great. Letting the water run over sore and stiff muscles seems to loosen them up. On a cold day, that hot shower is warm and cozy. The steam can open up clogged nasal passages. All of this is true but science has discovered that a hot shower can be harmful to your skin and hair. Does this mean cold showers from now on? Not at all. Read on for some helpful facts.

How Hot Water Affects the Skin and Hair

Your skin is coated in natural oils. They can help keep you warm in cold weather, but their main function is to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Hot water tends to strip away these oils. As a result, your skin becomes dry. This can cause eczema and exacerbate rashes. Dry, flaky skin feels terrible and generally itches. Your hair is also covered in natural oils that perform the same function in keeping it healthy. Hot water strips away those oils too, leaving your hair dry and brittle. This can cause hair loss and an itchy scalp. If you color your hair, hot water can cause it to fade much more quickly.

Cold Water Is Better

Cold showers are beneficial to the skin and hair. The water makes the skin firmer by strengthening the contractile fibers of skin. This includes the pores and hair. Cold water closes the pores rather than opening them. Contrary to popular belief, closing the pores is better as it strengthens blood vessels allowing them to dilate and contract more effectively. Increased blood flow helps the skin stay elastic and heal more easily. Showering in cold water also keeps the hair soft and flexible. The thought of standing under a stream of icy water may be frightening, but it doesn't have to be that cold. A cool temperature of about 65 degrees will suffice.

The Best of Both Worlds

Despite the scientific evidence, you like the feel of the hot water. It's relaxing and it feels like it cleans better. There is a compromise. Start with warm water while you soap and shampoo. When it's time to rinse, turn the temperature down to cool and rinse off. Let the water run over your skin and hair for several minutes. You'll feel clean, relaxed, and have healthy skin and hair. The cool water also helps wake you up with its increased blood flow. 

Hot showers may feel good, but they can damage your skin and hair. If you would rather not take an entire shower with cold water, use the hot wash, cold rinse method. You'll start the day wide awake and having healthy skin and hair to boot.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Pleasanton, Calif.

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