Unless, you live in a very hot climate a cold shower is very hard to tolerate, however, once your body gets used to the cold temperature it’s not so bad. But, virtually everyone prefers a hot shower. Today, I will explain what the ideal temperature shower water should be and why.
On average, between 98 ºF and 105 ºF (37 ºC and 41 ºC) is the ideal temperature to shower in. Dermatologists recommend this temperature range to keep your skin in good health. A study found most people will set a shower to 104 ºF to 111 ºF (40.2 ºC to 43.8 ºC), and find this the most comfortable.
Therefore, you should set the shower water temperature to what you find most comfortable or slightly below. But, not hotter than what you find most comfortable. Many people report there are various benefits to cold showers, below I will cover if there are any and if there are any health benefits to hot showers.
Is a Hot or Cold Shower Better for You
A hot shower can feel very good, especially in some regions where the winters are very cold, and warm to slightly hot feels the best for most people. But, many people also say that cold showers are good for a number of reasons. So, here’s the long and short of whether a hot or cold shower is better for you.
Overall, neither a hot nor cold shower is better for you. A study found that cold showers didn’t reduce the incidence of sickness. But, most people report shower water that is 98 to 105 ºF (37 to 41 ºC) is the most comfortable. Between, 98 ºF and 105 ºF (37 ºC and 41 ºC) is the best for your skin.
Medical professionals state that if a shower is too hot – above 105 ºF (41 ºC), it can cause skin irritation, and skin conditions like eczema to get worse. Whereas, colder water will help skin conditions get better.
Therefore, a good strategy is to use slightly colder water if you currently have flaky skin. And to have a shower that is lukewarm, and a little colder if you have psoriasis, sensitive skin, or eczema. But, there’s no need to have a fully cold shower.
It’s widely regarded that a cold shower will wake you up, and is good for building mental toughness and discipline. It can also help with muscle recovery. As doing ice baths is a common strategy used by sports athletes.
Cold showers – do they do anything?
There is some anecdotal evidence that taking cold showers strengthens the immune system. However, based on a study published in the journal POS One, there is no measurable difference in the number of times a person gets sick, and whether they take cold showers or not (source).
Some medical professionals are of the opinion that it’s not a good idea to take cold showers if you have the flu. However, many people their skin glows more, and overall feels better if they have cold showers. So, it’s definitely worth a try to see if you notice a difference. Here’s a video where a person explains some benefits they got from taking cold showers every day for a long time:
One opinion is also that hot water opens the pores in your skin, and then when you use harsh soaps, or soaps with chemicals they can get into the skin, more easily where the chemicals can enter your bloodstream.
However, it has been found that pores do get bigger or smaller in response to heat or cold according to Dr. Kucy Pon, an assistant professor in dermatology (source).
Turning the temperature up – benefits of really hot showers
In cold weather, turning the heat of a shower right up is nice because it’s so cold. Even, when you’re under the hot water you can still feel cold. So, having it much hotter helps to keep you warm.
But, apart from this benefit, here are some of the benefits of having a shower that is hotter than what feels comfortable, according to medical professionals. Keep in mind that a shower where the water feels most comfortable is the best for your skin.
- Reduce the symptoms of the flu
- Can relax muscles and de-stress
When you have a cold you will often have a runny nose and produce more phlegm that accumulates in your throat. In cold temperatures, it begins to harden and so is more difficult to cough up or blow your nose.
The additional steam and hot temperatures will make it runnier. When taking a hot shower you can often clear your nose completely of all the built-up mucus, and cough out the mucus in your throat more easily.
Massage is also known to help with sore muscles and muscle tension. The theory is that it pushes around the blood which begins to flow, and overall helps a muscle to relax. The same effect occurs with hot water.
When an area of the body gets hot, the blood is runnier and can flow more easily, which can relax the muscles. And also transport away build-ups of lactic acid, and toxins which constrict the muscles and make them feel tight. For a double whammy massage any tense areas while putting it under the hot water.
The Healthiest Shower Water Temperature
A shower is something that is done every day, and sometimes twice a day. Because it’s done so often it’s good to know what water temperature is best for a shower. Here’s what it is.
Overall, 98 ºF and 105 ºF (37 ºC and 41 ºC) is the healthiest shower water temperature. There are some benefits to cold showers and hotter showers. But, as a general rule, this temperature, which is lukewarm to just below what feels too hot is the healthiest.
If you have a thermometer you can test the water temperature that comes out of the shower head by collecting it in a cup. But, you can also do it by feel. The temperature that feels the most comfortable is also the temperature that is the healthiest.
Is a Hot Shower Good for Dry Skin
Exfoliating the skin is easier after you soak in a hot bath. There are a few reasons why you can get dry skin. But, here is whether a hot shower makes dry skin better or worse.
Overall, a hot shower is not good for dry skin. If shower water is above 105 ºF (41 ºC), it can dry the skin out, and make skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis itch more. Dermatologists recommend showering in water and wash the face in water that is below 105 ºF (41 ºC).
This is also the temperature that feels the most comfortable for most people. It feels about just right, and not hotter than what feels comfortable. It’s a bit tricky to measure the temperature of shower water. So, a good rule of thumb is to set the shower to a temperature that feels just right, or a little bit below.
- Buijze GA, Sierevelt IN, van der Heijden BC, Dijkgraaf MG, Frings-Dresen MH. The Effect of Cold Showering on Health and Work: A Randomized Controlled Trial. PLoS One. 2016 Sep 15;11(9):e0161749. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161749. Erratum in: PLoS One. 2018 Aug 2;13(8).
- Healthline.com: Cold Showers vs. Hot Showers: Which One Is Better?
- Besthealthmag.ca: 3 Common Myths About Pores We Totally Believed Were True
- Vogue.com: This is the Ideal Shower Temperature to Keep Your Skin Soft, Smooth, and Glowing
- Ohnaka T, Tochihara Y, Watanabe Y. The effects of variation in body temperature on the preferred water temperature and flow rate during showering. Ergonomics. 1994 Mar;37(3):541-6