Why You Should Have Cold Showers

FactuO
6 min readDec 12, 2019

In the morning, many people like to have a warm or hot shower. Why? It warms up, it relaxes, and it’s more pleasant than cold, freezing water. When people find themselves taking cold showers, it’s either in the summer when it’s very hot or when the heater is not functional.

If people have the choice between showering with water at 35°C instead of 20°C, they will choose to use hot water. However, even if having a hot shower is apparently more enjoyable, it doesn’t necessarily make it good. Showering with hot water has several disadvantages. This may seem surprising, but cold water can have benefits for your body and health.

Why having too warm showers is a bad idea

For many people, a shower with water at 30 degrees is not hot enough. Many people tend to shower with water at 35 or sometimes 40 degrees, which is actually a bad idea.

You probably know that hot water decreases more efficiently than cold water. After a sports session or after a night’s sleep on a hot night, it is tempting to wash yourself in hot water to get rid of excess perspiration. But washing with hot water is not necessarily a good idea. The skin is naturally covered with a thin layer of sebum. This sebum layer protects the skin from bacteria. It also makes it waterproof and prevents it from being too dry.

When you take a shower that is too hot, you destroy this thin layer of sebum, which makes your skin more sensitive to external aggressions such as bacteria or cold. In addition, a lack of sebum will tend to dry the epidermis, the epidermis will tend to lose its elasticity, and then you will observe cracks on your skin. When it’s cold and windy, it’s not pleasant to have dry skin like an arid soil…

This also applies to your hair. If you use too hot water, you will have dry, stiff, brittle hair and a dry scalp. To compensate, your scalp may secrete excess sebum. You may find that your scalp is too greasy and try to correct it… by taking a hot shower, so hot that your bathroom will be filled with steam at the end…

Ladies and gentlemen, if your skin and hair are too dry or too greasy, it may not be because of your diet or pollution, it may be because you are using too hot water. If you want to check it, a good way to be sure is to lower the temperature… or even take cold showers.

Why take cold showers?

Taking cold showers has several advantages.

  • Cold water tightens the pores of the skin and makes hair smoother and more shiny. By using cold water instead of hot water, you avoid drying out your skin and hair and allow them to retain their elasticity. You also avoid destroying the thin layer of sebum that protects the skin. In winter, taking cold showers can make your skin more resistant to the cold.
  • Cold water improves blood circulation. When your body gets this cold, it compensates by increasing the blood flow to the parts of the body that are exposed to the cold to keep them at a constant internal temperature.
  • Cold water burns brown fat faster.
  • Cold water would allow for faster muscle recovery after sport.
  • Finally, cold water would have antidepressant effects.

In autumn and winter, it is tempting to take hotter showers than usual. But in fact, it’s better to do the opposite by taking cold showers. Your skin and immune system will become stronger.

Wim Hof: the king of cold water

Every year, all over Europe, people go to beaches or lakes on January 1st to take a New Year’s Dive… in cold water. But there are other people who do this much more often, and for them regular exposure to the cold is a way of life and a way to harden their bodies.

The most famous of them is undoubtedly Wim Hof, a Dutchman famous for his crazy records… In 2002 he swam under see ice. In January 2007, he ran a half marathon barefoot and in shorts. In 2011, he stayed 1 hour and 52 minutes in ice, beating his own previous records. He even climbed Mont Blanc and Everest in shorts (but with shoes)!

Source : Twitter de Wim Hof.

Does Wim Hof seem crazy to you? Probably. You may think he’s superhuman, but he thinks he’s not. The human body is more resistant than we think, but people have forgotten it because they are too used to modern comfort. According to Wim Hof, with training and a lot of will, anyone can improve their cold tolerance by regular exposure.

He has developed a method that bears his name and has gained more and more followers over the years. Several times a year, Wim Hof organizes cold exposure internships so that volunteers can test his method with him and push their limits a little further.

By doing things that seem superhuman, Wim Hof caught the attention of some doctors and scientists. Dutch researchers conducted a study on some “normal” people and some volunteers who had followed his method. The researchers injected the subjects with a bacteria: those who had trained with Wim Hof showed a better immune response than the others.

Today, Wim Hof is a world-famous personality. He regularely organizes trips to Poland for people who want to try his method and overcome their limits. He also wrote a book: Becoming the Iceman.

How to get started?

There are several techniques for taking a cold shower.

  • The “brutal” method: start directly with cold water, preferably by wetting the water first.
  • A less brutal method: quickly alternate between hot and cold water.
  • The progressive method: start with warm or warm water and gradually reduce the water temperature…

Try different methods, and choose the one that works best for you. Be careful though: if you are not used to taking cold showers or if you have heart problems, be careful and go slowly.

Very important: remember to keep your breathing under control. A few tens of seconds before getting under cold water, take a deep breath to relax and oxygenate your body. Continue once you are under cold water. Do not step back and do not put the hot water back in after a few seconds, let your body adapt to the cold water. After a few tens of seconds, you will start to shake less and find cold water less unpleasant.

You can now use soap and shampoo if you haven’t already. Otherwise, you can rinse yourself… in cold water of course. That’s it, you’ve taken a cold shower! It wasn’t so difficult… You are now awake and full of energy to start the day!

There is another benefit to taking cold showers: you spend less time showering, so you save time and money by saving hot water and energy.

--

--

FactuO

French writer / Science — High-Tech — Politics — Skills and Learning. Writer for SkillUp Ed https://medium.com/skilluped