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Hot v Cold: Which water temperature is best for your skin

If you’re like many Americans, you prefer a hot shower or bath over cold water. Hot water is generally more relaxing. But you might be wondering, which water temperature is really best for your skin.

Which is Best?

Unfortunately, hot showers and baths dry out your skin, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). UPMC notes that hot water can inflame your skin, cause itching and peeling, and disrupt your skin’s natural moisture balance -- and recommends cooler water temps or shorter bathing times to keep skin at its healthiest.

Why Hot Water Dries Skin

Hot water tends to remove natural oils from your skin causing dryness, according to the American Skin Association. Using cool or lukewarm water instead of hot water helps keep your skin hydrated and doesn’t strip skin’s natural oils like hot water does.

Should You Avoid Hot Water?

Many people despise cold showers and baths, but because this water temperature is better for your skin should you endure cooler temps? You don’t have to. Choose shorter warm showers instead of long hot baths -- and if your skin turns red after washing it, the water temperature is too hot. If you can’t give up hot-water showers and baths, make sure to use a moisturizer after you clean up to keep your skin hydrated.

Are There Hot Water Benefits?

While hot water isn’t the best for keeping skin moisturized, hot showers and baths do come with some benefits. They can relive stress, relax you, warm you up when you’re chilled to the bone, clear nasal congestion, and induce sleep, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Bottom Line

Because hot water dries out your skin, lukewarm or cool water is more skin friendly. However, you have to weigh the pros vs. cons when deciding on just the right water temperature. If you do opt for hot showers or baths, be sure to use a moisturizer on your skin regularly.

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