Hot Showers vs. Cold Showers

15 Mar

I have eczema…or something like it. Dermatitis of some sort. Luckily, I know a few of the things that make it flare up and can work to avoid or protect myself against them:

  • Stress.
  • Extreme cold (and especially cold wind).
  • Hot water.
  • Scented lotions, body washes, etc.

It might come as a surprise, but hot water is the biggest struggle for me avoid. Well, I don’t really have a choice with cold weather, and limiting contact with hot water involves some SERIOUS self-discipline. The winter makes it especially hard because who doesn’t love a hot shower or bubble bath on a cold day? Stripping down and getting into a lukewarm shower isn’t very comforting.

But I have to do it. If the water is too hot, I’ll emerge with huge, red splotches all over my body, and my hands will have raised, bright red patches of irritated skin. I always apply lotion after showers, but on days when I choose the short term gratification of a hot shower over the long term pleasure of happy skin, I have to use a topical cream that my doctor prescribed. I can’t use it too often, though, because it thins out the skin and makes it photosensitive. (Gross.)

I really do have to pay for a steamy shower. Despite this, it’s hard to maintain the practice of lukewarm showers. Maybe I need to spell out the pros of a cold shower (besides not getting red and splotchy) instead of just the cons of taking a hot one:

  • Increases circulation.
  • Shinier, healthier hair.
  • Wakes you up.
  • Strengthens the immune system.
  • Keeps more of your natural oils on your skin and hair. (This is related to the Golden Rule I mentioned in my last post about your skin overcompensating for lost oil.)
  • Saves electricity.
  • Saves water. Because it’s likely not going to be as long as a hot shower.

Of course, these are benefits of a cold shower and not necessarily a lukewarm one, but you get the idea. It’s also my understanding that you can get some of these benefits (especially the first three) from a cold blast for a minute or two at the very end of your shower (even if the rest of it was hot), but that won’t make my splotches disappear!
What are some of your skin’s known enemies and how do you combat them?

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2 Responses to “Hot Showers vs. Cold Showers”

  1. Jo March 15, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    I’m sad for you not being able to have hot showers.

    My skin’s enemies are any type of fragrance, makeup, and any clothing/sheet/scarf that’s not washed immediately after contact with my skin.

  2. goodskinday March 18, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    So Jo, does that mean you change your sheets every day?! It must feel heavenly but be such a nuisance!

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