I’ll admit I’m the world’s biggest wuss when it comes to bathing or showering in cold water. Even when there are scorching hot temperatures, I’ll still opt for a mildly warm shower instead of ice cold. I may slowly turn the hot water tap down during shower but even then, I’d rather not switch off the hot tap entirely.

To be fair, if you live in a region with longer winters and icy cold weather for more months of the year than warm weather, it makes sense to keep that hot tap open, so you’d need to take that into consideration, but when all is said and done, are hot or cold showers better for you and why?

I splish-splashed across the web to find out.

In favour of heat:

  • Hot showers can relieve tension and soothe stiff muscles. If you have a powerful showerhead, even better! You can let the hot water work like a mini massage on your shoulders, neck, and back.
  • Studies have shown that taking a hot shower can amp up your oxytocin levels and ease anxiety. Anyone working with stress can use more of the love hormone in their life.
  • A hot shower also acts as a natural decongestant to relieve cold symptoms, since the hot steam moisturises nasal passages.
  • Under the weather and running a slight fever? A hot shower might be what you need to help break your fever and bring your temperature back to normal.

In favour of the cooler option:

  • Cold showers – as unbearable as they are – are actually really good for our bodies. Turning your shower cold for the last five minutes can help ‘shock’ your body awake. This instant change in temperature relieves your body of fatigue and increases your mental alertness.
  • A ’cooler’ shower (around 20 °C) for two to three minutes once or twice daily is recommended by researchers as a treatment for depression. Just make sure you check in with your doctor before testing this out.
  • On the more vain side of the spectrum, cold showers are better for our hair and skin. Where a hot shower can dry things out, cold showers hydrate and help with split ends and dry skin. I also have it on good authority that rinsing your shampoo out with cooler water places less stress on your hair, leaving your hair in a more sleek condition. All of those beautiful sleek looking seals can’t be wrong.

Whichever works for you, a cautionary note – no, I wouldn’t suggest that you filch the company water cooler or boiler to test out the hot or cold shower theory. That water’s for drinking, dear, not bathing.