Did you ever wonder about the differences between baths and showers? And no, they are not the same. Both are part of hygiene, and each one serves a different purpose for personal and health reasons. Baths and showers are also part of self-care routines that can be good for the mind and soul.
While some people love to take long, warm baths after a long day, others prefer a quick shower to feel refreshed. Either way, both are excellent ways to clean the body, but only one is economical. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), water usage in baths can reach up to 70 gallons of water. While taking a short shower can only take up to 25 gallons of water. Furthermore, one can save more water if using a low-flow shower head (via Stanford Magazine). Although, that does not mean baths are bad. Again, each type of hygiene measure has benefits, but too much of either can be bad for the skin.
“To go one step further, showering and/or bathing too frequently can cause more harm than good,” Dr. Earim Chaudry, a Medical Director, told Glamour. “Exposing your skin to too much water more often than you should can dehydrate your skin, wash away beneficial bacteria, leave your skin irritated and/or inflamed and increase risk of infection.” Chaudry also shared that the skin does not need constant scrubbing as the body’s largest organ “does a pretty efficient job of cleaning itself.”
What are the benefits of taking a bath over a shower?
Baths are perfect for when you can spare a long time in the bathroom. It is excellent for recuperating after a tiring day at work or any activity. Depending on your preference, you can add those fancy bath bombs, Epsom salts, and even milk for a more relaxing experience. A sound bath is another method of bathing that has various benefits.
Soaking the skin in water for long periods can be beneficial, but it’s not for everyone. “The only benefit (to baths) is its ability to easily apply certain ingredients to skin,” Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a New York-based dermatologist, said in an interview (via Today). She advised adding oats to the water for people with eczema, as it soothes inflamed patches of skin. Experts recommend people suffering from the skin condition take baths for a maximum time of 15 minutes with oatmeal, salt, or vinegar to ease itching (via Today). If you have colds or fever, hot baths can also help fight congestion and regulate body temperature.
Dr. Earim Chaudry also claims that taking hot baths at night before bedtime promotes “better, deeper sleep.” Warm bathing also helps fight stress hormones and can promote happy thoughts (via Glamour). In fact, in 2018 Japan did a study of a group of individuals who had an improvement in their overall health when they took baths. Researchers found that these men were less stressed and tired compared to people who took showers.
Taking a shower can promote healthy skin and hair
For people who don’t suffer from any type of skin issue, showering may be best for you. The hygiene practice offers a lot of benefits to the epidermis and overall well-being. There are two kinds of showers — cold and warm. Like hot baths, the water in hot showers can help relieve tired muscles and can release toxins in the body. Meanwhile, cold water can help boost immunity and burn unwanted fats (via Healthline). Sick days can be a bummer, but you can actually improve your immunity by just taking a shower. A study done in 2016 revealed that taking hot-to-cold showers makes people’s immune systems better (via the National Library of Medicine).
Showering can also improve the outer parts of the body. The flowing water can improve blood circulation, which can make the skin look glowing. As for the hair, the running water stimulates blood flow in the scalp — promoting healthy locks. Apart from baths, showers can also improve one’s mood. Get rid of depressing thoughts by simply taking a shower, as it can stimulate the nervous system and promote endorphins — the chemicals in the body that relieve stress. For getting rid of dirt and bacteria, showering can do the trick, and it does not strip the skin of essential oils. On which to choose between the two — it depends on your preference and skin condition. You can take a bath occasionally and shower for your daily routine.
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