B-r-r-r-ing on the Surprising Benefits of Cold Water!
Cold showers. You may associate them with the merciless Spartans, a hard-core stint in the Marine Corps, or a wacky internet “challenge” for a good cause.
But you may not know that taking a daily cold shower is good for your skin, and good for your overall health.
Even if it takes a little getting used to.
Isn’t hot water more healthy?
As mammals, we’re naturally attracted to water that’s close to our 98.6 degree body temperature.
A hot soak is inviting after you’ve been out in freezing temperatures, but the fact is that hot water isn’t good for skin.
Steaming showers and high heat in general, like a sauna, may trigger spikes of persistent hyperpigmentation.
Hot water can also dehydrate skin, stripping away essential oils.
Skin may respond by overproducing sebum in an attempt to normalize skin, and this can lead to breakouts.
Even if you aren’t up for a super cold shower, stick with warm-to-cool water to keep skin balanced and happy.
Are there any downsides to cold water?
Keep in mind: there is such a thing as hypothermia, where your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat. Think arctic conditions, or being thrown overboard into the North Sea.
A cold shower lasts...well, how long can you stand it?
Two minutes, maybe three? You’re good.
If your skin is sunburned, go for the cold, but skip the shower.
Water-pressure may irritate super sensitive skin, so try a cool bath instead.
Also soothing: brewed, chilled organic tea-bags (you can make your own soothing tea compresses with cheesecloth).
And the classic post-party go-to: bags of frozen peas, that mold easily to wherever it hurts.
What can a cold water shower do for me?
A daily downpour of cold water may be good for your mind as well as your muscles.
As we mentioned earlier, high heat can lead to pigmentation, dehydrated skin, and acne.
Cool water can refresh skin, help regulate sebum levels for minimized breakouts, and help skin retain moisture.
Now, for attitude.
The cold-water activity generating interest today is called “The James Bond” shower by wellness experts and cinema buffs alike, so named because in the original Ian Fleming novels and film versions, Agent 007 always freshened up with an icy drench — martini and tuxedo optional.
Is that freezy downpour what enabled suave 007 to always keep his cool? Perhaps.
Here, let us pause to discreetly report that brief, regular exposure to cold water has been shown to raise estrogen levels in women, and testosterone levels in men.
Cold showers also have been demonstrated to stimulate what’s known as the “blue spot”, the brain’s primary source of noradrenaline, a chemical that plays a role in relieving depression. Cold water also spikes your brain’s output of beta endorphins, which instantly, naturally reduce pain.
Then there are the purely physical reasons to take a cold shower.
Athletes have long relied on ice baths for muscle recovery, to minimize injuries — not just to kill pain, but to reduce bruising and swelling.
Russian athletes, among others, traditionally wait in an unheated (translation: freezing) space just before a competition, believing that the exposure to the cold raises their pain threshold.
Even if that sounds a bit severe, it’s hard to deny that a blast of cold water — including a plunge into an unheated pool — makes your heart beat faster and makes you take deep breaths.
Just doing this leads to a jump in metabolism, which may have long-term benefits including potential weight loss.
Translation: a higher metabolic burn catapults white fat, a passive substance, into action, transforming it into healthy brown fat which actually burns calories!
A cold shower helps lymph vessels push out waste products faster, reducing blockages — and this helps your body fight infection, and even joint pain.
By keeping your lymphs healthy, your skin is less prone to breakouts and more even-toned.
Get into the chill zone — gradually, if you prefer!
You don’t have to start off icy.
You’ll still get the James Bond benefits if you start off with your usual warm water, then switch to cold — and incidentally, your cleanser and shampoo will work better in warm water.
No time for an icy plunge?
Refresh your skin in seconds, just by keeping a few key skincare products in the fridge.
Our NEW! Super Cooling & Moisturizing Face Mask with Green Tea Extract combines some of Robin’s favorite soothing, antioxidant ingredients — green tea, Moon Orchid, and rice extracts — to keep skin supple, hydrated, and brightened.
Just place the sheet mask over your cleansed skin, press it into place, recline for 15-20 minutes, and forget about that heat wave.
Another fridge-friendly beauty treatment: our Hard Work = A Bonus Rose Spray Toner cools out redness with hydrating rose and seaweed extracts — great after you come in from a long run, or after a long day.