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Benefits of cold showers for the skin and hair.

Updated: Feb 29

Soft, hydrated skin and hair start in the shower: Your cleansing habits can set the stage for either a moisturising, nourishing routine or one that leaves you parched dry. Now, there are quite a few shower hacks you can rely on to secure silky strands and a glowing complexion, in addition to selecting a gentle, barrier-supporting cleanser, you can also opt for an ice-cold rinse. 1. Keeps the skin moisturised Hot water has the ability to strip the natural, protective oils and lipids from your skin. When you compromise that lipid barrier (which makes up about 50% of your epidermis), tight, itchy, uncomfortable skin isn't too far behind. In contrast, cold showers can soothe itchy irritated skin as the cold water doesn’t dissolve away these oils. 2. Soothes irritated skin If you're already facing some skin irritation, a cool shower will feel soothing. It can reduce irritation, itching, or redness, helping to calm atopic conditions as cold temperature can help reduce inflammation. Think of how you might use a cool compress to soothe a sunburn, eczema flare, or any other bout of irritation; a cold sensation can help dial down the discomfort. 3. Can lead to more youthful skin Cold water also stimulates the tiny muscles in your pores to give you tighter, firmer, more youthful skin. We need way more research on the topic, but we do know that cold temperatures can constrict the blood vessels in the skin (a process called vasoconstriction), which can reduce swelling and inflammation. This is why experts frequently recommend using ice under your eyes to get rid of dark circles and puffiness. The circulatory boost also gives an immediate, albeit temporary, improvement in the appearance of pores and skin tone. The tightening of pores can also temporarily help to reduce any ingress of pollutants and thus improve the skin's ability to function and respond to free radicals or fight cellular injury. 4. Keeps the scalp supple Hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils. Now, the skin on your face and body tends to receive most of the attention, but let's not forget that your scalp is your skin. When the skin up top loses its protective oils, it can result in tension, itchiness, flakes, ashiness, or redness. 5. Strengthens hair Cold water not only helps the scalp retain its moisture, it also seals down the hair cuticles and helps lock moisture into the strands themselves. The cool water temperature closes and strengthens the hair cuticle, which can result in stronger, healthier hair over time. It’s recommended to pair a cold blast with deep conditioning treatments, as you want to immediately seal all of those five-star nutrients into the hair shaft. 6. Increases smoothness & shine A little hair care anatomy: Your hair's cuticles make up the outermost layer of the strand, and they lie slightly over one another, sort of like shingles on a roof. Heat and steam can open up these cuticles and make it easier for moisture to seep in (which is where hot oil treatments earn their acclaim), but if they stay lifted, your strands will be more prone to brittleness and frizz. You want to seal down the cuticle after the hair soaks up all that moisture. When your cuticles are flat, your hair is healthier, shinier, and smoother. And that's where a cold shower comes into play: Taking a cold shower leaves room for the cold water to close up your pores and cuticles, which helps keep the moisture in and creates smoother, shinier, and less frizzy hair. How long does it take to see benefits? If all these advantages make you curious about a cold blast, you might be wondering how long (and how often) to stand under a shiver-inducing spray. Short answer? It depends on the benefit you're after: For skin: Generally, a tepid water temperature is best throughout the entire shower so you don't strip the skin of moisture. Also be mindful of how long you spend under the spray. Showers are best limited to five to 10 minutes with 60 seconds left to a cold burst. This is enough time to cleanse and hydrate the skin without stripping and receive the benefits of the cold boost. For hair: Switch to cold water whenever you're rinsing any product out of your hair. For those who may prefer a warmer shower, no need to worry. You don't have to keep the shower cold for the duration of your routine. Instead, make the water colder right when you are rinsing out the product from your hair, in order to seal the hydrating properties for super-soft strands.

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