Bathing is not only essential for maintaining hygiene but is also a quintessential part of grooming and relaxing. People used to bathe in natural water bodies like rivers, lakes, and ponds in ancient times. Over time, they started using a bathtub to cleanse themselves. Gradually, showers were also introduced as a quick, space-saving way to bathe.
Be it a bathtub or a shower, the act of cleaning your body can rejuvenate your mind and body. However, apart from this key similarity, there are several differences between taking a shower and a bath. This article explains the benefits and drawbacks of each method to help you decide which is better for you. Keep reading to decode the bath vs. shower debate.
In This Article
Shower Vs. Bath: Is There Any Difference?
Yes. The basic difference between baths and showers is how the body is cleaned.
A bath usually involves soaking and washing your body in a tub. On the other hand, a shower provides a steady spray of water through a faucet to clean oneself.
A shower is different from a bath in terms of the water delivery method, the amount of water needed, and the feasibility of usage.
While both methods of bathing are suitable for maintaining daily hygiene, it is important to understand their benefits and drawbacks to decide which one is best for you.
Benefits Of Having A Bath
1. Provides Therapeutic Effects
Hot tub baths can provide passive heat therapy, which helps relax your muscles and joints. Lying in a lukewarm bath can also help you destress.
Studies reveal hot baths are useful in burning calories, similar to what is observed after exercising. An hour-long soak in hot water is specifically considered beneficial for people who cannot perform daily exercises.
Hot tub therapy has shown a decrease in the blood sugar levels of people with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
2. Improves Skin Health
Although there is no research to support this claim, many skin care experts suggest hot to cold baths to boost your skin health. Hot baths are said to open up the clogged pores and help remove dirt. This, when followed by a cold bath, may tighten the pores, preventing dirt and sebum accumulation.
3. Enhances The Quality Of Sleep
Nothing can beat the refreshing feeling of a good bath before sleep. Research shows that immersing in a bath before going to bed can enhance sleep quality, especially in older people.
Let’s now take a look at the cons of a bath.
Drawbacks Of Having A Bath
1. Dries Out The Skin
Prolonged bathing rituals can strip the natural oils of your skin, leaving it dry and dull. While warm baths are considered therapeutic, using very hot water may damage your skin and cause redness. The oils, perfumes, and bath soak may irritate your skin and cause allergic reactions when used frequently.
2. Causes Itchiness In The Genitals
Extreme hot or cold tub baths can alter the natural pH balance of the vagina and vulva. It can further lead to bacterial infections like bacterial vaginosis. Therefore, avoid soaking in a tub for too long to preserve the natural balance of your vagina.
3. Increased Consumption Of Water
Having a bath is considered a luxury today when many countries struggle with issues like scarcity of water. The water usage in a bath as compared to a shower is higher, and this increased consumption is sometimes considered wastage. Luckily, using small capacity bathtubs can help you conserve water and still enjoy the perks of a bath.
4. Requires Lots Of Space
Installing a bathtub in your bathroom would require lots of space for it to fit in. People living in apartments generally do not have huge bathrooms. Therefore, it can be a little difficult for them to install a fully functional bathtub.
A shower is a quick way to rinse your body, which is why it is the most opted method of bathing in our fast-paced world.
Benefits Of Having A Shower
1. Soothes Itchy Skin
Itchy skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema, can benefit from a cold shower. Unlike a bath that strips natural oils and moisture from your skin, a shower helps soothe itching, inflammation, and redness. Cold showers might also reduce the intensity of discomfort and the urge to scratch.
2. Provides A Relaxing Effect
The water from the shower falls on your body at a certain force, which provides a relaxing and massaging effect. You can also control the water pressure and flow as per your needs.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that while showering, your brain receives electrical impulses, which stimulate the release of endorphins or ‘happy hormones.’ This, in turn, helps reduce stress and stress-related skin conditions, such as psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema. Your skin also becomes less prone to acne, hives, flare-ups, bumps, rashes, and breakouts.
3. Prevents Skin Aging
Taking showers regularly can help your skin stay younger and radiant for longer. It imparts vitality and brightness to your skin. Cold showers can tighten the pores and make your face appear less puffy.
Showering frequently for long hours can aggravate dry and itchy skin conditions. Find out when you should avoid daily showers in the next section.
Drawbacks Of Having A Shower
While cleansing your body is important to maintain hygiene and improve your skin health, indulging in prolonged showers, especially in hot water, can lead to the following:
- Triggers dermatitis, eczema, and itchiness
- Leads to red skin, irritations, and chapping
- Kills the good bacteria on your skin
- Might sensitize your skin and damage its keratin
Note: If you have dry, itchy, or sensitive skin conditions, do not shower for more than five minutes a day. Avoid hot water and follow up with a rich moisturizer to prevent any damage.
Going through the pros and cons of baths and showers may have given you some idea of which method is better for your skin. So, what’s the final verdict?
Bath Vs. Shower: What Is Better For You?
Both baths and showers are good for maintaining hygiene. However, overdoing any of these can reverse the beneficial effects. It is also important to evaluate your skin conditions while deciding the best method. Also, review your space and budget before choosing what works for you.
Bathing and showering help cleanse your skin effectively and provide a relaxing effect. However, excess of both can result in skin irritation. Whatever you choose, keep in mind your skin concerns and lifestyle. Also, both methods demand certain specifications for installation, involve varied costs, and differ in levels of water consumption. Therefore, it is important to consider these factors before choosing a bath or a shower.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should women take baths or showers?
Women can take both baths and showers. However, they must not take prolonged baths or showers as they can irritate the skin and disrupt the vaginal pH.
How frequently can I take baths and showers?
While there is nothing wrong with showering daily, limit soaking in baths to 2-3 times a week.
What is the maximum showering time that is safe for my skin?
Anything more than 10 minutes can strip the moisture of your skin and cause dryness.
Should I use hot or cold water for bathing and showering?
Never use very hot or cold water to clean your body. Extreme temperatures can lead to redness, irritation, and chapped skin. Instead, use mild warm water to relieve stress, open clogged pores, and relax. You can also go for cold water baths and showers to enjoy various skin care benefits.
How many days can I go without a shower?
Poor hygiene and irregular showers can make your skin oily, sweaty, and full of grime. This causes dullness, blackheads and whiteheads, and acne flareups. Therefore, try to take showers every day, unless you are experiencing any serious skin conditions and your doctor recommends otherwise.
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