Shower Vs. Bath: Benefits, Drawbacks, And Which Is Better

Discover the differences between the two to decide which one is right for you.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sonam Jeswani Ramrakhiani, MBBS, DDV
By Arshiya Syeda

The bath vs. shower debate always brings out some interesting pointers. The proponents of each method swear by their benefits. However, there are a lot of us who still do not know what exactly the difference between the two is. If we look into history, people used to bathe in rivers, ponds, and lakes. Eventually, bathtubs came into the scene. Over time, showers also started getting popular as it is a space-saving and quick way to bathe.

Even if all these are just ways to clean your body and groom yourself, there are differences between taking a bath and a shower. This article will help you learn about the benefits of each method and help you choose the best one for you. Keep reading.

StyleCraze Trivia
The world’s first bathtub was invented by John Michael Kohler in the year 1883.

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.

Did You Know?
Digital, electric, mixer, and power are some types of mechanical showers.

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

Bathing provides therapeutic effects

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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 (1). 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).

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 help revive dull skin by increasing the blood flow to it, but this works only when a rich moisturizer is applied soon after bath without drying. Alternatively, a cold bath relieves inflammation in the skin, providing relief from allergies, rashes, hives, and bumpy skin. For the face, a hot water wash is said to open up clogged pores and help remove dirt and is a prerequisite for medical facials at clinics. Doing this on a daily basis may trigger rebound oil production and is therefore not advisable. Cold water splashes are advised for the ones with open pores, particularly to minimize their visibility.

3. Enhances The Quality Of Sleep

Bathing improves sleep quality

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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 (3).

Let’s now take a look at the cons of a bath.

Drawbacks Of Having A Bath

1. Dries Out The Skin

Bathing causes dry skin

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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 soaks 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 (4). 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

Shower soothes itchy skin

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Itchy skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema, can benefit from a cold shower (5). 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

Shower slows down skin aging

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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:

  1. Triggers dermatitis, eczema, and itchiness
  2. Leads to red skin, irritations, and chapping
  3. Kills the good bacteria on your skin
  4. 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 immediately 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.

The bath vs. shower can be an interesting debate as many of us are still unsure about the difference between the two. The key difference between the two lies in how your body is cleaned. A bath involves soaking and washing your body in a tub, while a shower provides water through a faucet. The water delivery method, feasibility of usage, and the amount of water required are a few factors that make them different from each other. However, excess of both can affect your skin and cause irritation. Therefore, keep in mind your skin concerns and lifestyle before choosing one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you take a bath on your period?

Yes, you can take a bath during your period. However, avoid using scented bathing products and soaps. Clean the bathing tub beforehand to avoid a risk of infection, and it is best to use a menstrual cup during bathing. This ensures proper hygiene and prevents leaking.

Key Takeaways

  • Bathing involves soaking and washing the body in a tub, whereas, in showering, the body is cleaned with a steady spray of water.
  • Bathing has therapeutic effects, and it improves the quality of sleep and skin health.
  • A shower can soothe itchy skin and has a relaxing effect.
  • You can go for a shower or a bath based on your skin type and skin concerns.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. The effect of passive heating on heat shock protein 70 and interleukin-6: A possible treatment tool for metabolic diseases?
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23328940.2017.1288688
  2. Hot Tub Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
    https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJM199909163411216
  3. Bathing before sleep in the young and in the elderly
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10408315/
  4. Role of female intimate hygiene in vulvovaginal health: Global hygiene practices and product usage
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1745505717731011
  5. The prevalence and clinical characteristics of pruritus among patients with extensive psoriasis
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11069504/
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Arshiya Syeda is an editor at StyleCraze. Prior to that, she was a content writer and combined her writing and... more

Dr. Sonam Jeswani Ramrakhiani

(MBBS, DDV )
Dr. Sonam Jeswani Ramrakhiani is a renowned dermatologist with over 11 years of experience. She has a sharp eye for... more

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