How many times have you asked yourself what’s healthier — a bath or shower? I stopped asking myself that question when I moved into an apartment that has a shower and no bathtub! Recently, when I spent the weekend at a dear friend’s home, my eyes popped open when I saw her glorious and sparkly-clean bathtub in her guest suite. She had a great variety of bath salts, more than I could ever imagine. Of course, I had to indulge and jump into a bath the minute we said goodnight. While I was soaking, I thought about baths versus showers and which one would be healthier.
Do Baths or Showers Dehydrate Your Skin
When it comes to skin dehydration, both showering and bathing will dry out your skin to some extent. However, taking a bath gives your skin time to soak up nutrients. You can add moisturizing bath oils and salts to create the ultimate soothing and hydrating experience. While you can’t replicate this in the shower, you can apply moisturizer immediately after showering.
For both baths and showers, be sure that the water is just slightly higher than your body temperature. Water that is too hot strips oil from your skin, leaving it unnaturally dry.
Tip: If your skin starts to turn red, the water is too hot.
Showering and bathing are both excellent ways to clean your skin. However, if you happen to be exceptionally dirty, consider taking a shower instead. Taking long showers (more than 10-15 minutes) is guaranteed to dry out your skin.
Taking a Healthy Bath
You can take extra steps to ensure a healthy bath. Although it takes extra time, it’s a good idea to take a shower before taking a bath. It’s important to remove sweat and debris from your skin so that you don’t sit in a warm bath with unnecessary contaminants. Once you are finished with the initial shower you should thoroughly rinse the tub and then fill it with fresh bathwater.
Once you’re soaking, it’s best not to spend longer than 30 minutes in the tub to avoid skin dehydration. To compensate for moisture loss you can add essential oils and other moisturizers directly into your bath.
If you are inclined towards having a marathon bath session, carefully consider your water temperature. Your bathtub should not be as hot as a hot tub. Very high temperatures can decrease blood flow to the brain while simultaneously lowering blood pressure and heart rate. This is the perfect recipe for fainting and developing serious health issues.
The temperature of most hot tubs is between 100-104 °F. As stated previously, a good guide is to check to see if your skin is becoming red. If so, add some cooler water.
Bathing for Stress and Relaxation
Nothing beats a hot steamy bath with Epsom saltsto loosen up your muscles. It also gives you an overall good feeling. Taking a bath helps with relaxation because it reduces stress hormones, such as cortisol. This can directly impact your skin by helping you not breakout! Furthermore, a bath can be a great part of your mental wellness routine.
Essential oils are a wonderful addition to aid in stress relief. Personally, I have 20+ essential oils, and in my free time have made lists of blends that I enjoy. Since I shower more often than taking a bath, I use essential oil blends in my diffuser and sometimes add them to my body lotion. Depending on the desired effect, I can use lemon or peppermint for a pick-me-up or lavender to de-stress.
Bath or Shower for the Environment
As for the eco-friendliness between a bath or shower, an average bath uses 36 gallons of water, while a 10-minute shower uses approximately 20 gallons. To stay eco-friendly, you could plan a monthly night of pampering where you pour yourself something to drink, play your favorite music and light an aromatic candle before soaking in your bathtub.