There is so much more to bathing and even showering than just soaping up, rinsing off and getting out. If it were just about getting clean, we would all be taking 10-minute showers and calling it a day.  In fact, researchers have found that many of us are spending up to 30 minutes in the shower and even more in the bath – are we all overdoing it and why? According to dermatologists we are. In fact, they suggest that the less we allow water to touch our skin and strip it of our natural oils the better. So, which is better shower or bath?  Well, you might want to first consider if the time you are spending is too much. Here are a few reasons why you might want to cut back:

  • Our skin absorbs water but only to a certain point. If you stay in hot water for too long, you end up losing the moisture absorbed and will be left with dry skin
  • Longer baths or soaking do not make you any cleaner than short ones. Rather, take a shorter bath and follow with a rinse in the shower
  • Excessive washing or scrubbing of the skin in the shower can cause flare-ups for those who suffer from eczema
  • Longer showers can be wasteful and harmful to the environment

Look, for all our sakes do not stop showering or bathing! Regular cleansing – especially when going to work, working out or for those who sweat a lot – is highly recommended in our books. But if you are finding you have overly dry skin, constant flare-ups or even just high energy bills, you might want to rethink your regime.

So, in the great bath vs shower debate – what are the benefits of both, if it’s not just about getting clean?

Benefits of Showering

Benefits of Showering

There is nothing quite like taking a shower to cure the effects of a hangover or an early workout. Letting the water wash away the effects of a heavy night can feel like therapy and in fact, some say it can be. Having a shower has so many benefits and some of this comes from its ability to impact most of the 5 senses. Yes, the feel of the water on your skin is obviously a great way to cleanse and gently massage the muscles, but the repetitive sound of the water flow is also said to bring on feelings of wellbeing – this is especially good for those who are dealing with anxiety or depression. The ‘white noise’ of the water tapping on different surfaces can create a calming effect and increase the level of oxytocin in our bodies, creating the right mental state for sleep. Again, the visual impact of running water is purported to be good on the mind and can act as a subliminal message of the water cleansing and washing away negativity.

Showers are great, but there are some drawbacks too. For those who suffer from eczema, it may be a good idea to listen to the advice of dermatologists and limit how long you showering. Washing away the protective qualities of the natural oils in the skin can equal flare-ups and damage. Then there is the environment of course – long showers not only reduce the water from rivers, lakes and reservoirs it also causes an increase in pollutants and reduces plant and animal diversity. What’s more, the longer the shower the more energy required – which means burning ever more fossil fuels.

For those who might want to try a less impactful alternative, there is always a cold shower. Before you run away screaming, the benefits of cold showers include more than just using less energy:

  • Calm itchy skin
  • Speed up metabolism
  • Boost immunity
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Wake you up
  • Increase circulation
  • Reduce muscle soreness post-workout.
  • Help to give hair and skin a glow

If you can stand them, the numerous cold shower benefits could outweigh the discomfort. But not for the weak hearted!

Benefits of Taking a Bath

Then there are baths.

If you are a bath person, this is going to be a tough read – researchers have found that showers are generally better than baths, both for your skin and for the environment. It’s fine, because there are so many other benefits to bathing and those who love to bath know exactly what we mean. Yes, a soak in the bath is like a hug. For those who are struggling with feelings of sadness, stress, loneliness, overwhelm or just a need to pamper themselves, the bath is the ultimate selfcare practise. Here are some facts to make you bathers feel better:

  • Baths can warm the body and relax muscles, tension and create a general feeling of calm
  • Baths can be a great vessel for essential oils like calming lavender, frankincense and Ylang ylang
  • Baths allow you to multitask – try reading a book in the shower and you’ll see what we mean
  • Baths are great for having mother and baby time
  • Oat baths are great for those suffering from eczema
Woman taking bath

Do you Get Cleaner in a Shower or a Bath?

Are hot showers good for you and do they effectively clean your body? Yes! Are hot baths good for you and do they effectively clean your body? Yes!

That said, a quick rinse under the water or simply laying in the tub for a bit will not get you clean.  Showering and bathing are only effective if you are soaping up thoroughly, rinsing properly and not ignoring parts of your body in the process. This takes time, but 10 -20 minutes of soaping up and rinsing off is usually enough for basic cleaning.

Is It Better to Take a Bath or a Shower?

Ok, so what’s the answer, is it better to take a bath or a shower? The difference between shower and bath = minimal. Regardless of what the experts say, just do you. Getting clean is only one aspect, if you find yourself yearning for some selfcare with candles and music or you simply just want to refresh after a sweaty day, just be glad that you actually have the choice.

Bath vs. Shower – Who Wins?

You do. They are both pretty darn good!