Bath or shower: Which is better for us?

Shower head
Everything from the environment to your skin [Photo: Pexels]

Baths and showers both play important roles in our lives; while we can enjoy the former reading a book by candlelight, we aren’t exactly going to start running a bubble bath when we’re late for work.

Regardless, we all have preferences; while some of us find showers rushed and un-relaxing, others find the idea of baths a bit gross (hint: they’re not).

But when it comes down to it, which is better for us?

Your skin

Woman washing face
Careful with those temperatures [Photo: Pexels]

With both showers and baths, here’s a quick rule: don’t run it too hot – it’ll dry your skin right out.

But overall, if you want to look after it, a bath will do the job.

Dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, told Refinery29 that baths can lower cortisone levels which can, in turn, can delay premature ageing and reduce acne.

She says you should make sure you moisturise the moment you get out of the bath, however, as water evaporates out of the skin leaving it dehydrated if you don’t.

And remember that if anything, washing too much can damage our skin more than whether it’s a bath or shower we prefer.

Your emotions

Woman with dandelion
Which makes us happier? [Photo: Pexels]

Few can deny a warm bath is much more comforting than the quick blast of a shower.

But you needn’t rely on this speculation alone – a 2011 study in the psychology journal Emotion has found that bathing could make you feel less lonely.

Researchers had 400 volunteers aged 18 to 65 keep a diary of their bathing habits and write down how they felt before and after, and found that baths significantly reduced the distress of social exclusion.

So if you’re feeling a little isolated, skip that shower for a bath.

The environment

Plant growing
One uses significantly more water than the other [Photo: Pexels]

Unfortunately there’s no ambiguity around this; showers are much better than baths for the environment.

Unless you’re having very long baths, showers use up a fraction of the water.


Are baths really ‘dirty’? [Photo: Pexels]

Let’s throw the idea that baths are ‘unhygienic’ straight out of the window:

“The dirt tends to settle away from the skin and body,” Dermatologist Doris Day, MD, told Refinery29 .

“It gets diluted in the entirety of the bathwater,” she says.

“Most people aren’t rolling around in mud, so we’re not very dirty.”

Though if you are dirty – perhaps because you’ve just worked out or are wearing a lot of make up – a shower might be better so it all goes straight down the drain.

All in all, it’s complicated – if in doubt, perhaps you should just stick with what your favourite was in the first place.

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