We’re not going to tell you you’re showering wrong — when it comes to being naked, best practices are clearly a personal preference.
But there is a way to shower optimally, for better looking skin and hair when you step out. And the trick is so simple, you can add it to your everyday routine.
It goes like this: before you step out of the shower, douse your skin and hair in cold water for 2-5 minutes.
The theory, according to GQ, is that the the steam from your boiling shower is bad for your skin and hair, and the heat and moisture actually dries out your skin. Cold water, on the other hand, can help seal the moisture in and improve blood flow, providing numerous benefits, but not the least of which is healthy-looking skin and hair.
And there’s some truth to that, according to an interview GQ did with dermatologist Dr. Terrence Keaney.
“Cold temperature decreases transepidermal water loss, contributing to better skin hydration,” Keaney told GQ. What this means is that it draws less moisture and essential oils away from the skin, keeping it where it belongs.
Cold water also constricts blood vessels, decreasing the look of redness and irritation on your skin. As for your hair, dermatologist Jessica Krant told the Huffington Post that cold water can affect the hair by decreasing inflammation around hair follicles, flatting them against the scalp, and making your hair look healthier and stronger.
But cold water can also make you healthier. According to Keaney, it “redirects blood flow to deep blood vessels, improving blood flow to the heart” with the resulting effect of jump-starting your metabolism. Some studies have also suggested, according to Medical Daily, that cold water also increases heart rate, speeds up muscle recovery, and stimulates weight loss.
For the more morning-adverse among us, it also provides a more immediate benefit: it wakes you up!
To get these benefits, one must run cold water (no lower than 61 degrees Farenheit, since any lower may be dangerous) over you skin and hair for about 2-5 minutes.
And there you have it: A better looking, healthier you and all it took was a little bit of suffering in the shower.
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