Time to take the plunge?
Health and beauty experts are touting the benefits of cold showers — generally defined as bathing in water less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Think of it as a mini ‘shock’ to your system,” Dr. Majdoline Jayoushe, a specialist in internal medicine and associate professor at Mount Sinai, told Vogue this week.
“When you’re in cold water, your brain is too busy focusing on making the unpleasant sensation go away rather than thinking about all the reasons you are unhappy or stressed.”
“It helps you get out of your head,” she added.
Studies have found that cold showers or cold plunges can help increase endorphins, boost metabolism, strengthen immune health, promote healthy weight loss, improve circulation, reduce inflammation and swelling, fight symptoms of depression, and lessen aches and pains.
Some also claim that cold water can give you a beauty boost by tightening your pores and adding shine to your hair.
“Cold showers can temporarily tighten [pores] and help you retain the natural oils in your skin and hair,” Dr. Mahammad Juber, who has specialized in pharmacology, confirmed to WebMD.
However, people experiencing breakouts may want to rinse their face with hot water to open and deeply cleanse their pores.
Experts recommend taking a cold shower in the afternoon or evening, noting that our core body temperature is at its lowest in the morning.
Jayoushe advises to “take deep breaths and move under the shower to distribute the water evenly across your body.”
Professionals often recommend beginners start with a few seconds and add five more on each time.
You don’t have to freeze for long — a 2016 study published in PLOS One found that people who took a cold shower for just 30 to 90 seconds for 90 days called in sick to work 29% less than people who didn’t take the plunge.
“We often think of athletes taking the cold dunk in an ice bath,” Eric Noyes, a certified nurse practitioner at Avera Medical Group Internal Medicine in South Dakota, said last year, “but we are seeing more healthy adults exploring the possible benefits of a short, chilly bathing experience.”
“Most people don’t know that cold showers can decrease cortisol which can really help with things like anxiety, depression and even addiction,” added Noyes.
It’s not just health practitioners praising the benefits of cold water therapy — celebrities including Hailey Bieber, Drake and Kim Kardashian have all soaked in the experience.
However, those with respiratory challenges like asthma; cardiovascular conditions; hypertension; or other heart-related issues should be cautious and consult with a doctor beforehand.