While some people love the idea of a relaxing bath, others can’t fathom the concept of sitting around in a tub full of water. If baths vs shower debate has you undecided, we’ve taken a look at the self care and skin care benefits to understand which is actually better for you in the long term. Spoiler alert: the answer lies in the skin itself.
The skin is the primary and best defence of the body against external irritants. It has a protective barrier that prevents bacteria and harmful substances from entering the body, while limiting water loss and dehydration. Skin does that successfully with sebum – oily substance produced in the sebaceous glands – to keep moisture inside the skin. Sebum transports antioxidants to the surface of the skin, and antioxidants as natural compounds protect us against the damaging effects of free radicals. This process keeps the skin healthy and hydrated, maintaining its elasticity and firmness.
Any prolonged exposure to water will strip skin of its natural oils, and whilst baths may be soothing for skin conditions such as eczema, they’re not quite as beneficial as showering.
The one benefit to bathing ritual is its effect on the mind and wellbeing. Decreases in stress hormones (cortisol) have been reported with warm bathing, as research has found that they may help to balance the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin.
Also, taking a bath before bed can increase body’s temperature at night, which helps synchronise our natural circadian rhythms – leading to better, deeper sleep. However anyone experiencing hot flashes may find the steamy bath increases body's core temperature, which can trigger sweating and redness.
How to bathe well for your skin, at any age?
- Dry brush and take a cool shower beforehand to ensure your bath is clean and bacteria free, and body does not crave excessive heat.
- Avoid hot water, particularly anyone with sensitive skin or menopause symptoms.
- Apply oil (or cleansing oil) to protect and soften skin beforehand. Our Merry-Berry Plump is packed with antioxidants and seed oils to help seal skin’s barrier, nourish and enhance the sensorial bliss!
- Use pure epsom salts to relax muscles and supercharge skin, and minimise use of fragrance-led enhancers that irritate skin e.g. bath bombs and bubble products.
- Try not to dwell in bath, step out and apply body mask or lotion on wet skin, turn to audio (podcasts, music) for mind stimulation – reading and screen-time tend to tempt us to stay in the bath for too long.
- Make bathing an occasional treat, it will help keep skin healthier longer term, and reduce water usage. We love saving the bathing treat when at a spa retreat, where baths and relaxation pools have a perfect temperature and ambiance. Therme Vals in Switzerland, and Adriatic’s restorative hotel spas are our firm favourites, and Japanese bath houses (sento) are on our post-pandemic wish list.
Saint Iris is an award-winning face-2-body skincare with a sunshine soul. Our range is powered by pure Adriatic apothecary formulas, created for effective and transformative yet seductively easy skin wellness rituals.
As seen in Vogue, Marie Claire, The Times, Wallpaper*, Stella, You, Women’s Health and more.