Should you wash your skin with cold or hot water?

The question:  Should you wash your skin with cold or hot water?  There are only two choices here…so, do you know the answer?  Well, the answer is both!  Either extreme – too hot or too cold – will prematurely dry out your skin.  Age and weather are your skin’s worst enemies when it comes to dryness so you certainly don’t need water joining the party. 

Hot showers may feel amazing, but the long term effects on your skin are not worth that temporary sensation.  Hot water can cause skin to be terribly dry and lose natural oils, and skin is left vulnerable to other problems, such as chronic skin conditions, redness, irritation, rashes, flakiness and even blemishes.  Showering and washing your face with lukewarm water is the best way to go to avoid dryness.  If you like to take warm showers to clear your sinuses, try a netty pot or other nasal rinse instead. 

Many people forego comfort and only use cold water because they think it is best for their skin.  That’s not true either.  Sealing pores with a splash of cooler water works well for some people, but water that is too cold can be just as bad as water that is too hot.  Cooler water does help improve circulation and may reduce skin redness.  If you are accustomed to using cold water for this purpose, try splashing cooler (but not too cold) water on your face after washing or rinse your body with cooler water for 30 seconds at the end of your shower.  This is enough to get the blood moving without causing damaging dryness. 

Beyond water temperature, water quality may be an important consideration that you’re overlooking.  Hard water contains a lot of heavy metals that are toxic for skin.  In fact, they are everything you want to avoid in your skin care regimen.  Using a water filter in your bathroom is probably a good idea, much like you would do for drinking water in your kitchen.  You can test your water with a kit from a hardware store to find out if your water is laden with heavy metals. 

Here are some additional tips for washing with lukewarm water and for keeping your skin hydrated, refreshed and clean:

  • Don’t over-wash your face.  Washing in the morning and at night will suffice, or maybe once more after a workout. 
  • Makeup remover is not necessary if you have a good facial cleanser that can get all of your makeup off itself.  Makeup removers contain harsh chemicals that are bad for your skin and body and may lead to dryness.
  • Use an all-natural facial cleanser that won’t strip away moisture or prohibit natural oils such as our Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser made from plant glycerin and coconut oil.
  • Pat your face after washing but don’t scrub it dry.  Leave some dampness on your face and immediately follow up with moisturizer to lock in some of that water.
  • Carry around facial wipes or our Hydrating Mist and Toner to continuously add refreshment and hydration to your skin throughout the day.
  • Remember, exfoliating and facial masks are part of your cleansing skin care routine as well.  Exfoliate once to three times weekly and use a clay mask at least once a week as well.  These both help thoroughly clean pores, penetrate the skin with tons of nutrients and moisturize deep beneath layers of skin.



Erin Stieglitz
Erin Stieglitz