There are two types of people in this world: those who shower in the morning, and those who shower before bed.
The title of ‘best showerers’ can be a cause for fierce discussion and divide; we’re passionate about the time of day we choose to cleanse.
Morning showerers think there’s no better way to start the day than by waking up under a stream of hot water, and anyone not partaking in said morning ritual is insane. It’s the ‘shine’ part of ‘rise and shine’.
Night showerers take the stance that getting into bed without washing off the days’ dirt and grime (and even negative vibes) means you’re basically festering in a pool of your own personal garbage. How can you relax enough to go to sleep when you haven’t washed the day away?
We asked dermatologist Dr Natasha Cook for her expert opinion on the benefits of both shower times, to see if one came out on top.
The benefits of your shower, by time of day
According to Dr Cook, there are benefits to showering at both times of day.
Morning showerers mainly benefit from “waking up the body and getting the circulation going,” says Cook. “Especially if you oscillate the temperature from warm to very cold for as long as you can stand it, and then back to warm again.”
Varying your shower temperature is like a DIY ice bath and sauna combo, but in the shower.
RELATED: 10 ways to wake up without coffee
“It wakes up the cells by shutting down the circulation with the cold water, then reopening with the hot water,” explains Cook. She recommends trying to do it three times. “You generally feel fresher.”
Meanwhile, evening showerers are “removing the pollution of the day,” says Cook.
This is “actual environmental pollution,” she explains. “A lot accumulates on the skin producing free radical damage and inflammation.”
But Cook also talks of metaphorical pollution, by soothing your frayed nerves and preparing you for slumber.
“Having a warm shower relaxes muscles helping you sleep.”
By the sounds of things, evening showering serves an actual function (to rid the body of pollution) whereas you morning showerers just feel more ‘awake’.
Cook, however, isn’t as concerned about when you have your shower, as much as how often and how hot.
The problem with scalding hot showers
The temptation to keep turning the ‘H’ dial is strong, especially in winter, but high temperatures can damage the skin.
“[Showers that are] too hot do damage the skin by over evaporating and drying out the skin. Especially if you have dry skin or eczema,” warns Cook.
In fact, water doesn’t provide moisture to the skin.
“[Water] takes moisture out via evaporation, and dries out the skin,” explains Cook.
“This strips out the moisture from the epidermal barrier layer and compromises its protective function.”
The problem with having too many showers
You might be thinking, “if there are positives to both, why don’t I shower morning and night?’ – but this can cause some harm to your body’s largest organ if you’re not careful.
“If you have OK skin, and no problems with eczema and dryness, and you take appropriate measures to protect against the evaporating and drying effects of water, then having two showers a day isn’t a problem,” says Cook.
However, there is a very large, soapy caveat.
Forget everything you knew about soap
“Don’t use soap. Soap contains surfactants — the ingredients that make a product foam,” she says.
“Foaming products ‘strip’ the skin, wearing down and damaging the epidermal barrier layer and function. This layer is imperative to protect your skin and it needs to be functioning in order to have healthy skin.”
But buying soap-free isn’t an easy solution.
“Even if a product says ‘soap free’, if it foams, it has soap and [you should] avoid it! We over wash and damage our skin,” says Cook.
Cook’s favourite cleansing product is a skin bath and shower oil.
“Rub it into the skin then wash off in the shower,” she advises. “It provides protective moisture into the skin while showering, leaving a light layer of oil or hydration. Pat dry when you get out.”
She understands it can feel a little different at first, “but give it time to soak in and absorb. Your skin will feel soft, hydrated and amazing.”
If you avoid all foaming products and moisturise after a shower when your skin is still moist, Cook believes you can prevent dryness via evaporation and reap the full benefits of your shower — no matter what time of day that may be.