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Is Cold Water Good for Your Skin? The 411

Is Cold Water Good for Your Skin? The 411

Choosing the right skin care products matters — but so does your water temperature!

Is there a perfect temperature to aim for? Is cold water good for your skin, or is it better to wash your face in hot water?

Let’s discuss how water temperature impacts your skin and how to use it to your advantage.

How do pores work?

Before we dive into the optimal water temperature for washing your face and answer the question, “Is cold water good for your skin?”, let’s pause for a minute and talk about pores. Although every part of the skin plays its own role in keeping the skin (and body) healthy, the most crucial component of skin care effectiveness is the pores

Your pores are a passageway connecting your skin's outside surface with the inside. Specifically, pores are present around oil and sweat glands, helping to remove the natural oils (known as sebum), sweat and toxins from the skin. Without pores, those products would build up in the skin and potentially impact the entire body — as well as your appearance, leading to premature signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles.

When a pore gets clogged, there's always a possibility that bacteria can get trapped in there as well. These conditions are optimal for developing pimples, so ensuring the pores stay clear is also key for preventing breakouts. 

Plus, keeping your pores clean and clear allows them to absorb far more of the skin care products you put on your skin. 

Does hot water harm your skin?

As amazing as a hot shower feels, cranking the temperature of the water up too high can damage your skin. Hot water actually compromises your skin barrier and strips the skin of its natural oils. 

Don’t be fooled — although having less oil on your skin may sound like a good thing (especially if you have a particularly breakout-prone skin type), a healthy amount of sebum actually helps protect your skin and ensures that it stays as hydrated as possible.

Hot water also has the potential to exacerbate certain skin conditions like eczema or rosacea. When water is too hot, it dries out the skin, making it more susceptible to flare-ups. Lukewarm water is generally best for washing your face, especially for those with chronic skin conditions. 

Is cold water good for your skin?

Much like skin care products, there’s no one-size-fits-all water temperature that benefits everyone’s skin. However, it’s generally best to avoid extremes when it comes to skin care. We recommend landing somewhere in the middle and using warm water.

Finishing your routine with cold water may be helpful, though. Cold water can help close pores back up after you’ve finished your skin care routine, which minimizes sebum production and helps your skin look tighter and more youthful. People with naturally oily skin or those who have frequent breakouts may find this particularly helpful. 

Those with dry skin can also use slightly cooler water to wash their face. Without hot water stripping away the natural oils, the skin can stay even more hydrated. However, if the water is too cold, it can close the pores off too much and make it more difficult for the skin to absorb your products.

Another pro — washing your face with cold water can increase blood circulation. This blood flow can help open up your capillaries and deliver a healthy glow to your skin without stripping your skin of excess oil. Who knew cold water had so many benefits?! 

There may also be another benefit to using cold water as part of your morning skin care routine — some people swear it can help you wake up faster! If you’re the type that struggles to get going in the morning, a little splash of cold water on your face might be just the thing you need. 

Plus, cold water can reduce puffiness by causing the blood vessels to constrict. You’ll be awake, and your skin will look and feel refreshed, too. 

Other ways to protect your skin barrier

In addition to turning down the heat when cleansing your skin or showering, there are other ways you can protect and preserve your body’s first line of defense.

It starts with using the right face wash for your specific skin type. Gel cleansers, like our Papaya Enzyme Cleanser, tend to work well for people who need a little extra exfoliation. On the other hand, gentle cleansers can be helpful for those with sensitive skin.

After cleansing and exfoliating, it’s essential to promote hydration. Serums with hyaluronic acid like Youth Serum are an excellent option, as they can help draw extra hydration into the skin. Afterward, it’s important to follow up your routine with a moisturizer to lock in that hydration.

It’s also important to use antioxidants to help protect your skin barrier. Many facial cleansers, serums and moisturizers contain antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and retinol, which can all help defend against free radical damage.

And don’t forget the most important part of any skin care routine — sunscreen. Even if you don’t expect to spend time outside in the direct sunlight, sunscreen protects your skin from exposure to UV radiation that can come in from the windows or on a quick walk to your car. 

Sun exposure is one of the leading factors in premature signs of aging, as well as multiple long-term skin care concerns. An SPF of at least 35 that protects against UVA and UVB rays and doesn’t immediately wash off in water is generally the best option.

The bottom line...

Maybe you aren’t too keen on signing up for cold showers, but is cold water good for your skin? While it’s best to avoid any extremes when it comes to your skin — hot or cold — cold water helps reduce puffiness, fights dryness and makes the pores appear smaller. 

But water temps alone aren't the secret to healthy skin — it's all about a well-rounded routine, and we're here to help you create one. Book a skin consult with us to get personalized product and treatment recommendations!


Structure and Function of the Skin | MSD

Facial skin pores: a multiethnic study | PubMed

Impact of Water Exposure and Temperature Changes on Skin Barrier Function | PubMed

Skin Barrier Function and the Microbiome | PubMed


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