From the age of 15 to 22, I, like many other adolescents, suffered from severe acne breakouts.
Whether it was my face, shoulders, back, you name it, my body was plagued with inflamed, pimple-ridden skin.
No… not like on those Proactiv adverts where the model would have a single spot the size of a pin prick…
…I mean red, tender lesions everywhere.
And if you’re unfortunate enough to suffer from acne, you’re probably aware of how damaging it can be to your self-confidence.
Knowing that strangers are staring at your face is a terrible feeling.
But what was worst about my acne was that almost everything I tried did literally nothing.
If you name a brand of face cream, I’ll bet my bottom dollar that I’ve spent (Ahem, wasted) my hard earned money on it.
Antibiotics? Apart from stomach cramps and inconvenient trips to the toilet, they did nothing.
So not only was I plagued with painful acne, but my wallet shrank by a considerable amount for nothing but false promises.
I felt so helpless.
Then one day, I noticed a correlation in my skin care routine – the hotter the shower I’d have, the oilier my skin would be.
(We’ll get to the reasoning for this soon.)
After a little experimentation, I found out that the inverse is true too – the colder the shower I’d have, the less oily and inflamed my skin would be.
So after years of trial and error (mainly error) of various creams/antibiotics/you name it, I was amazed that something as simple as the temperature of a shower would have the biggest impact.
Being the analytical person I am, I had to do some research to see why something as little as the temperature of water could have such a big impact on your skin.
Here’s why cold showers help acne:
Cold showers help acne by reducing oiliness, tightening your pores, reducing stress, and improving your immune system. All of these things are important in reducing acne.
In this article, we’ll cover the many reasons why cold showers can help reduce acne.
1. Cold Showers Reduce Oiliness
A common misconception that many people have is that warm showers reduce the oiliness of your skin, as they make your face drier.
Well it turns out the opposite is true…
By making your face drier, your skin reacts by producing even MORE oil and sebum to combat the dryness.
For people with acne-prone skin, this excess oil can then end up clogging your pores leading to more pimples.
On the other hand, cold showers don’t dry out your skin, leaving you with a more natural level of oil and sebum.
(As an aside, I’ve also noticed that my hair is less greasy/oily when taking cold showers, and this is most likely due to the same reason.)
2. Cold Showers Improve Immune Function
Did you know that taking Cold Showers increases the number of white blood cells?
Pretty cool huh…
White blood cells destroy bacteria in a process called phagocytosis.
This is important in the war against acne, as one of the causes of acne is bacteria found in your pores, known as Propionibacterium acnes.
(This is why antibiotics are commonly prescribed for acne, although they were ineffective for me!)
So by having more white blood cells available, the number of acne-causing bacteria can be reduced.
3. Cold Showers Tighten Pores
As you may already know, your pores are tiny holes in your skin which release natural oils to keep your skin moisturized and supple.
But unfortunately for acne sufferers, your pores may be your worst enemy.
This is because acne (blackheads, whiteheads, lesions, you name it…) always starts with a blocked pore.
Unlike hot water which loosens your pores, cold water does the opposite and tightens them.
This is great news for acne sufferers, as tighter pores are less likely to get clogged with bacteria, dead skin cells, oil or facial creams which could lead to acne.
4. Cold Showers Reduce Stress
In my view, one of the worst things about acne is what I call the cycle of doom.
There’s no doubt that having pus-filled lesions on your face makes you more stressed.
These higher stress levels resort to comfort eating, which funnily enough leads to…
Yep, you guessed it.
(I’m assuming here that your comfort eating is similar to mine, i.e. cookies, soda, junk food, etc.)
This is because junk food causes your insulin levels to spike, which causes inflammation as well as more oil production in your skin.
Then once your acne is worse from your comfort eating, you’re back to step 1 of the cycle of doom…
Do you see why this is such a problem?
Well thankfully, cold showers turn out to be an excellent mediator of stress.
Researchers from the University of Osaka found that cold water spas were effective at lowering Cortisol – the stress hormone.
By keeping your Cortisol levels in check, you’re stopping the cycle of doom in its tracks.
(Related reading: Do Cold Showers Work For Anxiety?)
Having acne throughout your adolescent years can truly shatter your self-confidence and self-esteem.
I’ve been there before myself.
But after reading this article, you’ll hopefully see that clear skin isn’t just a pipe dream.
Am I saying ignore all of your doctors advice and only listen to what I say?
We’re all different as humans, so what works for me may not work for you.
And vice versa.
So you may be thinking “What do I do now?”
I suggest you give cold showers a try for at least 30 days.
This should be long enough to see if there’s any improvement.
I’ll be honest, the first few times will be uncomfortable, but how much does healthy, clear skin mean to you?
Thank you for staying with me to the end of this article, and I’m looking forward to hearing your results!
Does washing your face with cold water help acne?
Yes – but probably not as much as cold showers.
Well, washing your face with cold water will help reduce oiliness and tighten your pores.
But it’s unlikely that washing your face with cold water will boost your immune system or reduce stress in the same way that cold showers do.
Are hot showers good for acne?
From my experience, the hotter the shower, the worse my acne was.
This can be explained by the reasons covered in the article.
Therefore, I don’t think hot showers are good for acne.