Sorry, Cold Showers Do Not Cool You Down When It's Hot Outside

I can only apologise for what I'm about to share.
fhm via Getty Images

Call me sweaty Betty, clammy Tammy, or smelly Nelly (OK, actually, please don’t) – the point is, I am absolutely roasting in this heatwave right now.

And aside from causing me to drink what feels like a river’s worth of water on the regs, the sheer sweatiness of the whole situation has also led me to take a minimum of two showers daily.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find the prospect of an ice-cold shower after coming home from a stifling commute incredibly soothing. But it turns out that it might not be the best option if you want to cool off (I know, right?).

It turns out that warm showers could be better for you than ice-cold ones, because of how your body responds to the colder option.

So, why does this happen?

Ice-cold showers can make you feel better in the short term – but not in the long run

I get it, I get it – that first feeling of icy water hitting your sizzling-hot back is pretty elite. But as with all the best things (junk food, gossiping, etc.), the temporary bliss it provides doesn’t come without future stress.

This happens because the cold water in your chilly shower causes your blood vessels to constrict.

And when it’s hot out, your body likes to cool you down by bringing blood closer to the top of your skin (side note: this is also why you might feel more tired or even bloated during a heatwave).

So, the blood can’t access the top of your skin – and unlike with a dip in a cold lake or chilly pool, your speedy cold shower doesn’t dip your core temperature for long enough to provide lasting relief.

Warm, or tepid, showers, on the other hand, can help bring your blood to the surface of the skin.

Not only can this provide a longer-lasting cooling effect, but it can also help to improve your heatwave sleep.

And a tepid shower is more helpful if you want your moisturisers to absorb deeply into your skin – I’m not the only one who suffers from summertime dryness.

In fact, lots of science-backed heatwave-busting advice is counterintuitive. For instance, eating spicy food in the sun is actually a great idea.

And yes, the same philosophy applies to drinking ice water – it doesn’t cool you down in the long run. But in this case, I reckon I’m saying ‘science be damned’ and sipping on my fridge-cold water anyway.

Look, just because it’s true doesn’t mean I’m doing it.