Showers vs. Baths: Is One Better Than the Other? We Asked Experts | kzfbfkttn.com

Showers vs. Baths: Is One Better Than the Other? We Asked Experts

When it’s time to get clean every day, most of us automatically jump in the shower. It (usually) takes little time for the water to heat up, and we can be in and out in just a few minutes. Baths, on the other hand, are considered more luxurious. They’re for cozy evenings when you’re in the mood for some soothing self-care. But which is actually better for you?

Curious as to whether we’ve been missing out by showering more often than taking baths, we spoke to board-certified dermatologists Kseniya Kobets, MD, and Amy Wechsler, MD, to get their opinions on both. Read on to learn whether showers or baths are your best bet for getting squeaky clean.

MEET THE EXPERT

Pros and Cons of Baths

Hygiene and Cleanliness

The state of your tub matters most for how hygienic a bath is, and a clean tub is key to a bath getting your body clean. If it’s clean, you’re good to go—but if it isn’t, you’re opening yourself up to serious risks. “There is a risk of… infections from sitting in dirty water,” says Wechsler. “Many people don’t shower before they bathe, and sitting in a tub filled with dirty water is not a good idea,” she adds.

Baths have the pro of absorption throughout your entire body, all at once. “The whole body gets submerged in the bath water of a temperature of your choice, in which you can dissolve magnesium bath salts and essential oils,” the latter of which can help with your zen, explains Kobets. Additionally, she says that “since you have more time and contact with water in a bath, the skin more likely gets soaked and [cleaner]”—though she recommends rinsing off after, especially if your soak included certain fragrances or heavy bath soaps.

Water Usage

Unless you take outrageously long showers, a bath will require more water than a shower. This isn’t ideal, considering all the issues our country has with the ability to provide clean water for all people. How much water your tub will take to fill depends, of course, on how big it is. But if you compare a standard five-minute shower with filling up a standard-size bathtub, the shower wins on conservation, and the bath loses.1

Skin Health

Baths can benefit your skin if you add ingredients that moisturize, cleanse, or relax your muscles. “Baths are a more luxurious time spent indulging, relaxing, and possibly absorbing certain healing and calming ingredients soaked into the bath water, like bath salts and essential oils,” says Kobets.

Time and Convenience

You’re unlikely to want to get in the bathtub before it has finished filling up. Because of that, baths simply take more time than showers do. On top of the time needed to fill them up, the point of being in a bath is the soaking, which also takes time. That makes baths an excellent idea for a night at home but far less convenient as a way to start your day, especially if you need to get out of the house quickly in the morning.

Pros and Cons of Showers

Hygiene and Cleanliness

Unless your bathtub is freshly scrubbed, showers are your best option for ensuring your cleanup actually gets you clean. “Showers are potentially more hygienic, and bathtubs that are not cleaned may contain bacteria and fungus,” says Kobets. Showers are also quick, which means there is less time for any bacteria or fungus in your immediate vicinity to get on you and stay there. You have less contact with your surroundings, so even if there is something awful like mildew on a shower curtain, chances are slim that you will come into physical contact with it.

Water Usage

As we’ve established, showers are the better choice regarding water usage. It takes less water to shower than it does to fill a bathtub (unless you take a very, very long shower).

Skin Health

Wechsler finds showers to be a better option for your skin. “Showers are generally better as sitting in a tub of water is very drying for the skin,” she explains. Because you’d have to counter the drying element of water by adding products to your bath, that makes showers the winner—you don’t need anything but body wash to get the job done.

Time and Convenience

Showers are also the more convenient option. You’ll need a fraction of the time to take one as you would to take a bath. “Showers are much more convenient and efficient,” says Wechsler, who notes that you don’t have to wait for the tub to fill up and that it’s easier to wash your soaps and hair products on and off. Kobets agrees, noting that “since baths require filling up the tub and then cleaning up afterward, showers are definitely a more convenient option to get clean.” She adds: “They’re a great way to get in and get out in the morning rush.”

Personal Preferences and Considerations

Of course, nothing matters more than what feels right for you! You may prefer showers over baths or vice versa. Or you may enjoy both, depending on your schedule and the time of day. If you have issues with your skin, that also needs to be taken into account. “The skin barrier can be compromised after soaking in a bathtub (especially in eczema), and it is important to hydrate the skin immediately after towing off,” recommends Kobets. “I always recommend my patients hydrate with skin with ceramide-containing emollients or moisturizers, as [many] natural oils and humectants are washed off during a shower—and especially a bath soak.”

Safety Considerations

Baths may be a better choice for anyone who has trouble standing for long periods. While a shower stool is an option, you might find it difficult to get as clean as you can when standing. On the other hand, baths aren’t a proper fit for anyone who gets lightheaded, as getting in and out of hot water can exacerbate this.

As far as bacteria and fungus go, if you’re going to take a bath, you ought to clean your tub first every time. A shower doesn’t offer many opportunities for skin infection, but according to our derms, baths do.

The Final Takeaway

The choice is up to you, but overall, we’re voting that a shower is better for you than a bath. They’re the ideal option for water usage, cleanliness, and convenience. Baths are a better choice as an activity, should you care to relax in one for a while—but you’ll want to make sure the tub is sparkling clean before you hop in. If you opt to take a bath, take a shower first, then rinse off and moisturize well after.

No matter which you choose, be conscious of your water usage: Both showers and baths require many gallons of water to get you clean.

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