Is it better to bathe or shower? All your questions answered - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Is it better to bathe or shower? All your questions answered

It’s an age-old question, should you bathe or shower? Both cleansing methods come with their perks, but which one is right for you? Let’s dig in.

When it comes to daily hygiene routines, the antiquated debate between bathing and showering still rages on, and it will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Both have their advantages, but is one method truly better for your health and overall wellbeing? As we’ll explain, the benefits of both bathing and showering largely differ between each individual. But there are a few key factors that could break the deadlock.

So which one is right for you? We’ve rounded up all the information you need to make an informed decision based on your individual needs and preferences.


Do bathing and showering have different benefits?


We have to assume that you’re already aware that bathing and showering offer different health and wellness benefits. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be trying to ascertain which one works best for you. Regardless of that, let’s be clear, while bathing and showering share many common qualities and both provide a boon to your personal hygiene, there are specific benefits to choosing one over the other. We’ll explore exactly what those unique benefits are soon. Read on.


Is it cleaner to have a shower or a bath?


That’s the million-dollar question, right? It’s also likely to be the biggest factor in what method you ultimately decide to choose. So, let’s keep it simple. Showers are cleaner than baths. If thorough cleanliness is most important to you, you should opt for a shower.

Assuming that you’re standing in the right spot, a shower will evenly distribute water all over your body, cleansing your skin of dirt, oils and sweat, before quickly running out of sight and down the drain. On the other hand, baths will also rid you of all those undesirable substances, but rather than quickly flushing them away, those same substances will then be floating around in your tub with you. It might sound obvious, but the quick removal and disposal system of showers are far superior in achieving overall cleanliness.


What are the benefits of bathing?



It’s time to break down the specific health and wellness benefits of both bathing and showering. The advantages of both are plentiful—the message you take away from reading this should absolutely not be to stop cleaning yourself altogether—and they both have particular areas of strength. Let’s get into it, with the benefits of bathing first up.

Skin hydration:

The biggest advantage that bathing has over showering is its far superior impact on skin. The harshness of a hot shower can cause damage to keratin cells, which in turn can irritate and dry out your skin. Baths allow for extended, less harsh exposure to water, which can help hydrate the skin, soften rough patches, and soothe skin conditions like eczema. Bathing can be particularly beneficial for individuals with dry or sensitive skin.

Stress relief:

Bathing is synonymous with relaxation. The warm water and soothing ambiance of a bath can help relieve stress and promote mental well-being. The simple act of soaking in the tub allows for an extended break from the demands of daily life and is perfect for winding down. Showers can also relieve stress, but baths are typically longer, making them a more effective source of stress relief.

Muscle relaxation:

A warm bath can help relax muscles, reduce spasms, and calm the nervous system. Warm baths in particular promote blood flow by dilating blood vessels, making it an excellent choice for a recovery session after a strenuous workout, or a sweat-heavy gym session.

Improved sleep:

Soaking in a warm bath an hour or two before bedtime has been proven to promote better sleep. The drop in body temperature after a warm bath can signal to your body that it’s time to rest, potentially improving the quality of your sleep. It’s all part of maintaining your circadian rhythm, and the increased length of a bath ensures that it will do a better job than a shower in regulating body temperature.


What are the benefits of showering?


Time efficiency:

It may seem obvious, but for those with busy schedules, the time-saving benefits of a shower can be a deciding factor in the bath vs shower debate. Naturally, baths take longer than showers, making showering a more practical choice when you need to freshen up and get ready in a hurry.

Efficient Cleansing:

As we discussed above, showers provide a more thorough and efficient means of cleansing your body. The steady flow of water can easily rinse away dirt and impurities while meshing easily with soap and promptly heading down the drain.

Energy Savings:

Believe it or not, showers typically use far less water compared to baths, making them a more environmentally friendly, and utility bill friendly, option. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, it takes up to 265 litres of water to fill a bathtub, while a five-minute shower will only use around 40-100 litres. Sure, you could argue that most people don’t fill their bathtub all the way up, and that a shower can last much longer than 5 minutes, but on average, a shower remains the more eco-friendly option.

A refreshing wake-up call:

Whereas a bath can be a great way of calming down and preparing for bed after a long day, a brisk shower in the morning can be invigorating, helping you feel alert and energized to start the day.


The Verdict: Whatever suits you best


The choice between bathing and showering ultimately depends on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and specific health needs. Bathing is ideal for relaxation, muscle relief, and skin hydration, while showering is more efficient and eco-friendly. It’s also worth noting that you don’t necessarily need to pick one option and stick with it. Most people opt for a combination of both, enjoying baths for relaxation and showers for everyday cleanliness.

Whether you prefer to soak in a calming bath or take a quick and invigorating shower, maintaining good personal hygiene is essential for overall health and wellbeing. The key is to strike a balance that suits your lifestyle and helps you feel your best. So, go ahead and enjoy the water-based cleansing ritual that makes you feel great and keeps you healthy.


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Cayle Reid

By Cayle Reid

Cayle Reid is a fan of everything health and fitness. He spends his free time at the gym, on his surfboard or waking up early to watch sports in incompatible time zones.

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