As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t wash your face with either hot or cold water. Rather, you should find the Goldilocks of water temperatures—just right. That would be somewhere around lukewarm to warm on the thermometer. And here’s why.
Bringing your skin into contact with water that is too hot or too cold may cause aggravation or outbreaks. Your pores aren’t designed to withstand extreme temperatures. Have you ever noticed how skin doesn’t cope very well in arctic elements or overly dry heat? Steaming hot water can actually scald the skin and strip natural oils while ice-cold water doesn’t offer any added benefits and may simply feel uncomfortable.
Of course, what is too hot or too cold will depend on each individual’s heat sensitivity and thus, the ideal face-washing temperature is your own happy medium. Warm water is a more effective cleanser than cold water so veer towards that end of spectrum but stop well before it is steaming hot. If you like the feeling of cool water on the skin, do a final rinse with cool but not cold water over your face. Some people believe cool water seals the pores, although it’s not scientifically proven.
Adhere to these temperature rules in the shower too—especially if you wash your face during yours. An overly hot shower can sap the moisture from your skin, leaving your body feeling dried out and lacklustre, no matter how nourishing your body wash or how thoroughly you massage in a post-shower body lotion. Some people extol the virtues of a cold shower for circulation, cellulite-reduction and muscle recovery (note the popularity of ice baths in health spas). However, the reality is that your everyday shower isn’t going to be an icy one—after all, this isn’t a pain threshold test. (If you do want to test the waters—excuse the pun—try ending your shower with just 30 seconds of cool water to stimulate blood flow, much like the cool post-cleanse face rinse).