Search icon


14th Mar 2024

Is hot or cold water better for washing your face?

Anna Martin

water washing face wash face

Most of us wash our faces at least once or twice a day

The main difference between all of our routines might lie in the temperature of the water.

Some folks like it piping hot, steam rising off it for that squeaky clean feel, others like a cold splash to wake them up in the morning.

The question is, is one better than the other?

Which temperature is the best?

water washing face wash face temperature
Credit: Getty

You’ll be surprised to know that the answer is neither hot nor cold it’s the best of both worlds.

According to Dr Susan Massick, a dermatologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, the rule you should follow is to use lukewarm water.

Speaking to Byrdie, she explained that this is because when the water is too hot, it can strip the face of its natural protective oils, while too cold it might not effectively remove makeup and debris.

While cold water may still be beneficial for some, such as those with acne-prone skin, hot is never recommended.

Why you should never use hot water on your face

Though hot water might feel cleansing and refreshing, it’s just not the best for your skin.

Hot water can cause several different skin issues.

It can strip your skin of its vital natural oils, causing dryness, dehydration, and increased sensitivity.

If you’re prone to eczema or rosacea, hot water is well-known for triggering pesky flare-ups. 

You may think that if you have oily skin your complexion benefits from a good splash of piping-hot water, but this isn’t the case.

When your skin becomes stripped of its natural oils, your sebaceous glands try to compensate by producing even more oil which could trigger breakout.

When to use cold water

water washing face wash face temperature
Credit: Getty

While lukewarm water is best, dermatologists say that there can be some benefits to washing your face with cool or cold water every so often.

Dr. Debra Jaliman a dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai says that it can help calm acne inflation and irration.

It can also help reduce any puffiness, especially for those who find they wake up with puffy eyes.

This is because cold water can cause vasoconstriction or the narrowing of blood vessels which can give the skin a temporary brighter and less inflamed appearance.

Just remember that cold water can cause your pores to contract, trapping in any grime, bacteria, or excess oil potentially making your skincare routine less effective.