Is Cold Water Good for Your Skin When You’re Washing Your Face?

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If you already have a good skin care routine all figured out but still can’t understand why your products aren’t working in the way that they should, there could be a simple answer – the temperature of the water you’re using to wash your face.

Many swear by colder temperatures, believing that cold water tightens the pores and refreshes the skin. However, when it comes to your skin’s health, it’s important to separate fact from fiction, which is what we’re here to help you to do.

What Does Cold Water Do to Your Skin?

Pretty woman surprised on the news

So, what exactly happens to your skin when you wash your face with cold water?

Firstly, let’s get one thing straight. Many will say that cold water closes the pores, but this isn’t true.

Your pores aren’t muscles, and therefore, they can’t open and close, making this one of the biggest skincare myths out there.

However, that doesn’t mean that cold water doesn’t have its use. Washing your face with cold water is a great way to reduce puffiness in your skin, since it acts just like an astringent.

Icy cold water will refresh your face and cause your blood vessels to dilate. This gives circulation a boost, which will leave you with a glowing skin tone.

The same applies to the skin on your body if you take a cold shower. However, the benefits don’t stop there, especially after intense workouts.

Studies have found that washing with cold water can actually improve overall hydration, thanks to how it cools the body down so quickly [1].

All of that said, using cold water on its own during a face washing session should be avoided.

No matter how good your facial cleanser may be, chilly water won’t be able to effectively soften the dirt and excess oil on your skin, meaning that it won’t provide a good enough cleanse.

What Does Hot Water Do to Your Skin?

There’s nothing quite like a hot shower to relax the body at the end of a long day. However, washing your skin with hot water can cause some serious damage.

For starters, hot water strips away your skin’s natural oils. These natural oils, which sit on your skin’s surface, play an important role – they’re vital for moisture retention, and also serve as a physical barrier between your skin and environmental harm.

If you have dry skin or sensitive skin, hot water will only exacerbate this. The damage that it causes will also leave your skin more prone to fine lines and other forms of premature aging.

You may think that fewer oils is the way to go for oily skin types, but, unfortunately, you would be wrong. Yes, hot water will clear away sebum, but the dryness that your skin will experience after this will only trigger it into producing even more oil than it usually does.

This then increases your chances of developing clogged pores and acne breakouts.

The Best Water Temperature for Your Skin

Woman with clear skin on a splash of clean water

So, if washing your face with hot water causes damage, but washing your face with cold water means that your face wash and other skin care products won’t work as effectively, what’s the best water temperature to go with?

No matter what your skin type may be, the answer lies in the middle – lukewarm water. Not only will lukewarm water ensure that your cleansing skincare products work properly, but it’ll also clear away just the right amount of excess sebum.

However, there’s nothing wrong with splashing your face with cold water after you’re done washing your face with a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water, especially if you’re looking for a way to wake yourself up in the morning.

Using a gentle facial cleanser is just as important as the right water temperature. Just like hot water, harsh ingredients can also strip your skin of its protective oils.

By all means, use cleansers containing powerful skin care ingredients, such as glycolic acid, but make sure that this is balanced out with gentler actives too.


Woman cleaning up face and removign dirt and makeup

Does cold water damage skin?

No, cold water doesn’t damage the skin. However, it also doesn’t effectively clear away dirt and sebum.

Are cold showers good for skin?

Cold showers are great for the skin after a workout.

Is warm water good for acne-prone skin?

Water that’s too warm will only exacerbate acne-prone skin. Instead, your water should be lukewarm.

Is cold water good for oily skin?

Cold water is a good way to end your oily skin cleansing session, but, on its own, it won’t be able to soften the excess oil on your face. You’ll need to use lukewarm water to do this.


So, is cold water good for your skin? The answer is yes, but you shouldn’t be cleansing with cold water alone.

The best way forward would be to cleanse your skin with lukewarm water, before following up with a splash of cold water to get your blood circulation going to give your skin a healthy, rosy glow.



Avatar for Megan Foley

Megan has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. In that time, she’s penned a diverse collection of articles for online publication, with a focus on skincare and beauty. From in-depth product reviews to concise marketing content, Megan is passionate about developing content that informs, entertains, and inspires.