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60% of Brits are bathing wrong: Here’s the optimum temperature according to health experts

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Brits could be bathing too hot, after a study found that three in five (60%) people are filling their tubs to higher than recommended temperatures by experts.

The study, ran by bathroom retailer Sanctuary Bathrooms, delved further into Brit’s bathing habits and asked participants to record the temperature of their bath over the course of two weeks.

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Results showed that three in five participants were bathing above the recommended 40°C maximum temperature suggested by experts, at an average of 42°C.

With the cooler months setting in, it’s a desirable time of year to be relaxing in the bath. However, it seems that many of us aren’t aware of the potential effects on our bodies when it comes to filling the tub, with searches for ‘ideal bath temperature for adults’ up by +1300% in the last 12 months.

Considering the spike in searches, and the shocking results of the study, Sanctuary Bathrooms worked with health experts to reveal the ideal temperature, and the impacts of regularly bathing above it…

Abbas Kanani, Pharmacist at Chemist Click explains: “The optimum bath temperature should be around 36-40°C, or just above the average body temperature of 37°C – Brits should avoid going above 40°C.”

Dr Deborah Lee of Dr Fox Pharmacy agrees: “Anywhere above 40°C is too hot. Although temperatures above 40°C are unlikely to burn the skin, this can still have health consequences.”

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Besides the uncomfortable sensation of lowering yourself into the bath when it’s too hot, there are impacts on your skin that may make you reconsider the temperature of your tub.

Dr Lee also says that bathing in hot water can result in damaged skin, an increase in blood pressure, and nausea.

She continues: “Bathing and showering in very hot water strips the natural oils from the skin, leaving it dry, red, and brittle. Sometimes the skin overreacts to hot water and produces too much oil to try and compensate for the dryness. So, if you have oily skin, taking long, hot baths and showers can make this worse.

“The heat opens the pores and causes the skin to sweat, which can also cause acne to flare up. It can also cause the skin to age more quickly, resulting in the development of fine lines.”

If like many Brits, your bath water is a little on the hot side, the experts also explain the measures you can take to keep your skin protected and hydrated, both before and after bathing, as well as what to do if you feel dizzy or nauseous following a hot bath.

Top tips on taking care of your skin and health:

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  • Test the temperature of your bathtub when filling it using a thermometer. Or, if it feels hot, leave for a few minutes to cool down slightly in case it is above the recommended temperature
  • Try to keep bathing time between 10-20 minutes so you can enjoy the calming benefits of bathing, without drying your skin out.
  • Use moisturising body wash or bubble bath to maximise hydration to the skin
  • After exiting the bath, use a nourishing body moisturiser on damp skin to prevent any dryness.
  • Drink a glass of water after a hot bath, to keep your skin hydrated and make up for any fluids you may have lost.

What to do if you feel dizzy or nauseous:

Ever climbed out of the bath and felt dizzy? It turns out that a sudden drop in blood pressure is another impact of bathing too hot.

Abbas Kanani advises: “Take a seat, preferably outside the bathroom where the temperature is not likely to be as hot and allow your blood pressure to restore (usually around 5 minutes in healthy individuals).

“Take long and deep breaths and allow your body to cool down. Drink cold water slowly, try not to make any sudden movements, and eat a light meal – these can all help raise blood pressure and alleviate feelings of sickness.”

Are you running your bath too hot?

James Roberts, Director at Sanctuary Bathrooms, says: “It is an idyllic image of bathroom relaxation: a hot, steamy bath filled with lots of bubbles, and a place to soak and relax away. But many Brits may not realise they could be putting the body under unnecessary stress or discomfort by bathing at high temperatures.

“This research shows that over half of us may be guilty of having a bath too hot from time to time. As such, it is important to take a little time to ensure our water is cooler before enjoy a good soak as the experts suggest, in order to enjoy bathing and maintain our wellbeing.

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