Is There Any Reason for Me to Take a Bath Anymore?

Dermatologists argue that our skin doesn't benefit from a soak in the tub, but studies show that our mental health just might.

Is There Any Reason for Me to Take a Bath Anymore?

We’re guessing you don’t take too many baths, but that’s cool—most Americans don’t. Maybe it’s the thought of wading in one’s own lukewarm filth for half an hour that’s a turnoff. Or for the earth-minded, filling up the average tub with 50 gallons of water as opposed to taking a 10-minute shower, which uses roughly half that amount. Whatever the reason, way more people take showers than baths, which is probably why more and more hotels are ripping bathtubs out completely. But are they missing out?

The short answer is no, at least according to dermatologist Lisa Chipps, MD., who says that it’s better for your skin to take quick, lukewarm showers. “Use gentle soap only on the areas of your body that need it,” she advises. “When you get out, pat dry and apply moisturizer on any areas where your skin tends to be dry.” Dermatologist Anthony M. Rossi further recommends a soak and smear technique, where you lock in the moisture right after a bath by applying moisturizer over slightly wet skin.

Although Rossi notes that baths can be beneficial for soothing muscles, the medicinal benefits of taking a bath are largely psychological. A University of Wolverhampton study found that a daily bath significantly improved the mood and optimism of the participants because it allowed for isolation, quiet and comfort in a way that showers can’t. Not to mention the rubber ducky which, as Ernie notes, is both the one and makes bath time lots of fun.