Soaking in a bath is a great way to unwind after a long day — add in a bath bomb or a glass of wine and you're set. I'm definitely a bath person, but I have to admit I sometimes wonder whether it's hygienic. If I'm taking a bath, I'm definitely taking a shower afterward — bath time is a chance for me to relax. But what if you use your bath time to actually get clean? Does it work? There's no definitive proof that baths are less effective than showers, but there are plenty of gross things that happen when you take a bath.
I promise I'm not a killjoy, but I've stopped taking baths because I find myself wondering how clean my tub actually is. If you love taking baths, I'm not going to stop you! In countries like Japan and Russia, there's rich cultural history surrounding bathing (although most of this bathing isn't taking place in the tubs we're used to). Taking a bath isn't a bad habit, and it can be a great form of self-care. Unfortunately, even something as pure and wonderful as a bubble bath can be pretty disgusting. If you were already side-eyeing baths and cleanliness and wondering if baths really get you clean, researching what actually happens during a bath will make you shudder and stick to showers forever.
Your Dead Skin Sloughs Off
Exfoliating is a good thing and helps keep your skin healthy and fresh. But do you really want to hang out with your dead skin cells in the bath? According to a blog post from The Huffington Post, "your dead skin layers naturally slough off" when you're in water. Think about that the next time you take an extra-long bath with. Also, is there a word that feels worse rolling off the tongue than "slough"? I can't think of one.
You Could Get A UTI
One of the most common ways to contract a urinary tract infection, a painful bacterial infection that can cause pain and even kidney problems, is by taking bubble baths. Per a Bustle article from 2015, bubble baths can allow chemicals into your urethra, which puts you at risk for a dreaded UTI. Showering is the way to go if you want to protect your bladder.
Wounds May Take Longer To Heal
One of the first things you're told after you get a tattoo is to avoid baths. That's because the tattoo is technically a wound, thanks to the needle that's been used on your skin, and soaking a wound can make it harder to heal. This is true for all wounds, not just tattoos. If you're dealing with any sort of cut or abrasion, you should wait for it to heal before taking a bath.
You're Soaking In A Germ-Filled Basin
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but bathtubs are really, really dirty. One study found that staph germs, which can cause dangerous staph infections, are present in almost 30 percent of bathtubs. Another study says bathtubs are 100 times more germ-filled than garbage cans. Cleaning your tub regularly can help eliminate some of the ickiness, but I'm tempted to take even shorter showers after learning just how disgusting my bathroom is.
You Could Irritate Your Vagina
Even I, an eternal bath hater, will admit that bubble baths are pretty luxurious. They aren't just for kids, either — companies market bubble baths specifically for adults. Some unfortunate news, however: Bubble baths and bath bombs can be bad news for your vagina. You should only use unscented soap on your vulva, and most bath bombs and bubble baths are scented, which means you may feel some unpleasantness in your nether regions after a long soak.
If you continue to take baths, I salute you and respect your self care journey. Just promise me you'll at least think about showering before you get out.