Go on, have that shower even at night. But a warm or cold one depends on how you are feeling at that time.
KUALA LUMPUR: Is it a myth that taking a shower at night brings adverse health effects? Many Malaysians believe that taking a bath at night invites bad health.
But how true is the perception? What does the medical fraternity say about this?
Dr Anies Tan, who practises medicine at a private hospital, said research shows that taking a bath is good for cleaning the body from dirt and also for avoiding stress.
She said showering plays an important role in improving the health of the immune system apart from helping to avoid skin diseases like eczema and other health and medical problems.
"Most chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, renal failure and cardiovascular problems, come about from failure within the body's systems and our lifestyle. There is no (medical) evidence that says having a bath at night invites these chronic diseases," she explained.
Benefits of taking a bath
According to Tan, a warm water bath opens pores that can help removes toxins from the body.
"A warm water bath can heal sore muscles and helps keep the colon working properly. However, if you experience stress, a cold shower would be the right answer.
But what about taking a bath at night?
In a tropical country where the climate is hot and humid, taking a bath at night poses no problems, she said.
"Unless you are suffering from pneumonia and living in cold countries where there is winter, then showering even at night is good, as a bath helps to rid the bacteria and virus from the body's surface.
"Taking a bath is good for healthy living. Even in hospital wards, patients who can walk and afford to take a bath, are encouraged to shower."
She said the failure to take regular showers, including at night, can induce some skin illnesses apart from creating body odour.
"Bacteria can act on the perspiration and sweat on our bodies, creating an odour" she said, adding that the fresh feeling that comes from taking a bath will make the body become healthier, as showering also cleans some bad bacteria that live in the skin.
"This happens when we take a bath. The condition will be better if we use antibacterial soaps and bodywashes," she said, adding that the same principle applies to handwashing.
"It is hygienic if you wash your hands regularly, particularly before eating, and the same principle applies for taking baths, even at night," she said, adding that there is also no scientific proof that taking a shower at night is harmful.
Eczema is a chronic skin disorder that results in dry, easily irritated, itchy skin. There is no cure for eczema, but good daily skin care is essential in controlling the disease.
"When your skin is dry, it is not because it lacks grease or oil, but because it fails to retain water. For this reason, good daily skin care that focuses on the basics of bathing and moisturizing is needed," said Dr Tan.
She said the most important treatment for dry skin is to put water back in it and the best way to get water into the skin is to briefly soak in a bath or shower and to moisturize immediately afterwards.
"The goal of bathing and moisturizing is to help heal the skin. To repair the skin, we need to decrease water loss.
"Some dermatologists recommend that you perform your bathing and moisturizing regime at night just before going to bed. You are unlikely to dry out or irritate your skin while sleeping, so water can be more thoroughly absorbed into your skin," Dr Tan added.
Tight job schedule
There are many people who find taking a bath regularly a difficult task. There are reasons for this, among them are a tight job schedule or being far away from home.
Homeopathy practitioner Hassan Saidin said a tight job schedule is one of the main factors many traders and businessmen fail to take baths regularly.
He said many traders usually go to work early in the morning and come home very late at night. This makes many of them go to sleep to restore their energy for the next day, rather than take their bath first.
"Failing to take regular baths including at night, is bad for our healthy living. If we don't take a bath regularly, we will experience a lot of illnesses.
"Such problems such as skin irritations will decrease our performance and our confidence," he said.
But why do some elderly people advise against taking a shower at night?
"Such advice is not relevant today. Decades ago, many people stayed in rural areas where progress was slow, and many houses at that time did not have piped water supply.
"At that time, many who lived in the rural areas had to go outdoors and used wells and rivers for bathing.
"Of course, going to wells and rivers at night with no lights and only darkness posed various hazards such as poisonous creatures, and dangers at the river. That could be the reason why elderly folks advise the young not to take baths at night.
"Now we are more developed and have better facilities. It is good to cleanse your body before going to bed," he said.
According to Hassan, taking a shower is a perfect way to let the muscles relax.
"After a long day at work, your body and mind both need an easy getaway from fatigue. Taking a shower at night will help you get back your high spirits and endurance.
"There is a lot of confusion over the facts of taking a shower at night, as some people think it is harmful to the body, while some feel it may lead to illness and diseases," he said.
Is taking a shower at night bad for the health?
He said:"The answer is 'no', it is not a bad or harmful practice"
Hassan said taking a warm shower will cleanse a person's skin and open the pores and cleanse the skin from the inside, too. It will flush out toxins from the skin, making the person feel fresh and clean.
"Taking a bath will give you a deep and good sleep for the night. Taking a shower at night is also helpful in treating insomnia.
"Taking a shower will allow you to unwind, physically and mentally. You wouldn't want to sleep with all that dirt and sweat on your bed at night.
However, Hassan advised a warm shower if it is too late at night.
According to this homeopathy practitioner, a shower is a natural way to revitalise an individual's body and mind. The person will not only get good sleep but also stay asleep longer after a shower at night.