Can Hot Showers Cause Hair Loss?

  • Medically reviewed by:
  • Written by: William Slator
  • Last updated: 06/12/2023

Overly hot showers may cause excessive and unnatural hair loss evidence suggests.

At this point, there have not been any in-depth scientific studies to conclusively prove this point, but there is some evidence that suggests there may be a connection.

However, keep in mind that we’re talking about excessively hot showers here. So when applying warm water to your hair it’s better to err on the side of caution, and use cooler rather than hotter water.

This article will go into detail about hair showers and hair loss so you can keep your hair as healthy as possible.

Why Might Hot Showers Cause Hair to Fall Out?

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Hair loss is essentially an unnatural process. We can see this from studying indigenous people who rarely suffer from pattern baldness and comparing this to developed countries (particularly cities) where hair loss rates are highest.

So anything unnatural immediately starts ringing an alarm bell when it comes to keeping our hair.

Hot water is essentially unnatural and could therefore be damaging the hair follicles. Anything above 37 C (99.8F) is higher than body temperature and is therefore unnatural.

Hot water could damage the scalp, causing dryness. It could be causing inflammation, which in turn could cause hair miniaturization that leads to hair thinning and loss.

Hot showers can remove oils from the hair and scalp that help protect themselves from damage and leave the hair follicles vulnerable to wither and die.

The respected dermatologist Dr. Piliang says:

“The epidermis has an outside fatty lipid layer for protection. It is what keeps bad water and germs out and good water in, and keeps our skin moisturized.”

She compares the fatty layer to butter on a knife: It stays put if held under cold water but melts away under a hot stream. That is similar to what a hot shower over 112 degrees does to the protective layer of people’s skin.

“In younger people, skin will replace the lipid layer faster than in older people. As we age, we have less tolerance for hot water, which may result in dry, itchy, red skin and possibly even eczema.”

Even moisturizer will not replenish the body’s natural oils, she says. A 20-year-old woman may be able to take two hot showers a day and be fine, “but she may find she has dry patches if she does that at age 40.”

What Does Dr. Piliang Recommend?

Dr. Piliang recommends reducing the temperature of your shower because:

“The pieces of keratin on the hair are like shingles on a roof, and a quick, 15-second cold rinse can help them line up neatly so they appear smooth and reflect light.”

So, we know that hot water damages the skin and hair follicles, and we also know that cooler water can give your hair a nice shiny gloss and protect essential hair oils.

Are There Any Other Benefits of Cold Water?

It turns out, that not only can hot water damage your hair, but cold water can help. Cold water (room temperature) can help invigorate the scalp and improve circulation.

Increased circulation helps deliver oxygen, nutrients, and minerals to the scalp and hair follicles, helping them grow. Improved circulation also helps remove waste products.

Cold water can activate a hormetic response which is an adaptive response to mild stress. When the body is exposed to mild stress it adapts. In this case, exposure to cold water can increase antioxidants and improve immunity as well as other benefits.


Since cold showers can help invigorate the scalp, improve circulation, improve gloss and shine, and reduce inflammation that could cause the hairs to fall out, it looks like room-temperature water is the way to go.

If you do have hair loss, the first step that is recommended is to seek a medical professional to get a diagnosis. There are many different forms of alopecia so it is important to know which type you have before seeking treatment.

Androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss for men and women. If that’s the case for you, your doctor may recommend you an FDA-approved treatment such as minoxidil or finasteride.

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