Overly hot showers may cause excessive and unnatural hair loss evidence suggests.
At this point there haven’t been any in depth scientific studies to prove this point, and I don’t think there will be anytime soon, but there some evidence that suggest a connection.
I recently stayed at a nice hotel that had one of the most amazing showers you could imagine. Whereas usually I either shower my body with warm water and later wash my hair with mildly warm water, this time I had a really warm shower and washed my hair at the same time.
Within an hour after I noticed much more than usual hair coming out as I dried my hair.
This made me wonder if there was a connection between the hot water and the hair loss. I needed to research this subject further.
Why might hot showers be causing hair to fall out?
Hair loss is essentially an unnatural process. We can see this from study 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 998F) 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 itself 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 won’t 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 protects essentials hair oils.
Are there any other benefits of cold water?
It turns out, not only can hot water damage your hair, but cold water can help your hair. 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 follicle, 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.
It looks like there is enough evidence that hot water can cause hair loss to avoid overly hot showers.
Why would you anyway?
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.