Can Hot Showers Cause Hair Loss?

  • Medically reviewed by:
  • Written by: William Slator
  • Last updated: 08/03/2021

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?

Ketoconazole is a key ingredient of some popular hair loss shampoos

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 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 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. 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.


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.

Information contained on this website has not been evaluated by any medical body such as the Food & Drug Administration. All information is for educational purposes only. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness. You must consult a medical professional before acting on any content on this website.

  1. Crap. I was not aware of this. No wonder I’ve been losing way too much hair that it seems I’m going bald. I made sure it’s not genetic, but I’m I know the reason now. I am hoping this damage is not permanent. Does anyone know if hair will grow back if I fix this bad habit of mine?

    1. Yes you should be able to grow your hair back very easily if it was just the overly hot showers that were causing the damage in the first place (although there may be other reasons.) I recommend using only cool/cold water on your hair – this will help stimulate circulation in the scalp and improve hair growth without stripping away essential oils. Also remember to make your own shampoos so you don’t use any chemicals on your hair.

  2. I lose way more hair when I wash my hair in the shower, because I take shower with quite hot water. Because ambiant temperature is very cold during the winter and I am easily freezing, I still take hot showers but I don’t wash my hair anymore in the shower, instead I do it in kitchen sink with cold to warm water. I have noticed a significant reduce of hair shedding just by doing it!

  3. HOPE to grow my hair back soon ..I remembered hair loss start using hot water in Hongkong..

    1. Sure, those are great – if you can stand it! It will definitely get the blood moving in the scalp.

  4. Hey Will, I started washing my hair with cold water now, but what do you think of taking hot showers without the water touching the hair, and rinse the hair with cold water?
    Also, what to you think of sauna use? It is said to improve blood circulation.
    Congrats about all your researches!

    1. Hello Josh, glad to hear that. It should help. Essentially yes that’s right, although I prefer cold showers as well (at least not too hot since that can damage the skin.)

  5. I had a very unhealthy life when I was taking a shower with hot water.. Bad skin and damaged hair.
    So i turned to taking cold freezy showers (near 0 c) and everything changed.. I have a pure natural skin.. No pimples and a fine shining hair.

    1. Hi Zayn, thanks for sharing your experience. That’s great to know that your hair and skin improved drastically after switching to cold showers. I totally agree. I almost never use hot water on my hair or skin anymore. Cold showers are the way to go.

  6. I used hot water under shower daily almost 2 years I have lost so many hairs but that the thing is thoes hairs are not growing on scalp its almost 4 years completed that hairs not growing on scalp using only cold water is there any solution for that if is there any medicines suggest if u have any idea

  7. I live in Dubai… and during the summer the tap water is really hot.. I used to shower daily and tried as less as possible to put water on head since its really hot. Nevertheless within a year of this bad habit, I’ve lost a significant amount of hair and I am just 17. It was too late to notice. Now I store water in a bucket overnight, let it cool and use it after a quick rinse of hot water on my body only (never head). Although my father is bald but that is only at his 30s. I used to have a head full of hair.. and now I suffer :(. If anyone could please advice on how can my hair follicle be restored? and what I should do to regrow hair. Pls Help.

  8. If your hair and scalp was burned by scalding water will it eventually grow back?

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