Does Sweating Cause Hair Loss?
So, can hair sweating cause hair loss? While sweating is perfectly natural and part of the biological process and helps regulate body temperature, excessive head sweating can lead to a number of problems for an individual. Whether you are sweating because of a workout or because of the rising mercury levels, high sweat levels are bad news for your hair. A sweating scalp causes the hair follicles to clog up and provides a fertile breeding ground for fungi and bacteria. This could lead to an infection and subsequent hair loss.
What are the Reasons for Excessive Sweating and Hair Loss?
There could be numerous factors that could be responsible for excessive hair sweating. But a detailed analysis will be necessary to ascertain the real cause. Let’s find out more about the most common reasons for sweating and how is sweat and hair loss linked?
- Hyperactive sweat glands: One of the most common reasons for excessive sweating is overactive sweat glands. If you are suffering from a condition of this sort then you do not need any external trigger like a workout or hot weather for sweating to happen.
- Stress: Stress sets off a chain reaction of different emotions that culminate in a sweaty scalp. Stress creates anxiety and could also lead to a rising temper which produces heat. The apocrine glands release a thicker, milkier sweat which is composed of proteins and fatty acids. So, yes is the answer to the question - does hair sweating cause hair loss?
- Spicy food: An overindulgence of spicy food could also be responsible for excessive hair sweating. The chemical Capsaicin affects the nerves and makes them warmer, as you have spicier food your tendency to sweat increases. So, does hair sweating cause hair loss? Yes, it does!
- Hormonal changes: Sweat hair loss can also happen as a result of hormonal changes brought about by hormonal medication and menopause.
- Physical Exertion: If you exert yourself physically beyond a particular limit you are bound to be exposed to scalp sweating and hair loss, more so on warmer days.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions can lead to excessive sweating and hair loss. The medication that we take for conditions such as diabetes and thyroid could also aggravate sweat issues.
Does Hair Sweating Cause Hair Loss?
The answer is of course a resounding yes. Sweat, which is a mix of water and natural salts, is extremely bad for your hair as excessive sweating and hair loss are secretly linked. There is therefore an obvious connection between sweat and hair loss. This hair sweating could change the texture of your tresses. A number of people suffer from hyperhidrosis which is excessive sweating without any significant reason and that is very bad for hair health. Hair loss due to sweating could happen because of the following reasons.
- When the lactic acid present in sweat accumulates in the hair, it could cause inflammation and reduce blood circulation to damage your hair.
- The mixing of sweat and sebum leads to oily hair and a greasy scalp which blocks hair pores and results in hair loss.
- Excessive sweating also dehydrates the scalp and also removes the natural oils which damage the hair.
- Sweating also results in a very itchy scalp, forcing you to scratch your scalp and lose more hair in the process.
- The most crucial factor responsible for significant hair loss due to hair sweating is the accumulation of DHT, which happens after a workout. The DHT attaches itself to the hair follicles and prevents them from growing naturally. This is also responsible for male pattern baldness.
Ways to Prevent Hair Loss Due to Sweating
Since the answer to the question - does hair sweating cause hair loss? is a yes, and hair loss due to excessive sweating is a very common problem, there are numerous solutions for it too. You can go about your workout regime without breaking too much of a sweat, literally.
- Dry Shampoo: Use a dry shampoo before you proceed for your workout, it will prevent excess sweat from gathering in your hair. A dry shampoo using natural ingredients like starch, rich flour and cocoa will help.
- Leave-in conditioner: This is an excellent way of reducing the effect of sweat on hair as it provides a protective layer between the sweat and the hair shaft. In case the workout produces dryness, this is an excellent solution for that too. The people with curly hair might face the problem of dryness and the leave-in conditioner hydrates the strands. This in turn will help reduce hair sweating and hair loss that occurs due to this.
- A clarifying shampoo: The important thing to do is to keep your scalp clean and prevent build-up of impurities as far as possible. A clarifying shampoo is a very good option as it removes all dirt oil and other foreign substances from the scalp. Use them only once or twice a month or it could strip your scalp of its essential oils.
- Apple cider vinegar: This is a very effective solution for sweat-affected hair. Mix a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with warm water and massage thoroughly into your scalp. Let this stay for half an hour before washing it off with water.
- Reduce fatty foods from your diet: Remove fatty foods from your diet, they will produce the dual benefit of reducing weight as well as prevent excess sweat. Spicy foods should also be eliminated from your diet. The discomfort that you experience in your sweaty scalp will give you an obvious answer to the question - does hair sweating cause hair loss? High levels of heat can also be induced by certain foods and that is why you need to know how to reduce body heat through a controlled diet.
- Maintain scalp hygiene: Mix 2 tablespoons of rose water and 2-3 drops of an essential oil like lavender and jasmine oil and apply this to your hair. Wash your hair off with cold water after this.
- Hair mask: A hair mask using 3 tablespoons each of coconut oil and lemon juice could be very beneficial. This should be kept on your hair for 15 minutes before washing it off.
- Massage scalp: Massaging your hair regularly helps improve blood circulation and ensures that there is less hair loss due to sweating.
- Hairstyle check: Avoid troublesome hairstyles like a bun or ponytail as they interfere with the drying or evaporation of sweat from your scalp.
- Cover your head: Cover your head when you venture out into the outdoors. This will help protect your hair from the harmful UV rays and the effects of hair sweating.
- Wash after workout: Make it a point to wash your hair after a workout. Preferably do it with cold water. This will reduce hair sweating and in turn manage hair loss due to excessive sweating.
- Avoid the use of electric appliances on hair: Blow dryers, curlers and hair straighteners and all such equipment should be avoided as they cause hair sweating and make them stickier.
- Keep yourself well hydrated: Drinking water before and after your workouts will keep your body cool and prevent it from producing an excess amount of heat and hair loss that might occur due to it.
- Do a deep treatment: Do a deep treatment of your hair and scalp at least once a week. Wrap a warm, damp towel around your hair after applying the deep conditioner and allow the conditioner to penetrate your hair effectively. Leave the conditioner for at least half an hour before washing it off.
How Often Should You Wash Your Hair if You Sweat?
Is scalp sweating hair loss a common thing? definitely, yes, so in that case how often do we wash the hair? Though it all depends on the condition of your scalp and hair, you should ideally shampoo your hair 2-3 times a week. If you decide to increase the number of washes you run the risk of stripping your hair of all essential oils and drying it out. However, if you are in the habit of hair sweating profusely then add those extra days when you can simply rinse your hair with cold water. For e.g., if you have come back from a session in the gym then all you need to do is remove the sweat from your scalp which could be done with the help of a water rinse. So effectively, you need to shampoo on alternate days and wash your hair with water on the rest of the days.
While frequent washing often creates its own share of problems, washing less could also be detrimental to hair health. It could lead to an oil build-up and at times accumulation of yeast which could lead to radical hair loss.
Hair fall due to sweat is a common phenomenon and good hygiene levels in your scalp are the best way to minimize loss. However, if the issues are beyond your control, you can still visit us at Traya for more solutions to the obvious question, does sweat cause hair loss?
Our experts will give you all the necessary tips on how to prevent hair fall due to sweating and also solve all your other hairy issues.
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Dr. Jaspreet Sarna, M.D
Dr. Sarna is an MD (Skin & VD) with a decade-long experience in treating hair loss and working on hair regrowth. She believes stress management is the key to good health.