Can wet hair make you sick?

Going out or sleeping with wet hair does not increase the risk of disease. However, hot and humid environments, such as lying in bed with wet hair, can lead to a bacterial or fungal infection on the scalp or face.

Hair performs the following functions:

Mechanical protection of the skin from the external environment
Increase the sensory function of the skin
– Helps regulate body temperature

Although wet hair does not directly cause disease, the presence of water does cause health problems.
Moisture from hair quenches cushion, too. Going to bed with wet hair can increase the risk of developing a fungal or yeast infection on the scalp, because yeast has an easier time growing in warm or humid areas of the body. Here are the effects of wet hair, the dangers of sleeping with wet hair, precautions, and tips to avoid sleeping with wet hair.

wet hair effects

Myths passed down from generation to generation may suggest that going to bed or going out with wet hair can make a person sick.

Can wet hair cause a cold?

Research suggests that just wet hair does not make people sick.
Adults usually get two or three colds a year. Colds are caused by viruses, and the only way to catch a cold is by coming into contact with the virus that causes the cold. There are no studies that can prove a direct relationship between colds and wet hair. Only exposure to the virus that causes a cold can cause a cold.

Does going out with wet hair in the cold cause a cold?

It hasn’t been shown that spending more time indoors or outdoors or not going outside with wet hair makes a difference in your risk of catching a cold. However, a 2016 study found that low temperature and humidity for several days in a row can increase the risk of rhinovirus infection, a cause of the common cold, in infected individuals.

There is no research to suggest that the risk of catching a cold is associated with wet hair.

6 reasons not to sleep with wet hair

There are reasons why people want to dry their hair before bed. Wet hair can cause the following problems:

1 hair extension

Wet hair extends about 30% of its original length without being damaged. However, irreversible changes occur when the hair is stretched by 30-70%. Sleeping on the hair can cause it to stretch beyond the permissible length.

2 feeling cold

A 2015 study showed that people’s heads lose more heat when exposed to lower temperatures. Heat loss was much greater at 10°C (°C) than at 15°C or 20°C. This means that wet hair can lead to more uncomfortable sleep.

3 mushroom growth

In 2021, researchers discovered a type of Malassezia fungus in hair follicles. These fungi can lead to skin diseases such as seborrheic dermatitis. Wet hair for long periods, such as overnight, can increase your risk of developing these conditions.

4 movies

A 2019 study indicated that winter temperatures exacerbate dandruff due to cold and humid conditions. The same study suggested that the balance between bacteria and fungi may also play a role in this condition. Wet hair can lead to heat loss, which means it can make dandruff worse.

5. Hair breakage

According to a 2017 study, genetic and hormonal changes are important factors in hair loss. However, the environment and excessive grooming can also play a role, such as going out with wet hair. Wetting the hair while sleeping can also damage the follicles and break the hair.

6. Skin diseases

Hair follicles under the skin and clogged with oil or sebum can cause acne. Since wet hair harbors bacteria, this can also affect the growth of bacteria in the follicles. Hair that is wet for long periods of time, such as overnight, can increase the risk of developing these conditions.

Precautions to be taken

Steps can be taken to avoid going to bed with wet hair. This avoids the problems associated with leaving hair wet.
The simplest procedure is to dry the hair as much as possible before bed. You can also ensure that your bedroom temperature is comfortable. Experts recommend an ideal temperature of 19.4 ° C.

Bathing or showering an hour or two before bed can give hair a chance to dry naturally.

To avoid damaging hair, try:

To revitalize their hair every time they wash
Gently comb wet hair with a wide-toothed comb
Gently wrap their hair in a towel to absorb the water instead of rubbing it with a towel
Allow hair to air dry when possible
Avoid pulling the hair back by tying it tightly, because loose hairstyles are better for the hair.

What do you do if you sleep with wet hair

To reduce the risk of damage or problems with wet hair while you sleep, you can try the following methods.

wash your hair less

How often people wash their hair in a week depends on what they prefer. A 2015 study suggests that anyone can wash their hair every day without causing a problem. Frequent and regular cleaning with a well-formulated shampoo will not damage the hair. However, drying long hair with heat-based tools can damage the hair. If people can wash their hair every two days or leave space between washes, that can reduce the time they spend on a damp pillow.

Extending the time between washing and sleeping

Anyone can try starting a bedtime routine early, including washing their hair early. It may help her get drier hair at bedtime. This can help reduce their risk of exposure to moisture and create an environment for fungi to grow.


Sleeping and going out with wet hair does not affect a person with a cold. However, it can have some downsides, including broken hair and increased growth of yeast and fungi on the hair. People may decide to change their routine to get more time to dry their hair.
People may want to avoid practices that may damage their hair, including the use of tight bands, heat-based styling products, and narrow-tooth combs.
They can also research the best products available to take care of their hair by consulting a doctor or dermatologist.

* Presse Santé strives to impart medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In no way can the information provided replace medical advice.

Like our content?

Get our latest releases for free and straight to your inbox every day


Leave a Comment