For most people, a long, hot, languid summer would be great news, but for some hot weather and everything that goes with it can be a deep cause of concern. People with a variety of medical conditions shun the sun, and among the shade-seekers people you will often find people with hair loss conditions.
But is hot weather really bad for hair? Will it make hair loss worse? Belgravia experts answer the top four hair-related worries we are frequently asked at our hair loss clinics.
1/ Is my sweaty scalp a problem?
Many people incorrectly associate sweaty scalps with hair loss for the simple reason that sweat removes much of your hair’s natural ‘fluff’; by clumping hair together sweat can make it appear as though you’ve less hair than you thought you had. Try washing it, drying it gently – outside in the sun is fine – and having another look!
Sweaty scalps may cause hair loss in cases where scalp issues have been caused by not washing the hair often enough or if people simply rinse their heads with water and avoid using shampoo. If the scalp is not cleansed sufficiently, a build-up of dead skin cells, dirt and sebum (oil) may block the hair follicles, potentially causing scalp problems. On a related note, sweaty heads usually leads to people washing their hair more, which hairloss experts generally believe is a good thing – you’re unlikely to wash yourself into early baldness.
Belgravia senior hair loss specialist, Daiva Valioniene explains,“I advise clients on an individual basis as how often someone needs to wash their hair depends on their hair type, scalp condition and lifestyle but as a general rule, if people exercise or find they get a sweaty scalp, they may need to wash their hair up to twice a day. As long as they use the right shampoos and conditioners for their hair type, this should not be a problem and can also help to make thinning hair look thicker”
2/ The sun has burnt my scalp – will my hair fall out?
As the weather heats up we are often asked if a sunburnt scalp will cause hair loss. “There’s no reason for this to happen,” says Leonora Doclis, Senior Trichologist at The Belgravia Centre. “It might feel itchy or sore, but sunburn itself doesn’t cause hair to fall out.”
If your hair is thinner than it used to be, however, you will likely lose some of the natural sun-screening protection that your hair used to afford you.
Wearing a hat to cover the head and keep the sun from your eyes is a good idea, as is applying sunscreen. Remember to choose a broad-spectrum sun cream (protecting against both UVB and UVA rays) that is non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores or hair follicles) and – crucially – reapply it every few hours.
3/ Will swimming pool chlorine cause my hair to fall out?
One of our most frequently asked questions during the summer concerns swimming, or more specifically, chlorine and hair loss. Although chemicals found in swimming pools are patently not good for your hair, as a study published in the Journal of Dermatology found, when used in safe quantities, exposure is unlikely to cause hairloss.
Researchers examined 67 professional swimmers and 54 non-swimmers for the study, and found that 61 per cent of the swimmers showed signs of hair discolouration, compared with none of the non-swimmers. It was also found that the swimmers’ hair appeared coarse and damaged by comparison. However, the swimmers didn’t appear to be experiencing any more hair loss than the others.
Sadly, that’s not the end of the story as the internet is awash with stories of people who say they suffered hair loss as a result of swimming in pool; generally the cause in these cases is thought to be an excess of chlorine in the water, where levels exceed recommendations.
To minimise risks, channel your inner Michael Phelps and wear a water-proof cap, or use a protecting hair treatment specially formulated to be used before swimming, and always make sure you thoroughly wash and condition your hair afterwards.
4/ Can I go swimming after using minoxidil?
Yes. As long as you wait at least 30 minutes after applying minoxidil to the scalp, before getting your hair wet or going swimming, this is fine.
If you wish to go swimming before this, it is avisable to wear a swimming cap to ensure the treatment has time to fully sink in and you do not lose the benefit of the treatment.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.