Why You Shouldn't Go to Bed With Wet Hair
We’ve all heard that sleeping with wet hair can lead to catching a cold (actually a myth, by the way), but did you know that it can also lead to infection? Yes, that’s right! Sleeping with wet hair can put you at risk for fungal and bacterial infections, and it’s not just limited to your scalp.
It’s a common habit for many people to go to bed with damp hair, whether it’s due to a late-night shower or just air-drying after a swim. However, this seemingly harmless habit can have some serious consequences. Here’s why.
Reasons NOT to Go to Bed with Wet Hair
Damp Hair Provides a Breeding Ground for Bacteria and Fungi
When your hair is damp, it creates the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive. This is because moisture promotes the growth of microorganisms, which can lead to infections on your scalp and skin. In fact, fungal infections like ringworm and tinea capitis (a scalp infection) are more common in people who regularly sleep with wet hair.
Prolonged Dampness Can Weaken Your Immune System
Your immune system is your body’s defense mechanism against harmful pathogens like bacteria and fungi. However, when you sleep with wet hair, the prolonged dampness can weaken your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off infections. This is particularly concerning for people with compromised immune systems.
Sleeping with Wet Hair Can Lead to Dandruff and Itching
Damp hair can also lead to dandruff and itching, which can be both uncomfortable and embarrassing. When your scalp is moist, it becomes a breeding ground for yeast and other fungi, which can cause flaking and itching. Additionally, sleeping on damp hair can cause it to tangle and become matted, leading to further irritation and discomfort.
Going to Bed With Wet Hair Causes Breakage
For starters, your hair tends to get tangled when it’s wet, which can lead to hair breakage. Alongside this, the friction between your wet hair and damp pillowcase can further lead to damage. For that reason, it’s best to properly dry your hair before going to bed — and invest in a silk pillowcase to prevent friction.
It Puts You at Risk of Folliculitis
Besides heightening your risk of developing an infection on your scalp, sleeping with wet hair can also trigger fungal acne, otherwise known as folliculitis. According to dermatologists, it would present as small red bumps on the neck or upper body, and they’re caused by the same Malassezia that could cause an itchy and flaky scalp.
How to Prep Your Hair For Bed
If you’re someone who likes washing away the day’s dirt and pollution right before slipping under the sheets, there are some ways you can prevent the adverse effects of sleeping with wet hair. Here are some ways to prep your hair for bed if you favor showering in the evenings.
Dry Hair Thoroughly
After hair washing and conditioning, pat your mane dry using a microfiber towel. Then blow-dry your hair until it’s completely dry. Ideally, it’s better to wait until your hair is damp before drying to prevent breakage. Be sure to apply protective hair products prior to drying.
Another important tip: use a hair dryer on a low setting. This will help to remove excess moisture without damaging your hair or scalp. Just be sure to keep the dryer a few inches away from your head to avoid burning your scalp.
Wrap Your Hair Up in a Microfiber Towel
No time to dry before bed? Thoroughly towel dry your hair, then wrap it up in a microfiber towel or turban. These are great for protecting hair, preventing breakage, and also warding off infections and itchy scalp. Don’t have a microfiber towel on hand? Try using a soft t-shirt instead.
Braid Your Hair, Then Dry
After towel drying your hair, comb through a leave-in conditioner (or another hair care product that hydrates your strands), and braid your hair. Once you’re dun blast your braids with a hair-dryer until they’re mostly dry. Besides preventing infections from damp pillows, it’ll ensure you wake up with gorgeous beach waves. And voila...that’s your hairstyle sorted for the day!
Slather on the Oils
To prevent breakage and split ends when you snooze, comb through a nourishing hair oil enriched with coconut oil, argan oil, or basically any natural oils that seal in moisture. This will help prevent your hair cuticle from getting roughed up — and ultimately leading to breakage and the morning ‘bedhead’. We recommend using Rainbow’s Hydrate Serum, a formula of hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 to drench strands in unparalleled hydration and nourishment for stronger, silkier strands.
Invest in a Satin Pillowcase
Despite common belief, cotton pillowcases don’t cause hair loss. However, they are known to absorb oil from your hair and skin, as well as rough up the cuticle and tug at the hair shaft, which can lead to breakage. Regardless of your hair type, everyone can benefit from investing a silk or satin pillowcase. Even more so if you have naturally dry, fragile, or curly hair.
No, Sleeping With Wet Hair Won’t Give You a Cold
The connecting between going to bed with wet hair and getting the common cold is a myth, according to the derms.
Based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults in the United States usually experience 2 to 3 colds annually, which are caused by viruses. The sole way to contract a cold is by encountering a virus that causes it. There is no evidence to suggest a direct link between having wet hair and catching a cold, as the only way to acquire a cold is through exposure to a virus that causes it.
While it’s easy to end up falling asleep in wet hair, especially if you’re tired, doing so can put you at risk of hair breakage and infections. Avoid sleeping in damp environments, and properly prep your hair prior to sleeping.