If your hair is long, you may have felt the stress of running out time drying it before you head outside. Did your grandma warn you about the risks? Although wet hair is annoying, it can also be dangerous.

Is it possible to get a cold from your hair when walking outside with damp hair?

Children have known the warnings from the beginning: “Don’t go outside in cold weather with wet hair. Or you’ll get pneumonia!” With apologies to grandma (she’s got so much wisdom to share), this one doesn’t hold true. It is impossible to get sick by simply walking outside with wet hair.

Doctors have advised that hair being wet does not cause a cold. A microorganism like a virus has to be involved in order to cause a common cold. It is well explained that the old warning still has some logic. Colder air temperatures create better conditions for viruses like the rhinovirus (the most prevalent cause of the common common cold) to travel through the atmosphere.” Some research suggests that winter’s lack of vitamin D and sun may lead to a decreased immune system, or an inability to respond to infection.

It is understood that infections that are transmitted through the atmosphere tend to be more common and easier to spread when people congregate indoors in order to avoid extreme temperatures such as blistering heat or cold. It’s not your hair, or the weather, that’s making you fall sick. It’s the gathering indoors to escape the weather, wet or otherwise.

The risks of having sweaty hair

Warm and humid environments are the best environment for bacteria and fungi. Fungal infections, such as diaper rash and jock-itch, athletes’ feet, are common in warm, moist environments. They are found in every part of the body, from the folds to the crevices. These areas are likely to collect sweat, which is both warm as well as moist. Hair that is frequently wet and warm, such from sweat from a warmer weather. Thus when it encounters a microorganism, it is more susceptible to infection.

What happens if you go to bed when your hair is wet?

We all know it is common for someone who hasn’t washed after a long day. Then, he or she goes to bed and doesn’t dry his hair. It’s possible that you wouldn’t have thought about doing this.

You risk infection

Unsettling information: If you sleep with wet hair, you could increase your chances of developing an infection. Have you notice a there a pattern to this? That’s because bacteria and fungi thrive when there is moisture and warmth. When you sleep with a moist mop, this creates that environment.

If you accidentally bring bacteria or fungus (or both) home and put them on your pillow or sheets there is a possibility they will survive. Recurrent warmth from your head to your pillow or your body on the sheets and mattress can lead to fungal growth, especially when you hair is wet. It can be from overnight sweating or showering before bed that can lead to bacteria growth and fungal.

These infections may include:

Aspergillosis is a serious infection that can infect people with weak immune systems or respiratory problems. It is usually caused by a mold found on pillows that can become invasive from damp hair.

Malassezia Folliculitis: This yeast infection of hair follicles that is made worse by sweat can cause itchy, acne-like symptoms. It can also cause scalp dermatitis and dandruff.

Scalp ringworm: Also known as tinneacapitis, this contagious fungal infection causes a ring-shaped, reddish rash. It can also cause bald spots.

However, it is important to stress again that wet hair does not cause illness. Unless you’ve been exposed to a specific bacteria or fungus, wet hair can make it more friendly environment for germs to grow. This can lead to infection. 

You should be aware of the other potential risks associated with sleeping with wet locks

Wet hair can be weakened hair. Your hair can be stretched safely up to 30% of its original length with no damage if it is wet. However, it can be stretched further by combing, brushing, and other hairstyles. This can lead to irreversible damage.

Hair damage can be especially severe if you sleep with your hair in wetness and tangled styles (think braids or buns), which can create tension on your hair and make it more vulnerable to fractures. This can lead to hair falling out.

Break easily

Slow growth

Look dull and damaged.

How to protect your hair at night

This one is simple. Many medical experts suggest that you sleep with your hair dry whenever possible.

Protect your hair further by choosing a pillowcase made of silk or other moisture-wicking fabrics that doesn’t retain water. On unusual times, if you do have to go to bed before blow drying, your hair will retain its own moisture, and less friction, which can help with shine, strength, and overall hair health.