Using a sauna routinely is a great way to boost your immune system, improve your circulation, and clear up your skin and complexion as we argued in our guide. While the high heat is beneficial stress for your body in short sessions, some users question the benefits of saunas to your hair. Whether you have long locks of shiny, wavy hair or short curlicues, it’s crucial to know how saunas might affect your mane and if they could lead to hair loss. Can using the sauna cause hair loss?
Saunas cannot cause hair loss, however, they can limit hair growth if over-used. The high heat and low humidity of saunas can dehydrate your hair. To combat hair dehydration, you can apply conditioner before the sauna or moisturizer to your hair after the sauna.
Saunas do not cause male pattern baldness or hair loss. In fact, they can help with hair growth by increasing blood flow to the area. However, you want to be sure to monitor your hair’s moisture level. Sauna use (especially extended stays) can dry out your hair, cause split-ends and severely limit the growth of your hair and make it frizzy without proper care. To learn precisely how saunas affect your hair and how to keep it shiny and smooth while visiting a sauna, read on!
How Do Saunas Affect Hair Growth
The high heat of saunas increases blood flow to all areas of your skin. That increased blood flow also goes to your scalp, where the majority of your hair follicles are. In this way, saunas help hair growth. The increased blood flow brings additional nutrients, oxygen, and minerals to your hair follicles, all of which promote tremendous hair growth!
With that said, saunas can help with hair growth. However, a visit to the sauna doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be sporting luscious, long locks like Fabio after your first or even second visit. Firstly, the positive effects take time to produce any noticeable results, and secondly, saunas can actually harm your hair, too– if you don’t take precautions.
Also, saunas are not a guarantee for hair growth. There are many other factors besides blood flow that affect it, like genetics and nutrient level. One thing you have to look out for in saunas if you’re concerned about hair loss is the moisture level of your hair.
The low humidity and heat can dry out your hair, causing split-ends and inhibiting growth. To prevent this potential downside on your hair, use oils or great conditioners like this one from Amazon on your hair after each sauna session to restore adequate moisture levels. Also, drink plenty of water!
If you do notice hair loss after visiting the sauna, it’s likely caused by something else. It can be in your genes (male pattern baldness) due to improper nutrition or a result of a serious medical condition. If you’re losing a lot of hair in a short period, it is best to seek out a medical professional.
Do Saunas Dry Your Hair Out?
Saunas do have one downside on your hair – because of the low humidity combined with the high heat, your hair can get dried out. If you visit the sauna regularly, make sure you drink plenty of water and electrolytes, which will help you stay hydrated and lock more moisture into your hair.
Using a deep, leave-in conditioner in your hair before the sauna can help trap in moisture. Once you’re done with the sauna, shower and wash out the conditioner, you left in, apply more and further moisturize with oils to prevent dry hair and split ends.
Do Saunas Cause More Split Ends?
If you use the sauna too much and don’t properly moisturize your hair, you could end up with split ends. Usually, if you properly moisturize your hair and take good care of it, saunas will not cause split ends. However, the heat can damage it over time if you do not reintroduce moisture, wash it, and brush it.
Heat does not always cause split ends. For example, people use 400°F hair straighteners on their hair daily while still keeping a gleaming, wavy, and split-end free head of hair through proper moisturization and care.
Do Saunas Cause More Dandruff?
As with split ends, proper hair care is essential to preventing dandruff. Saunas themselves cannot cause dandruff. However, without proper hair care, saunas can indirectly lead to dandruff by creating a dandruff-producing environment on your scalp.
A leading cause of dandruff is a microbe known as Malassezia globosa. It feeds off of the natural oils in your scalp and reproduces well when you sweat. When it digests your scalp’s oils, it produces oleic acid as a byproduct. Oleic acid can cause dandruff– i.e., it dries out the skin and produces white skin flakes and an itchy, red, inflamed scalp.
As long as you have good hair care and proper hygiene, dandruff from saunas should not be an issue, especially if you use an IR blanket like this one from Amazon. If you do end up with dandruff, there are treatments, shampoos, and oils you can use to get your scalp health back to normal!
How to Moisturize Your Hair and Scalp After Sauna Use
While the discussions above make it clear there may be some negative effects on hair and scalp after sauna use, there are easy ways to address these issues. If you’re seeing any effects that indicate dryness of your hair and scalp, you can manage this by re-moisturizing your hair/scalp after using the sauna.
You can always use professional products or off-the-shelf moisturizing options, but there are plenty of natural options like coconut oil and avocado oil that you can use to moisturize your hair and scalp. You can take about an ounce of either of these oils, add a drop or two of rosemary or lavender essential oil (or whatever scent you prefer), and gently massage it in.
There are lots of options in this space of natural hair moisturizer. Jojoba oil (on Amazon) is another option that many find useful. But if you already have avocado oil or coconut oil on hand you can start experimenting with that. Try it for a few sauna sessions, using after you’ve rinsed off and parly dried your hair, and look for the effects on dandruff, split ends, and dryness, and find what’s right for you.
Using a Sauna and Hair Growth Products
If you have male pattern baldness and are using a topical product like Rogaine to help grow more hair, you should be careful about when you use it if you’re visiting the sauna. Remember, the heat in saunas makes you sweat a lot. Take into consideration that your sweat could wash away the product and prevent it from being effective. So, you should wait at least 4-5 hours after applying treatments like Rogaine before you visit a sauna.
The Bottom Line About Saunas and Hair Loss
Similar to the lack of correlation between sauna use and decreased male fertility as we pointed out in our other guide, there is absolutely no correlation between sauna use and hair loss. You can be confident that your hair will not fall out of your head after a sauna visit. With that being said, saunas can damage your hair – they can dry it out, cause split ends, and even cause dandruff. However, with proper hair care and hygiene, these issues should not come to a head. Remember to stay hydrated, moisturize, and use conditioners and oils!