Why not to Sleep with a Wet Head
From time immemorial, mothers and grandmothers around the world have told their progeny not to sleep on wet hair or they’d get sick. Doing so won’t promote a cold, but it does increase the risk of developing a fungal infection on the scalp that can result in dermatitis or dandruff. The practice also damages hair, can aggravate asthma, cause an acne outbreak, and even lower immune system function.
Everyone has a certain amount of naturally occurring fungi on their scalp. Combine that with anywhere from 4-16 environmental fungi species that can find their way to a pillow. Fungus flourishes in warm, damp conditions and wet hair combined with body heat as the head rests on a pillow provides an ideal breeding ground for a yeast or bacterial infection that will permeate the pillow. All that fungi and bacteria can adversely affect the immune system function.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, people that sleep on wet hair can develop ringworm of the scalp. The fungal infection is extremely contagious and anything that comes in contact with the scalp will need to be washed. Individuals with ringworm of the scalp typically require oral medications that may need to be taken for several weeks.
Wet hair is at its most fragile and vulnerable to breakage when it’s wet. Natural oils get stripped from tresses making hair look dull and contributing to hair loss. The problem is compounded if hair is confined to a tight style such as buns, ponytails and braids. It’s better to leave it loose and let it down if sleeping on it wet can’t be avoided.
Wet hair tends to dry in undesirable ways and will be influenced by sleep positions leading to unwanted “bed head.” Wet hair is also more susceptible to forming knots and tangles that will cause damage when it’s brushed out.
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