I recently had someone email and tell me that she had noticed that when she did not have time to shower after soccer practice, she noticed a higher degree of shedding and hair loss the next day. She wanted to know if not showering or washing her hair might be contributing to her shedding. I’ve also had people tell me that they’ve been told that poor hygiene can cause hair loss, but yet, their hygiene habits or above reproach and they shower and wash their hair every day (and sometimes more) and they still are losing a lot of hair. In the following article, I’ll discuss my take on hygiene, showering, hair washing, and hair loss.
First of all, it’s my opinion that although regular showering is certainly a good idea, since it’s not related to your scalp, it has little to do with your hair or the loss of it. However, most people shampoo when they shower. So, if you’re skipping showering, you’re also potentially skipping washing your hair or shampooing, which might be a mistake.
Regularly removing debris, build up, androgens, and DHT from your scalp can be very important to both scalp and hair health. When I was shedding so much for so long, I noticed that every time I washed my hair, I lost a lot more hair directly after this. I wondered if skipping this or washing less would spare me a bit of shedding. I even found from research there’s a subset of people who believe that washing can contribute to shedding and who limit or forgo shampooing and / or showering because of this.
I did try forgoing shampoo for a time and although I did have a short reprieve from the shedding, over about a week’s time, my shedding only intensified so that I probably ended up losing more than I would have had I just stuck with my regular routine. Yes, many people have the perception that manipulating your hair makes more fall out. And, I understand why people feel this way. But, what’s often happening is that you’re just massaging and manipulating out those strands that would have eventually been gone anyway, no matter when this happened.
Sure, the washing may have made this happen a little sooner. And seeing this process play out all at once might give the perception that it’s the washing that is the problem. But unless you are using products or shampoos to which you are allergic or sensitive, this is usually not the issue. It’s important to keep your follicles free from debris, build up, and clogging. This is especially true if you are sensitive to androgens and DHT or have hair loss due to androgenic alopecia or AGA. And, even people with TE or telogen effluvium need to keep their scalp clean so that one problem doesn’t give rise to another.
Now, some people will take the opposite approach and will over shampoo and / or shower and use products that are very harsh in an attempt to rid their scalp of DHT and androgens. This can be the wrong call also because it can strip your scalp of it’s protective oils and cause more irritation. In an attempt to protect itself, the scalp will then produce more oils and potentially more androgens so that you’re doing more harm than good. Daily or even every other daily hair washing is usually sufficient for most people. And this is for the scalp, not the body. It’s my opinion that daily showering is a good idea, but this has little to do with the hair or scalp.