Does Working Out Ruin Your Hair?

It’s a common question with a lot of different opinions. We did some research to find out if working out really does ruin your hair.


Exercising provides many health benefits, from helping you maintain a healthy weight to boosting your mood and gaining strength. However, if you are an avid gym-goer, your frequent sweat sessions could be wreaking havoc on your hair. One of the biggest questions we hear from exercise enthusiasts is “does working out ruin your hair?”

The short answer is yes — it depends on how often you work out and whether or not you take appropriate post-workout hair care precautions. Exercising puts stress on the scalp, scalp oil glands and follicles which can lead to clogged pores and weakened hair stands. Sweat also contains salt which can cause the scalp’s pH level to become imbalanced in extreme cases. In this article, we will discuss five steps that can help minimize any adverse effects that working out may have on your hair.

How Working Out Affects Your Hair

Working out can play an important role in boosting your overall health and well-being, but have you ever considered how it affects your hair? Exercise has both positive and negative effects on your hair, and it’s important to understand both in order to make sure your hair stays healthy and strong. In the following article, we will discuss how working out impacts your hair and what you can do to prevent any damage.


Increased sweat production is a common effect of working out, and it can affect your hair in more ways than one. Sweat has salt in it that can dry the scalp and strip away natural oils from your hair’s shaft. This makes hair weak and prone to breakage, so make sure to rinse your hair after a workout.

Sweat also clings to the hair, creating a salty residue that gets into the follicle and prevents moisture from penetrating all the way down. When this happens, your scalp becomes dryer, leading to flaking and possible dandruff. You should wash or rinse your scalp regularly while exercising to avoid this problem.

When washing your hair post-workout be sure to use cool or lukewarm water as using scalding hot water is sure to further strip away all of your hair’s goodness! Be gentle, shampoo twice but only condition once; conditioning more than once can lead to excessive moisturizing causing product build-up on the shaft of the hair leaving it lifeless.

Lastly, don’t forget protective measures when working out. Wearing breathable fabrics such as certain varieties of cotton help keep air flowing around your scalp instead of trapping sweat close against it while you work out – an essential factor when avoiding excess sweat build-up that breaks down essential oils in the shaft!

Hair Products

Exercising and working out is beneficial for overall health and wellness, but there are some potential risks associated with participating in physical activities when it comes to your hair. Sweat, high-intensity workouts, and dirty gym equipment frequently used by many people can take a toll on already delicate strands.

Using the right hair products before and after working out can help protect your locks from sweat-related damage. Styling products like leave-in conditioners, mousse, gel, sprays or creams should be avoided before an intense workout and be applied carefully afterwards. This will help reduce the amount of dirt or grime that builds up in your hair while working out.

When hitting the gym it’s best to opt for a loose fitting headband or hat that won’t place too much pressure on your scalp or pull excessively on individual hairs. You should also rinse off after getting home from the gym using cool or lukewarm water rather than hot water as this will help avoid drying out strands further by adding moisture back into them. Deep conditioning treatments also work great for restoring natural oils while strengthening the roots and preventing breakage during intense movements that occur from exercising.

Hair Loss

Working out intensely or on a regular basis can have a big impact on your hair. It is well known that men who work out heavily may experience hair loss, but the same can happen to women as well. While studies are inconclusive as to why exactly this happens, it is assumed that too much sweating, tight ponytails and vigorous physical activity are contributing factors. Your body is natural going to prioritize energy needs when you exercise and it’s possible that hair growth is simply low on its energy priority list.

Hormonal changes can also affect your hair follicles. One hormone in particular--dihydrotestosterone (DHT)--has been linked to male pattern baldness, which can also occur in women who engage in intense workouts or run marathons . While the overall prevalence of hair loss due to working out is not clear yet, high levels of DHT have been recorded from analyses of women’s scalp tissues after running long distances.

Too tight hairstyles such as braids, buns or ponytails are another possible cause for hair loss experienced post-workout. Consistent tugging due to these hairstyles can damage the blood vessels surrounding the follicles and the scalp’s overall circulation, leading to unhealthy locks and even baldness over time if not addressed promptly and properly.

Tips to Protect Your Hair

Working out can cause a lot of additional stress on your hair. Sweat and dirt can build up, and the friction of your hair on your skin can cause breakage. You also risk drying out your hair if you don’t take care of it properly. To get the most out of your workout without damaging your hair, here are some tips to help keep it healthy.

Wear a Sweatband

Donning a sweatband while exercising can be one of the best ways to protect your hair from sweat, dirt, oils and products. A headband or cap made of material that absorbs moisture is ideal for protecting your hair from sweat, as well as preventing strands from sticking to your face. Sweatbands should be made of materials such as terry cloth, cotton or microfiber to ensure maximum absorption. If you don’t want to wear a bandana or headband on your head all the time, try wearing a wristband that’s specifically designed with hair protection in mind. These come in materials like bamboo rayon and are designed with an extra layer for absorbing excess oil and sweat which can help protect your hair from damage.

It is also important to wipe down regularly during workouts, particularly if you have long hair or thick layers. This will help keep moisture out of your locks and preserve them during strenuous activities like running or kickboxing. Moreover, it is recommended that you take extra care in choosing hairstyles – slicked-back ponytails or buns may look chic while working out but they can prove damaging due to tugging on the roots and scalp; it’s best to opt for looser styles like double braids which don’t strain the roots yet hold unruly tresses in place during vigorous exercise regimens.

Use Natural Hair Products

To protect your hair and minimize any damage that comes with working out, use natural hair products with nourishing ingredients. Look for products such as shampoos and conditioners that are free from harsh chemicals such as sulfates and parabens, and contain naturally derived ingredients like cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, argan oil, essential oils and grape seed oil. These natural ingredients can help to deeply moisturize your scalp, add shine to dry strands, strengthen your hair by restoring protein bonds and reduce frizz. Look for natural leave-in conditioners that you can use after you’ve washed and dried your hair for added defense against sweat. Additionally, pick styling products that are lightweight to avoid weighing down your locks or overloading them with product buildup.

Wash Your Hair After Working Out

It is important to make sure you wash your hair after working out. Sweat and other elements from the environment can easily build up on the hair, leading to dirt, product build up and other impurities. Beyond that, sweat residue can cause the hair to dry out, which in turn can lead to damage. Therefore, it is essential to cleanse the scalp after working out so that any oil or dirt is removed and your scalp remains clean. As always, make sure you shampoo and condition your hair regularly too since this will help keep it healthy. Additionally, when washing your hair always use warm (not hot) water and then finish with a cool/cold rinse as this makes it easier for strands to lie flat against each other reducing friction which can also help to prevent damage.


After reviewing all the evidence and research, it appears that exercise does not directly lead to hair loss or hair damage. However, inadequate nutrition and improper scalp hygiene can both contribute to the development of alopecia. Exercise does increase sweat production and the build-up of sweat and other compounds on the scalp can be damaging — if left unchecked. Additionally, individuals with pre-existing conditions such as dandruff should be particularly attentive to their scalp health when engaging in physical activity.

In short, regular physical activity does not directly cause hair damage or loss; however, failing to take proper precautions while exercising can have a negative impact on your scalp health. To ensure your hair is healthy, follow these tips:
– Minimize sweating by cooling down after exercise
– Use a sulfate-free shampoo after working out
– Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated
– Eat a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals
When combined with good hygiene habits, these steps will help keep your hair luscious and healthy.

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