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Will sleeping with wet hair give you a cold? Fact checked

Flu: Expert reveals differences between flu and common cold

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Wet hair can make you feel cold and shivery and you may have alarm bells going off in your head when you’ve left your mane wet for too long, thanks to things your elders have said in the past. You may have heard that sleeping or leaving your hair wet causes a cold, but that’s not true! chatted to Kristoffer Ahlerup, Commercial Director of Enzymatica (manufacturers of best-selling cold protection product ColdZyme) to find where this myth comes from.

The UK has recorded its lowest temperatures in two decades this month and another washout week ahead is forecast for the UK with Storm Eunice hitting today.

Whether you’ve got soaked in a downpour or gone to bed with freshly washed hair, you might have an uneasy feeling about leaving your hair wet for a prolonged period of time.

It’s still cold and flu season, Covid hasn’t gone away yet and Brits are trying to avoid getting sick as much as possible.

Despite what your parents and grandparents might have told you, wet hair doesn’t cause a cold.

A cold is caused by infection from a common cold virus, of which there are thought to be more than 200 variants, Mr Ahlerup said.

However, the myth has come from somewhere. The expert said: “If the immune system is already weak, becoming very cold can further weaken it.

“Wet hair in cold conditions can lead to a drop in body temperature which can have a negative effect on a weakened immune system, so it is best to avoid going into the cold with wet hair.”

On top of this, sleeping with wet hair isn’t good for your scalp.

Principal Scientist for Head & Shoulders, Dr Rolanda Wilkerson said: “The biggest problem for your scalp when it comes to wet hair has a lot to do with fungus.

“Your warm and wet scalp is the ideal growing environment for Malassezia globosa and could trigger dandruff.

“Our scalps are home to a large variety of microbes, and most of these are pretty harmless. Some, like Malassezia globosa however, can be less so.

“Malassezia globosa is totally natural, but in half the world’s population, it causes irritation, dryness, itch and flakes – yes, dandruff. That’s where wet hair can cause a problem.

“Sleeping with wet hair can lead to similar problems: your pillow can hang on to moisture, and keep your head damp for longer – making the ideal conditions for Malassezia globosa to thrive.”

If you go to bed with damp or wet hair, you might be causing damage to your lovely locks too.

Dr Wilkerson said: “There is a lot of evidence that shows that wet hair is weaker and more prone to damage or breakage.”

You might wake up with breakage and frizz, and this will become apparent over time.

Plaiting your hair or tying it up will only make the situation worse, as these styles add more tension to the strands.

If you’ve got caught in a downpour or you’ve just washed your hair, the best thing to do is dry it as soon as you can.

Even if you don’t want to use heat, removing the excess water with a regular towel or head towel will help.

Add a nourishing hair mask, serum or some coconut oil to your ends if you want your hair to dry naturally, as this will help to protect your hair while it’s wet.

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