If You Wash your Hair Too Much, Will It Fall Out?

We've all heard that if you wash your hair too much it falls out. But is this really true? Science has the answer, and we'll tell you all about it in this article!
If You Wash your Hair Too Much, Will It Fall Out?

Last update: 21 May, 2021

It’s likely that, at some point in our lives, we’ve heard someone say: “If you wash your hair too much, it falls out.” We sometimes even find that we come out of the shower with handfuls of hair in our hands, as if we were at risk of sudden, unexplained hair loss.

Dermatologists are aware of the issue and have sufficient scientific backing to respond to the situation. They receive many queries about this supposed symptom and have investigated the matter to provide a solution.

The truth is that it’s a myth that if you wash your hair too much it falls out. It would even be counterproductive to avoid showers for fear of becoming bald. Washing your hair is essential for its vitality.

On average, humans lose 80 to 100 hairs every day. This shedding is to be expected and logical as part of the natural hair process. However, due to the humidity during bathing, this hair loss is more evident, especially if the person has long hair.

The accumulation of them, all together in the same place, is often frightening. However, this isn’t an exacerbation of the phenomenon. We only register what’s happening and it seems exaggerated when it’s actually a natural process and no big deal!

The same amount continues to fall out as usual. In fact, it’s likely the same amount as the day before even if we hadn’t taken a shower!

The growth phases of hair

Hair goes through a series of phases in its life cycle. These phases culminate with the hair falling out to make room for a new one. The journey begins with growth, continues with stability or transition, and finally enters the period known as telogen.

If you wash your hair a lot, it doesn’t just fall out; you shed many hairs in the telogen period at the same time. Those hairs would fall out anyway. But let’s take a closer look at the phases:

  • Anagen hair: the first phase is the growth phase. The hair follicle is active and makes the hair grow in size, about 0.3 millimeters per day. It’s a long phase that can last for years. It’s also a time when the hair is more susceptible to damage because of its metabolism in action.
  • Catagen phase: the transition or stability period is short, about two weeks. The hair stops growing to stop cell reproduction. The hair follicle shrinks and undergoes a series of changes that make it unviable for that hair. There won’t be any more growth.
  • Telogen: the final period of hair lasts about three months. This hair will no longer grow and is in a state to fall out. It no longer has vitality. From this group come the 100 hairs per day that we lose.
A woman washing her hair
Frequent washing doesn’t cause hair loss but is part of a natural process.

How often should you wash your hair?

We already know that if you wash your hair a lot it doesn’t fall out. But how often should you wash it, is it okay to wash it every day, is it necessary to take a break every other day so as not to stress it?

Dermatologists generally say that hair should be washed when it needs to be washed because of dirt or sebum buildup. This isn’t a general rule, but it would be appropriate to wash when there is a perceived accumulation of dirt.

The myth that causes many people to not wash their hair frequently is false. On the contrary, by not doing so they encourage the production of oil on the scalp, which can actually affect the hair follicle. On long hair, and on hair that produces excess sebum, there’s no room for hygiene. If daily shampooing is necessary, it should be done.

The health issues resulting from poor scalp hygiene are serious. The production of oil in the hairy area is hormonally regulated, and in women, there are noticeable changes during the menstrual cycle.

Extreme seborrhea leads to the settlement of pathogenic microorganisms that alter the balance of the hair. In specific cases we can favor infections with symptoms such as alopecia, causing hair loss due to not washing it.

An oily scalp
Washing your hair is necessary every time you notice dirt on it. It can increase the need in the case of greasy hair.

How to wash your hair properly

Knowing that it’s a myth that if you wash your hair too much it falls out, we suggest you concentrate on how to wash your hair correctly, since, in addition to doing it when required by the condition of the scalp, you should practice certain rules that improve the effectiveness of washing.

  • The water should be lukewarm. The use of shampoo is useful, as long as it’s dermatologically tested and is used in a recommended amount, without overdoing it. Small amounts are enough to distribute all over the scalp.
  • Rinsing is also essential. No product residue should remain on the hair when you get out of the shower. Before going out, a cold water jet may be recommended, which would cause vasoconstriction of the small arteries near the hair follicle.

If you wash your hair a lot, it won’t fall out

In conclusion, it’s a myth that if you wash your hair too much it’ll fall out. Hair loss occurs during the telogen period of the hair and this phase isn’t increased by daily hygiene.

Dermatologists recommend washing your hair as often as necessary, without letting oil or sebum build-up. You should do it with lukewarm water, a reduced amount of shampoo, and applying a final cold water blow to benefit the hair follicle.

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  • Gil-Redondo, R., et al. “Alopecia.” Medicine-Programa de Formación Médica Continuada Acreditado 12.92 (2019): 5394-5404.
  • Alcalde, MT. “Cuidados del cabello.” OFFARM 25.11 (2006).
  • Arostegui Aragon, Fredy. “Determinación del porcentaje de cabellos en catagen-telogen en el tricograma de pacientes mayores de 18 años sin alopecia, en un hospital público de Lima-Perú, durante el período de mayo-julio 2018.” (2019).