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Does Sweating Make Your Hair Grow?

Jill Johnson

Reviewed by Jill Johnson, FNP

Written by Nicholas Gibson

Published 04/10/2023

Does sweating make your hair grow? Can a tough workout or sauna session stop your receding hairline or thicken up that bald patch on your scalp?

Search for home remedies for hair loss on the internet, and you’ll find countless concoctions and habits that are purportedly linked to improvements in hair growth.

Sweating is one of them — a natural bodily function that’s supposedly good for your hair follicles and general hair health. But is sweating good for you and hair growth?

Yes, sweating is natural, and it’s not bad for your hair per se. But there’s no scientific evidence showing that sweating — whether from regular exercise or warm weather — makes your hair grow thicker, keeps your hair healthy or stops issues such as male pattern baldness.

In fact, there’s not much high-quality evidence that sweating does anything of note for your hair or scalp — other than possibly affecting its odor after a few days without shampoo.

The good news is that if you’re interested in stimulating hair growth and promoting a thick head of hair, you don’t need to rely on perspiration to achieve your goals.

In fact, a wide range of evidence-based treatments is available to help you to keep your hair looking its best and protected from hair damage.

Below, we’ll explain how hair growth works, as well as why you shouldn't rely on excessive sweating as a solution if you’re starting to lose hair.

We’ll also list your options for shielding your hair from damage, maintaining a healthy scalp and promoting healthier hair roots and follicles.

Does Sweating Make Your Hair Grow?

Simply put, no.

There’s currently no scientific evidence suggesting that sweating increases your hair's rate of growth, makes your hair grow thicker or prevents common forms of hair loss, such as male pattern baldness, from developing. 

There’s also no reliable evidence that sweating keeps your scalp healthy, regulates levels of hormones involved in hair growth, or has any other effect on male pattern baldness or other scalp conditions.

In other words, sweating isn’t a magic solution to hair loss in men (or in women, for that matter). So while infrared sauna benefits don't include hair growth, there are others to learn about.

Contrary to what you might have read online or seen in a YouTube video, sweating doesn’t promote the release of “toxins” from your scalp pores or have any other special effects on your scalp and hair.

Instead, sweating is just your body’s mechanism for regulating its temperature. When you feel hot, your autonomic nervous system triggers the release of water and sodium from your sweat glands, allowing you to cool yourself.

This is why it’s common to sweat when it’s warm outside, while you’re exercising or if you have a fever. The natural, normal process is critical for making sure your body functions the way it should — but it doesn’t have any positive or negative effect on your hair growth.

Is Sweat Good for Your Hair?

Although sweat plays an important role in regulating your temperature, there’s no evidence it’s good for your hair.

Your body produces two types of sweat. Sweat from your eccrine sweat glands (which are found primarily on your hands and scalp) is made up primarily of water, with small amounts of minerals such as sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

This sweat may also contain metabolites, such as ammonia, lactate and urea, as well as certain unmetabolized substances from medications.

Sweat from your apocrine sweat glands (which empty into your hair follicles) is oilier, containing a mix of similar minerals and metabolites mixed in with lipids, hormones and proteins.

At the moment, we can’t find any scientific evidence showing a connection between sweat from your apocrine or eccrine glands and any significant improvements in the health or growth of your hair. 

In other words, the research we have right now doesn’t suggest that excessive sweat — whether from exercise or daily activities — is good for your hair. 

In fact, most research suggests the opposite — that letting sweat build up on your scalp without cleaning it regularly might have a mildly negative effect on your hair’s health, scent and feel.

Sweating is closely associated with body odor. While sweating itself doesn’t cause you to smell, the chemicals in sweat released from your apocrine sweat glands may develop an unpleasant odor when they attract bacteria.

Most of these glands are located near your armpits, chest and genitals, but small amounts may be found on your face and scalp. This reaction between sweat and bacteria is what may give your scalp a noticeable odor if you leave your hair unwashed for several days.

Beyond an unpleasant smell, there’s also some evidence to suggest that sweating might affect your skin’s protective barrier function, which could increase your risk of irritated skin and issues that affect your skin surface.

Put simply, while sweating doesn’t appear to be particularly harmful to your hair, it also doesn’t seem to offer any significant benefits for your hair or scalp. 

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How to Deal With a Sweaty Scalp

If you sweat a lot, there are some simple steps you can take to keep your hair and scalp as healthy as possible. Try to:

  • Wash your hair and scalp after exercising. After you finish exercising, wash your hair as thoroughly as you can using a high-quality shampoo. Consider a thickening shampoo if you’re starting to notice early signs of a receding hairline or hair thinning.

  • Focus shampoo on your scalp. Shampoo works best when you focus it on your scalp, not the full length of your hair. If you have an oily scalp, washing it frequently may help reduce your risk of developing acne on your forehead.

  • Apply a high-quality conditioner. Conditioner helps to prevent your hair from looking weathered or lacking in shine. Try to use conditioner every time you wash your hair to keep your hair nourished and properly moisturized.

It’s also good to keep yourself hydrated if you’re prone to sweating. Try to consume lots of fluids if you sweat often or during taxing activities such as exercise. Try drinking a sports drink if you feel like you’ve lost sodium or other electrolytes while sweating.

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Better Ways to Improve Hair Growth

Although working up a sweat in the gym or sauna can offer real benefits for your general health and well-being, there’s no clear evidence that sweating improves hair growth.

The good news is that growing and maintaining healthy hair isn’t as difficult as you might initially think, even if you’re prone to issues such as male pattern baldness.

If you’re beginning to spot the early signs of hair loss and want to do something about it, or just want to keep your hair looking and feeling its best, use the evidence-based techniques below to promote healthy hair growth:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Nutrition plays a significant role in the health of your skin and hair. Try to eat a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein and other foods that support healthy hair growth.

  • Get checked for medical conditions that cause hair shedding. Hair shedding is often an early sign that something isn’t quite right internally — be it an infection, a medication side effect or a nutritional deficiency.
    If you notice your hair shedding more than normal, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.

  • Keep your scalp clean and healthy. Excessive scalp sweating may affect your hair’s smell and texture and could contribute to issues such as itchy skin. Try to keep a clean scalp by washing your hair whenever it starts to feel overly oily or dull.

  • For thinning hair, consider minoxidil. This over-the-counter medication shifts inactive hair follicles into the anagen phase, helping to improve hair growth. It also increases the flow of blood to your scalp, giving your hair follicles a better supply of nutrients.
    We offer minoxidil topical solution and minoxidil foam online as part of our range of hair loss treatments for men. 

  • If you have male pattern baldness, try using finasteride. This prescription medication works by preventing your body from converting extra testosterone into DHT — a hormone that causes your hair follicles to stop growing new hairs.
    We provide finasteride online, following a consultation with a healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.

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The Bottom Line on Sweating and Hair Growth

It’s normal to sweat, especially if you have a fit lifestyle that involves plenty of exercise and outdoor activities. While sweating is important for managing your internal temperature, it doesn’t appear to have much of an impact on your hair’s ability to grow. 

When it comes to the relationship between sweat and your hair, try to remember the following:

  • Sweat doesn’t appear to stimulate hair growth or stop hair loss. Most hair loss in men is the result of male pattern baldness, which is genetic and hormonal. Right now, there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that sweat plays a role in hair loss. 

  • Sweat might increase your risk of scalp irritation. As well as causing your scalp to smell, sweaty hair might increase your risk of dealing with skin barrier function issues, including some that could involve itching and/or irritation. 

  • Dealing with sweaty hair is fairly simple. If you’re prone to sweating, washing your hair after intense physical activity or at the end of a hot, humid day is usually all you need to do to keep it looking and feeling its best. 

Finally, if you’re starting to lose your hair, don’t panic. Numerous options are available to treat hair loss, including FDA-approved hair loss medications such as finasteride and minoxidil. 

Interested in exploring your options? Take part in an online hair loss consultation to find out more about what you can do to prevent hair thinning, maintain healthy hair and even stimulate regrowth in certain parts of your scalp.

You can also learn more in our guides to treatments for thinning hair and preventing hair loss.

12 Sources

  1. Hoover, E., Alhajj, M. & Flores, J.L. (2022, July 25). Physiology, Hair. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499948/
  2. Do You Have Hair Loss or Hair Shedding? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/shedding
  3. Ho, C.H., Sood, T. & Zito, P.M. (2022, October 16). Androgenetic Alopecia. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430924/
  4. Hughes, E.C. & Saleh, D. (2022, June 26). Telogen Effluvium. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430848/
  5. Sweating. (2021, April 24). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003218.htm
  6. Chen, Y.L., Kuan, W.H. & Liu, C.L. (2020, May). Comparative Study of the Composition of Sweat from Eccrine and Apocrine Sweat Glands during Exercise and in Heat. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 17 (10), 3377. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7277079/
  7. Watson, S. (2021, October 15). What's that smell? Get rid of body odor. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/whats-that-smell-common-and-less-common-causes-of-body-odor
  8. Murphrey, M.B., Safadi, A.O. & Vaidya, T. (2022, October 10). Histology, Apocrine Gland. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482199/
  9. Luebberding, S., Kolbe, L. & Kerscher, M. (2013, June). Influence of sportive activity on skin barrier function: a quantitative evaluation of 60 athletes. International Journal of Dermatology. 52 (6), 745-749. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23488867/
  10. Tips for Healthy Hair. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/hair-scalp-care/hair/healthy-hair-tips
  11. Badri, T., Nessel, T.A. & Kumar, D.D. (2021, December 19). Minoxidil. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482378/
  12. Zito, P.M., Bistas, K.G. & Syed, K. (2022, August 25). Finasteride. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513329/
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Jill Johnson, FNP

Dr. Jill Johnson is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner and board-certified in Aesthetic Medicine. She has clinical and leadership experience in emergency services, Family Practice, and Aesthetics.

Jill graduated with honors from Frontier Nursing University School of Midwifery and Family Practice, where she received a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialty in Family Nursing. She completed her doctoral degree at Case Western Reserve University

She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the Emergency Nurses Association, and the Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association.

Jill is a national speaker on various topics involving critical care, emergency and air medical topics. She has authored and reviewed for numerous publications. You can find Jill on Linkedin for more information.

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