How The Temperature Of Your Shower Can Affect Your Hair Health

At the end of a long day, the first thing you might want to do is scrub away your stress in a steaming hot shower, but have you thought about the temperature of that water? If you lean on the side of scolding hot water for your baths and showers, you may be doing more harm than good to both your hair and skin.

Take your skin, for instance. As Martha Stewart explains, hot steam can help open your pores, but hot water can create skin problems. "Hot showers affect the skin's most outer layer, the epidermis," cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green told the publication. "Heat from hot water, combined with soap, will soften your skin and slowly strip away its natural, oily protective barriers." To avoid this, Dr. Green recommends lukewarm water for showers — as a rule of thumb, water that is hot enough to turn your skin red is ultimately damaging. "Cooler showers can awaken your body and increase mental alertness," Dr. Green added while speaking to Martha Stewart. Cool doesn't have to translate into cold water, either — aim for around 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

But what about your luscious locks? Should you be worried about the temperature of your shower when it comes to maintaining the health of your hair? Here is what you need to know about how water temperature can impact your hair.

The impact of showering with hot or warm water

As it turns out, the temperature of your shower water can play a role in everything from your hair's fizziness to its overall strength, per SkinKraft Laboratories. If you use hot water frequently, in particular, you may be adding stress to your hair. In the end, this can manifest as frizz, brittleness, and dryness.

Bialife notes that hot water even has the potential to slow your hair growth. This is because it strips your scalp of natural oils, which cause dryness. Dehydration can stunt hair growth by negatively affecting your hair follicles. To make things worse, hot water doesn't always completely rinse out shampoo and conditioner, which can make your hair look dry and dull. Regularly washing your hair with hot water can also be bad for your scalp, per Clinic Expert. Over time, it may become dry, leading to itchiness and dandruff.

The alternative is to shower with warm water, which can stimulate blood flow to your hair follicles, per SkinKraft Laboratories. It also encourages your hair cuticles to open up just enough to get a deep clean, removing excess oil from your scalp and hair in the process. If you're curious, The Wall Street Journal notes that although hot tap water can run as hot as 140 degrees Fahrenheit, 112 degrees Fahrenheit or lower is enough to wash away dirt, grime, and bacteria.

Cold rinsing for optimal hair health

If you're concerned about any damage you may have done to your hair with hot water, you might want to consider giving your locks a cold rinse. As Mane Addicts explains, cold water can help you retain color (if you dye) while adding shine and smoothness to your hair. Salon director Mirza Batanovic also told the source that cold water can seal your hair cuticles, helping it retain any conditioner you use beforehand. This can be especially helpful if you frequently fight tangles within your locks. Clinic Expert also notes that cold water can protect the natural oils of your hair and scalp.

To take care of your hair in your routine showers, Curly Nikki recommends using a combination of both warm and cool water. While cleansing and conditioning, use warm water — avoid hot water at all costs. This is also the best time to detangle your hair. When you're ready to rinse, switch over to cool water to finish the process. Over time, you'll notice healthier, beautiful locks that are easier to style post-showering.