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It’s common knowledge that regular exercise offers several physical health benefits, from weight management to muscle strength and everything in between. But, after several sweaty workout sessions, you may find that the health of your hair is starting to suffer.
Luckily, with a bit of extra TLC, active individuals can maintain soft, healthy hair (despite sweaty workouts). Read on to learn all about hair care for athletes, including the sports care products that we love to protect and nourish those deserving locks.
Does Sweat Damage Hair?
Sweat can damage hair if it’s left to dry on your hair and scalp after working out.
Here are a few key ways in which sweat can damage hair:
Clogged Hair Follicles
Water, salt, proteins, and oils are the primary components of sweat. So, when sweat dries on the scalp before it’s washed out, it can combine with bacteria and clog the hair follicles. Clogged hair follicles suffocate the pores on the scalp, preventing them from “breathing” properly. This is often the reason behind post-workout scalp itchiness, rashes, and flakiness.
Additionally, when hair follicles are clogged with sweat, they can’t receive the necessary nutrients for hair growth.
Harmful Lactic Acid
Sweat contains lactic acid, which can attach to the protein known as keratin, naturally found in hair follicles. Over time, this can rob hair of its natural shine and strength, giving it a dull, brittle appearance.
Risk of Infection
When it’s left on the scalp for a significant length of time, sweat can pose the risk of a bacterial or fungal infection. This occurs when sweat mixes with bacteria or yeast and enters your pores. Signs of a scalp infection include flaky scales, crusts, red patches, itchiness, and/or pustules on the scalp.
Should I Wash My Hair if I Sweat?
If you sweat during a workout, you should wash your hair. This removes sweat from your scalp and hair to prevent damage and irritation.
If you work out but don’t sweat significantly, you may be able to skip the shampoo for that day. However, individuals who sweat heavily when they exercise will likely need to shampoo their hair daily to prevent scalp itchiness and related issues.
Should Athletes Wash Their Hair Every Day?
Athletes should wash their hair every day if they sweat heavily during their workouts.
If you work out every day, you may worry about the possible damaging effects of washing your hair daily. Washing hair daily, particularly with a harsh shampoo, can remove natural oils from the hair, making it dry and more susceptible to damage. However, experts agree that those who sweat daily must shampoo daily to remove the sweat from their hair.
In the long run, drying sweat on the scalp and hair strands will do more harm than daily shampoo. But you can keep your hair hydrated and healthy by choosing products that are specifically formulated for active individuals. These formulas are designed to be gentle enough for frequent use and will gently yet thoroughly remove sweat from your hair.
How Can I Protect My Hair During Exercise?
You can protect your hair during exercise by avoiding touching your hair, choosing a gentle up-do, wearing a sweat-absorbing headband, and using a pre-workout conditioner.
Avoid Touching Your Hair
Though it may be tempting, refrain from touching your hair and scalp while you exercise. Doing so can ramp up oil production in the scalp, making it more likely that you’ll experience itchiness and irritation later on.
Keeping your hair up and away from your face can help you avoid the need to fix your hair throughout the workout.
Choose a Gentle Up-Do
Speaking of keeping your hair up, opt for a gentle up-do when you exercise. While many people prefer a high bun or pony, these high hairstyles can significantly strain your hairline, where hair is naturally thinner. Over time, this can lead to a receding hairline.
So, opt for a gentler alternative, like a low ponytail, braid, low bun, or braided ponytail. These styles keep hair away from the face without straining your hair follicles.
Additionally, pay attention to the type of hair tie you use to secure the up-do. Avoid hair ties with metal sections, which can get caught on hair. Opt for a softer, gentler option, such as a fabric tie or scrunchie.
Wear a Sweat-Absorbing Headband
While a workout headband can’t absorb all of the sweat during your workout, it can reduce the amount of sweat that sits on your scalp. Plus, a headband can help keep fly-away hairs out of your face while you exercise. Look for a moisture-wicking band that’s specifically designed for exercise, and make sure to wash it regularly!
Sports Hair Care Products
Sport hair care products are ideal for athletes who wash away sweat while nourishing their strands. Trihard offers a comprehensive line of sports care products designed to promote optimal hair health, even after your most intense workouts.
- Trihard’s Swimmers Shampoo removes sweat, chlorine, and saltwater from the hair and scalp while providing lasting hydration. Magnesium chlorine, dead sea salts, and red algae work together to clarify the hair and scalp, while argan oil, shea oil, jojoba oil, and keratin provide lasting hydration.
- Trihard’s Pre & Post Swim Conditioner acts as a protective barrier against the effects of chlorine, saltwater, and sweat. It can be used before your daily workout to reduce pool chemical absorption while warding off the adverse effects of excess sweat.
- Trihard’s Swimmers Shampoo Extra Boost is an anti-chlorine shampoo that provides more menthol for athletes seeking an energizing, refreshing boost after their sweatiest workouts. It also includes the clarifying and hydrating benefits of the original shampoo formula.