Wearing A Hat During Your Workout May Be Damaging Your Hair More Than You Think

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A good workout is dependent on a lot of things — how much energy you have before exercising, how you fuel yourself both before and after the workout, what kind of fitness routine you're engaging in and for how long, and also the type of clothing you choose to wear. It goes without saying that the attire you put on for the gym should be comfortable, breathable, and flexible enough to accommodate movement. 

For a lot of people, keeping their hair in place becomes a priority too. The last thing you'd want when lifting weighted dumbbells over your head or doing a complicated pilates move is for loose hair strands to get in the way. This is probably why you'd notice a lot of headbands, high ponytails, and hats at the fitness center. Whether your workout involves following YouTube tutorials at home or hitting the gym each week, you might be wondering what the deal is with hats. Should you get one to keep your hair in place? 

While it might seem like a simple enough solution for stray tresses, you may want to re-think your decision. 

Excessive and concentrated sweat on your scalp is not a good thing

Wearing a hat while you work out won't cause hair loss per se, but the type of hat you choose to wear matters. Anything tight that pulls on the roots and anything that prohibits ventilation can be damaging. You could also potentially find yourself with a headache if the fit of the cap is too taut. 

Sweat is a natural part of any exercise routine. It's the way our body regulates its temperature as we move about engaging in physical activity. Cleveland Clinic dermatologist Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal told Global News that sweat could become a concerning factor when wearing hats and working out in the summer, especially if this is done excessively. "In the hot summer months, wearing a hat is going to make you sweat [in] it. And when you sweat more, you can get more dandruff and overgrowth of yeast and bacteria, which can cause some shedding," she explained. 

Another Cleveland Clinic dermatologist Dr. John Anthony shared with Healthline that wearing hats that are extremely tight and lacking ventilation reduces blood flow to the hair.

What can you wear instead?

The goal really should be to wear something that allows for breathability and something that can absorb your sweat while you engage in physical activity. Options include hair wraps, scarves, or even a towel around your hair to keep the sweat from dripping into your eyes. Most gyms would give you a towel to use during your workout anyway. 

Alternatively, you can try styling your hair in a high ponytail or even a braid for a comfortable gym session. Caring for your hair before and after a workout is also important when it comes to not damaging your tresses. Allowing the sweat from your workout to sit on your scalp for longer than it needs to is one of the ways you might be ruining your hair. 

If you still want to wear a hat during a workout, opt for the breathable kind made especially for fitness purposes. The Melin Trenches Icon Hydro hat with moisture-wicking lining is a good choice. So is the MISSION Vented Cooling Performance Hat, which is breathable and lightweight.