Hair Wrapped in a Towel

Hair wrapped in a towel
Photo: Dreamstime
Q: When I get out of the shower, I have a towel on my head to dry my hair. At times – if I'm not preoccupied doing other things – I take it off within a reasonable amount of time and sometimes I'll leave it on for a while.
Well, my mom says to me: "Take that towel off your head or you’re going to get pimples on your head!" Is this true, that I can get pimples on my head/scalp if I leave the towel on my head longer than I should?

A: The short answer would be: “No. Leaving a towel on your head will not cause pimples in your scalp.” However, as with everything in life, the answers aren’t so simple. Pimples are caused when the pores of the skin become clogged by dirt, oil and dead skin cells and then become inflamed and infected.
Keeping the scalp moist for a prolonged period of time could result in a swelling of the dead skin cells on the scalp and can facilitate the formation of pimples. However, one of the purposes of shampooing the hair is to cleanse the scalp and wash away the dead skin cells, along with the dirt and oils. This would eliminate the factors necessary to cause pimples.
Also, some people have very sensitive skin types and find that keeping a towel on the head for a prolonged period causes tenderness and irritation, but unless this is you, there’s no need to worry there.
You really shouldn’t need to worry about keeping your hair wrapped in a towel to dry unless the hair doesn’t actually get drier the longer you keep the towel on. Of course, this would be counterproductive to the purpose for wearing the towel. As long as the hair is drying in the towel, then the towel is doing its job of wicking away the moisture in the hair and scalp.
You do have to understand that the drying process with a towel/turban does reach a plateau where the hair dries to a point and then the drying slows as the level of moisture in the towel and the hair begins to balance.
Finally, it’s a question of the actual amounts of time in question. What constitutes a “reasonable amount of time”? Typically speaking, the hair will dry as much as it is likely to under a towel within half-an-hour to an hour. I personally recommend at this point that you take a dry towel and replace the now dampened one. The dry towel will allow additional moisture to be wicked from the hair and scalp and will speed the drying process.
I have a few friends who have long hair who keep two towels separate from their regular towels. They call these their hair towels, and they use them solely for drying their hair. They wrap the first one around the hair/head coming out of the shower after shampooing, and swap the towels out after about an hour. They hang the used towels to dry for reuse and wash them once a week.
I hope this alleviates your concerns.
See also:
Scalp problems
Pimples near the scalp, caused by shampoo and hair shine
How to towel dry hair
How to wrap a towel in a turban to dry your hair