Rain and going bald

Woman with wet hair in the rain
Photo: IPGGutenbergUKLtd/Getty Images/Canva
Q: I was watching a TV series, and at one point, a guy was telling his girlfriend that she should use an umbrella because the rain would make her go bald. Is this true? Can rain make you go bald? What is the logic behind rain causing hair loss? Pollution maybe?
A: No, the idea that rain can make you go bald is not true. Rain itself does not have any direct impact on hair loss. Hair loss is primarily influenced by genetic factors, hormonal changes, age, and certain medical conditions. It's possible that the statement made in the TV series was meant for humor or exaggeration rather than being based on scientific evidence.
Human hair is primarily composed of a protein called keratin, and its structure is designed to absorb and release water without sustaining damage. Each hair strand consists of multiple layers. The outer layer of the hair, known as the cuticle, consists of overlapping scales that allow water molecules to penetrate without compromising the hair's integrity.
This natural ability to absorb and release moisture ensures that rainwater does not harm the hair shaft. Contrary to popular belief, this temporary absorption of water does not damage the hair and does not lead to hair loss. In fact, hair is designed to withstand exposure to water, and the swelling of the cuticle is a natural and reversible process.
Rainwater is a natural occurrence that results from the condensation of water vapor in the atmosphere. It is mainly composed of water droplets but may also contain small amounts of minerals, pollutants, and gases, depending on environmental conditions. Rainwater is slightly acidic due to the presence of dissolved carbon dioxide, but this acidity is too mild to cause any harm to the hair.
It's important to understand that the hair’s health is influenced by various environmental factors, including exposure to sunlight, pollution, and the use of hair care products. Rainwater, in comparison, poses minimal risk to hair health when compared to these other factors.
While it is true that wet hair is more prone to breakage, any type of water (tap water, rain, well water, etc.) will have this effect. While wet hair is more elastic and susceptible to stretching and breakage, it does not necessarily result in permanent hair loss and going bald. Proper hair styling, including careful detangling and avoiding excessive force, will reduce any risks associated with wet hair.
See also:
Hair problems
Fragile wet hair
Does hair absorb water?