Is It OK To Go Outside When Your Hair Is Wet? A Dermatologist Explains

Considering the beauty industry is always warning folks about the damaging effects of heated hair tools, it seems the logical answer to drying your barnet is to let it dry naturally. However, you might wonder: Is it ok to go outside when your hair is wet? Because, different seasons bring with them an array of temperatures and weather conditions.

Avoiding being outside with wet hair in the summer is almost an impossible feat; if you're on vacation and you're in and out of the pool or the ocean, rocking wet hair is inevitable. Plus, using a hairdryer in heightened temperatures is probably the last thing on your mind. While you might not hesitate at going outdoors with a damp 'do during the summer, you might think twice when it comes to winter. The winter months are cold enough as they are, never mind with the addition of wet strands sticking to your scalp or blowing past your face in the freezing winds.

All this being said, you might live somewhere that's sunny or snowy for most of the year, or where your seasons melt into one indistinguishable blur. In that case, you'll want to figure out which season best symbolizes your climate. So, I spoke to Dr. Janet Prystowsky to discover whether it's OK to go outside with wet hair, and how the different seasons and weather conditions will affect your drenched tresses.

Summer

"In summer, it’s OK to go outside when your hair is wet." Dr. Prystowsky tells me over email. "At worst, your hair may clump in the summer. If you are in the shade, you won’t have a problem, but in the sun this could put you at an increased risk of a scalp sunburn in between the clumps." She explains.

So it might be a good idea to sport a sun hat atop your noggin if you're going to be outside with wet hair for long periods. After all, nobody likes a burnt scalp!

Winter

Dr. Prystowsky says, "In the winter, wet hair would be uncomfortable." She adds, "However, the worst that could happen in the winter is your hair freezing. This would put you at an increased risk of frostbite." To avoid any scenario where you start to resemble a White Walker and to avoid discomfort and potential frostbite, you might want to stick to your blowdryer or ensure your hair is completely dry after air-drying, before leaving the house in winter and cold weather conditions.

Spring & Fall

"The fall and spring are the least problematic seasons for wet hair." Says Dr. Prystowsky, "If you’re in a pinch for time and need to dry your hair quickly before heading out the door, buy yourself a super absorbent towel."

So now you know when it's OK to flaunt wet locks outside and when it's best to stay indoors. If you like the way your barnet looks when it's wet, you can always fake it with wet look hairstyles, so you can steer clear of frozen strands in the colder months — because even Princess Elsa avoided an icicle hairdo.

Images: Alex Blăjan (1), Connor Irwin (1), Rosalind Chang (1) /Unsplash