You’ve probably noticed that there seems to be quite a few divers around that sport bald heads. It’s perfect for diving in some ways: there’s certainly no risk of having your vision obscured by any flowing locks. But if your own hair is starting to thin out a little, and you’re wondering if scuba diving can cause hair loss by itself in some way, then you may start to have second thoughts about entering the water.
Will my scuba diving hobby cause hair loss, or is it all down to genetics?
Luckily (or not, for some), almost 98% of all baldness can be attributed to genetics. This means that you should perhaps be pointing the finger of blame at your parents rather than scuba diving if your forehead is starting to get bigger. Medical explanations such as alopecia, stress, and receiving treatment for cancer can also account for some of the other reasons.
So on the main, it seems as if there aren’t any hard and fast reasons that scuba diving would be to blame for any hair loss. That being said though, it’s still worth considering a few things if you really want to look after your hair when diving.
Pulling your hair back
For those with long hair, there’s little choice but to pull back their hair into a certain style when diving. Long locks can instantly become unruly underwater and get in the way of your mask when you’re trying to see. At best this is annoying, at worst, a lack of vision underwater can be dangerous.
Most long-haired divers then, opt for ponytails, top knots and braids to keep their hair in check. This is unlikely to cause any issues if you only do this for a couple of hours each week. If however, you dive most days, then the resultant constant pulling on your scalp can lead to something called traction alopecia. This can cause hair loss as the hair is repeatedly under stress from being pulled at the root.
The ocean contains a myriad of different types of bacteria. If you’ve seen the amount of rubbish that can get washed up on the coast, then you’re probably already aware that the seas probably harbour even more bacteria than they used to as well. These bacteria can easily infect any tiny cuts or wounds on your head, so take care if you realise that you have any open skin on your scalp.
A scalp infection can cause inflammation that can in turn lead to a condition called scarring alopecia, which, you guessed it, can also result in hair loss.
Saltwater and hair
While not really contributing to hair loss, it’s fair to say that saltwater isn’t your hair’s best friend anyway. Repeated exposure can cause hair to become brittle and dry, so it’s important to rinse out your locks with fresh water as soon as possible after a dive to maintain a healthy head of hair.
It’s also worth trying to protect your hair before you dive. Many people swear by coconut oil to create a barrier between your hair and the salt water. Another option is to try a biodegradable leave-in conditioner. Do your research on conditioners beforehand though to ensure that whatever you chose isn’t going to negatively affect the marine life near your dive spot.
In general then, it’s fairly safe to assume that scuba diving isn’t going to directly cause any hair loss problems for you. As we’ve seen though, that isn’t to say that there aren’t any risks whatsoever. Bear these points in mind to give your hair the best chance of avoiding the harsh effects of sea water.