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Why Do I Have Bad Hair Days When I’m Sick?

Besides accidentally getting puke in my hair, I mean

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like every time I’m sick, my hair gets sick too. When I wore my hair shorter, it wouldn’t cooperate at all when a flu, cold, etc. knocked me on my ass — it’d just twist and curl and be a complete slave to my cowlicks, which I can ordinarily tame without too much effort. Now that my hair is a bit longer, it just lays limp and lifeless when I’m under the weather, completely devoid of personality.

Does this happen because I’m too tired from being sick to put the effort into making myself look pretty in the morning? Or is there some, like, science to this?

According to hair stylist and trichologist Julie Beale, feeling too drained to style it as well as you normally would is certainly a factor. In addition she says, many people don’t wash their hair until they feel better, and since you may also lie around a bit more, pressing your normally glorious mane into couch cushions and pillows, your look can get messed up.

But there’s also more to it — a little, at least:

“The only real physiological impact on the hair can come from running a temperature,” Beale says. “This can cause sweating, which makes hair go flat, feel lank and even greasy.” So if a fever is one of your symptoms, that would explain at least part of your hair’s lack of cooperation.

Beale adds, “Long-term illnesses, stressful lifestyles and poor diet will all have a huge impact on hair health as it grows, causing possible hair loss and poorer quality hair.”

Anyway, next time you’re sick, at least feel better about the fact that bad hair days are part of the symptoms. And dedicate your energy to feeling like an (adequately-styled) human being again.