Should we wear a hat in winter?

The question may appear silly, but it could be the source of our sinus, ear, headache, and hair problems. Should we wear hats when it’s cold in winter ? Scientists don’t all agree on this, but most of their arguments point to the same answer.

hat in winter

Many people believe that you lose half of your body heat through your head, which is why you should always wear a hat when it’s cold. Some people think this is a myth and that you don’t need to wear a hat because your body is used to the cold. Still, some people think that thick hair can be used instead of a hat. When it’s cold, we should wear a hat, doesn’t that matter much?

We lose half our heat through our heads—it’s a myth

An adult loses about 10% of their body’s surface heat through their head. This is the same amount of heat that is lost from the rest of the body. Scientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine in the U.S have shown this to be true.

In other words, the more skin that is exposed, the more heat we lose. If you stay out in the cold for a longer time and have more skin exposed, you are more likely to get hypothermia and frostbite. Still, these scientists came to the conclusion that, in theory, we can choose for ourselves whether or not to wear a hat, even though they agreed that the body should be kept warm.

It is better to wear a hat in winter if you do not want to get into trouble with your health.

Even so, most of the evidence shows that we should wear hats in the winter (and ideally a scarf and gloves as well). Children and old people should always wear hats. This has a lot of good effects. When it’s cold outside:

  • prevents excessive heat loss ,
  • prevents head and sinus chills , which can protect against sinusitis and severe headaches, including migraine and sinus headache,
  • protects against ear infections (it is worth knowing that the auricles are poorly supplied with blood and cool down quickly),
  • protects against drastic temperature changes ,
  • protects the scalp and hair – low temperature can damage the bulbs and dry the scalp, making the hair more brittle, dry, losing its shine and falling out more often,
  • to some extent it protects the body against hypothermia and frostbite 

If we look at how heat is lost through the head, we can see that it depends on many things, such as the amount and thickness of hair, but mostly on how big the head is compared to the rest of the body, which can change.

Since a child’s head is a bigger part of their body, they will lose more heat through their head than an adult would (it won’t be just 10%). It is thought that young children lose about a third of their body heat through their heads, so when it is cold, cover them up. Babies also cool off faster, especially when they are sitting or lying in a stroller.

The elderly are also encouraged to cover their heads in the winter. Researchers have found that cooling the head can change things like blood pressure and heart rate. Also, keep in mind that as people get older, their bodies cool down faster, which is made worse by diseases and circulation problems.