Heat Loss Through The Head

I have read figures that one can lose between 20-40% of your body heat through your head alone.   Although 13-16% of the body’s blood volume is in the head at any given time it is a very exposed structure.  The problem is that the head is only about 10% of the body surface area.  Thus the head would have to lose about 40 times as much heat per square inch compared to the rest of the body.

Wilderness Medicine took volunteers, wired them to monitor their core temperatures, and discovered we lose heat through any exposed part of the body and the amount of heat we lose depends on the amount of exposed surface area.  The rate of heat loss is relatively the same for any exposed part of the body not simply the head.

You do not lose heat significantly faster through the scalp than any other portion of the body with the same surface area. The idea that we lose heat faster through out scalp because of the constant blood supply to the brain is simply a myth.  This and other useful wilderness medicine information is available through their blog.


3 comments to Heat Loss Through The Head

  • Whether we lose 50 percent or 10 percent of our body heat through our heads …

    I doesn’t matter.

    Cover up the noggin anyway. Wear a liner while engaging in strenuous activity like hiking up a mountain, then add a thicker hat for camping, sleeping, etc.

    That is unless you don’t want to keep your ears.

  • That’s a pretty cool fact. I use an Under Armour face mask/liner that does a pretty good job.

  • So, we lose most heat from the head because it’s the most frequently uncovered? Makes perfect sense. Even if you wear a beanie your face is still exposed.