When a person starts to lose his or her hair, the first question is often, “What is causing this?” Well, you can blame genetics and the aging process the majority of the time. Other reasons for hair loss include excessive stress, underlying conditions or medical treatments; however, these reasons are typically related to temporary hair loss rather than permanent. There are a lot of other theories as to why you may be losing your hair, and today we are going to debunk some of the most popular hair loss myths we’ve heard. Keep reading to learn the hair facts and myths you need to be aware of.
Common Hair Loss Myths Debunked
Q: Does Wearing a Hat Cause Baldness?
A: Nope! Wearing a hat does not cause baldness or hair loss. However, if you do wear a tight hat, you may experience traction alopecia, which is hair loss from excessive strain on the hair follicle. But again, you would need to wear a very tight hat to experience this. Our theory as to where this myth came from? It’s a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg paradox. As a person starts to bald, he or she may wear a hat more often to cover it up, and so others associate that hair loss with wearing a hat.
Q: Does Testosterone Cause Hair Loss?
A: There is a belief that bald men have increased testosterone. This is false! In fact, studies have found that men with hair showed the same testosterone levels as those without hair. There is a relationship, however, between dihydrotestosterone (a byproduct of testosterone) and hair loss. This hormone is known to shorten the hair growth cycle, and if your hair follicles are more sensitive to it, then that can lead to hair loss. What determines hormone sensitivity? Your genetics.
Q: Is There a Correlation Between Smoking and Hair Loss?
A: This one is complicated. The short answer is “kind of.” While there isn’t a direct correlation between smoking and hair loss, smoking can damage an otherwise healthy head of hair. Smoking weakens your immune system, which may lead to diseases or conditions that can cause hair loss. Also, smoking can cause poor blood circulation, which in turn can weaken hair follicles and affect the overall health of your hair. Finally, the pollution produced from smoking can also lead to unhealthy hair. So while smoking won’t directly cause hair loss, it can weaken the health of the hair overall.
Q: Does Hair Gel Cause Hair Loss?
A: Gel, hair spray, mousse — you name it — won’t cause hair loss. We’re not sure where this theory came from, but no, styling products will not lead to balding. If you are loading up your hair with product, be sure to thoroughly cleanse your scalp and strands to prevent product buildup. Again, this won’t lead to hair loss, but product buildup can negatively affect your scalp, which can then damage your healthy hair.
Q: Is Hair Loss Inherited From My Mother?
A: No. While this hair loss myth isn’t totally off base since it is related to genetics (our number reason for hair loss), it simply is not true. Hair loss is a polygenic trait, meaning it needs to be shown in multiple family members to be passed down. Male-pattern and female-pattern hair loss does not come from one side of the family regardless of gender. In general, if you notice a history of balding in your family, then keep an eye on your own head of hair, and as you notice hair thinning, consult with a hair loss specialist to intervene early and slow down the process.
Q: Is Hair Loss Related to Sun Exposure?
A: Nope! Perhaps this is related to the hat theory, but no, sun exposure isn’t going to cause hair loss. The only concern with sun exposure is that it can damage your hair. As you spend more time outdoors, your hair may lighten (if you aren’t already blonde). That lighter appearance can be a sign that your strands are getting scorched, leading to brittle, damaged hair. Take care of your hair and also consider wearing a hat if you spend a lot of time outdoors.