It’s amazing what we will believe when it comes to balding. Here are some common myths about hair loss and the real facts to set the record straight.
- Hair loss comes from your father’s side of the family.
Can’t blame this one on just your father (or mother). While it’s true that hair loss is genetic, both the maternal and paternal side of the family can produce genetic links. While hair loss can be inherited from your mother’s father, it might occur on either side of the genetic pool. This is because the non-sex-related chromosome causes baldness.
- Wearing a tight fitting hat causes hair loss.
There are two ways to look at this claim. One being that wearing a hat would only affect hair if the hatband were too tight causing the loss of circulation in the head (in which case it’d likely be uncomfortably tight in the first place). The other opinion is that hats have absolutely no effect on hair loss – if they did, hair restoration techniques would not be permanent, but they certainly are. Research has upheld this statement. One study was done with people who regularly need to wear hats at work and with another group who don’t wear hats daily. The results showed no significant results to uphold this myth. Very often people wear hats to hide baldness, and they can rest assured that such a practice is not making the condition worse.
- Better use a brush and not a comb.
Neither will cause hair loss. However, most experts believe a comb is better for hair care as it’s less likely to cause split ends than a brush.
- Hair loss can be reversed by standing on your head.
The idea is that standing on your head sends more blood to the head and this stimulates hair growth. As appealing as this may sound! I am sorry to reveal that this is just not true. Perhaps if you stood on your head for half of every day it could have an effect… but anyone who does this has bigger problems than hair loss!
- Cutting your hair will make it thicker.
While cutting your hair can give it added volume (because the shorter hair is, the lighter it is, so it doesn’t weigh itself down), your hair will not become thicker when it grows back. You’ll be left with the same thickness as before cutting. Sometimes however, cutting hair can make hair appear thicker due to the removal of split ends.
- Blow drying causes hair loss.
Hair blowers can cause damage to hair due to the high temperatures of the blowing air. But, blow dryers—if used according to manufacturer’s recommendations—do not cause hair loss. If the blow-drying kills a hair shaft, the follicle is still healthy and the hair will re-grow anyway.
- Washing your hair too much causes hair loss.
Being cautious of what chemicals we put on our hair is wise; but everyday shampoo will not cause hair loss. The hairs seen in the shower could be due to normal hair shedding or hereditary hair loss – but shampooing in itself does not cause hair loss, for it does not damage the follicles.
- Not washing your hair properly causes hair loss.
On the flip side of the coin, some people believe not washing your hair often enough, or well enough, can cause hair loss. There is no connection between a dirty scalp and hair loss. Otherwise, homeless people would all be bald, and in fact they often seem to be the hairiest!
- Hair loss is caused by stress.
Some experts claim that in some circumstances, certain types of stress can cause sudden hair loss, every day prolonged stressors, however, will not. Others believe that while stress can speed up the hair loss process, stress itself does not cause hair loss but simply accelerates it. The obvious lesson here is that achieving a stress-free lifestyle will not significantly cure a hair loss problem, but worrying about one’s hair loss can ironically make the stress worse!
- Poor diet causes hair loss.
This one doesn’t pass a quick assessment – for if nutritional deficiency caused baldness, then surely people who are starving in poverty-ridden countries would exhibit the symptoms more than well-fed people. There is no evidence that this is the case.
- Vigorously towel drying your hair can cause hair loss.
Irreversible hair loss is not caused by towel drying. Hair may shed because of the normal hair growth cycle or because it is damaged, but will always grow back if the follicle is healthy. The only hairs that won’t grow back are those that are affected by hereditary hair loss. In other words, they would have fallen out anyway, despite the towel but going easy on the towel could prolong how long you hold on to the hair.
- If you don’t see hair in the drain, you are not balding.
Most people lose as many as 100 hairs daily, but these are replaced with an equal amount of new hairs. Finding hair in your drain or hairbrush does not necessarily indicate balding, to emphasize this point look at any woman’s hair brush, it will usually be covered with hair from brushing even though there are no signs of hair loss on her scalp. Balding is caused by a process called miniaturization whereby normal, thick hair is gradually replaced with finer, thinner hair until baldness occurs. However, if massive amounts of hair end up in your environment, there may be a cause for alarm. Both men and women experience loss by a slow progression of diffuse thinning that should not be noticeable. If you have concerns about substantial quantities of hair loss in a short period of time, consult a qualified professional.
- Excessive use of hair chemicals and hot irons kills your hair.
The hair shaft, which is the visible part, is not a living entity, so nothing can kill it. As long as the damage caused is limited to the shaft and not the follicle below the skin, you may lose damaged hair shafts, but these will re-grow. However, baldness occurs from damaged follicles. This can happen when inexperienced people misuse dyes and/or relaxing agents. As a rule, the longer chemicals remain on the head and the stronger they are, the greater the chance of destroying follicles.
- Magnets increase hair growth.
Electric and magnetic cures appeared in newspapers around in the early days of these discoveries. The theory is based on increasing circulation, and thereby, preventing hair loss. However, we now know that poor circulation does not cause baldness even though it will certainly not help your hair growth.
- Hair loss stops when you get older.
Yes and no. In men the loss does decrease when the process has reached a certain stage. Usually this occurs between the ages of 40-60, but by that time all the hair may already be gone anyway. Hair loss in women, however, increases with age due to the loss of the protective hormone estrogen.
- Hair loss cannot be treated.
Though there is no absolute cure for hair loss to date, there are new and effective ways that hair loss can be treated and reversed. Hair loss medications such as finasteride and minoxodil, hair transplantation and restoration, and even stem cell treatment are all means to help hair loss sufferers restore hair.