Hereditary hair loss affects 80 million men and women in the U.S. Other causes of hair loss may include hormonal changes, reactions to medication, symptoms of chronic diseases, or physical or emotional shock.
When you factor in societal beauty standards on top of a distorted body image influenced by your hair loss, you may experience serious mental health issues as a result. There is an overwhelming amount of myths surrounding the causes, and treatments, of hair loss. These myths may cause uncertainty and even feelings of hopelessness, but by debunking these myths, you can help properly address the source of your hair loss.
1. Wearing Hats Causes Baldness
Wearing hats does not cause chronic baldness no matter what kind of hat you like to wear. However, frequently wearing ill-fitting hats may cause adverse side effects.
Wearing hats that are too tight may pull or tug at hair follicles, which can remove individual hairs, or even cause migraines over an extended period. To avoid this, you can invest in hats designed specifically for larger heads (if you’ve got one), adjustable hats, or hat extenders. Hats made from breathable, flexible materials, like athletic hats, can also reduce pulling or snagging.
2. All Hair Loss Is Permanent
Not all hair loss is permanent. Environmental factors that cause hair loss, such as certain medications, treatments, or conditions, can often be reversed. Cancer patients might see hair regrowth within one to three months of ending chemo, with full regrowth at six months to a year.
Even if you’re dealing with genetic hair loss, there are still treatments that may reverse or slow the process. Certain prescriptions like Minoxidil or Finasteride are the most common ones that address hereditary hair loss, but talk to your medical provider to determine if either option is right for you. You can also treat hair loss at home by changing your diet, increasing your vitamin intake, or reducing stress.
3. Young People Don’t Suffer From Baldness
This could be one of the most sinister myths surrounding hair loss. Despite the fact that hair loss is typically associated with seniors, many young people can experience hair loss early. Nearly 25% of men start losing their hair by the age of 30. Even though early-onset balding is perfectly explainable at any age, many young people may feel alienated because of this myth. While hair loss is a side effect of aging, due to the loss of protein, baldness is a condition that can affect anyone at any age.
4. Showering Too Much/Too Little Causes Hair Loss
Contrary to popular cosmetic belief, the amount you shower doesn’t have a profound effect on your hair loss. It’s recommended that you should wash your hair as often as it gets greasy or dirty. This can vary from person to person depending on lifestyle and hair type. However, daily showering has also been linked to dry skin, particularly daily hot showers. If daily showering is a part of your routine, try cooler water and shorter showers to avoid drying your skin out, or use a thick body moisturizer.
5. Baldness Comes From the Mother’s Side
Hereditary baldness is not determined by one set of genes. This was a popular theory early on, as it was believed that baldness was passed down on the x-chromosome. However, this wouldn’t explain the discrepancies between male and female pattern baldness. Instead, hereditary baldness is made up of genetic factors from both sides of your family. Some experts believe that genetic and hormonal factors play huge roles in hair loss, particularly as you age, but the specific cause is still somewhat of a mystery.
6. Styling Your Hair Often Causes Hair Loss
Daily styling of your hair has no bearing on significant hair loss. However, depending on the techniques and tools you use, it can cause hair damage. For example, chemicals used to dye the hair, and high-heat tools can damage the hair shaft, causing it to become more prone to breakage. This can cause a temporary thinning of the hair. However, using no-heat alternatives can prevent frying the hair. In addition, going longer between dying sessions, or integrating a moisturizing hair mask into your hair routine can help prevent prolonged chemical damage.
Another way styling can damage your hair is by over-pulling. High ponytails and braids can be the worst offenders of this. This can pull out hair follicles, similar to wearing too tight of a hat, and also cause headaches. If you start to feel an uncomfortable pull or experience migraines while your hair is in an up-do, that’s a good sign that your hair is pulled too tight.
7. Shaving Your Head Will Make Your Hair Grow Back Thicker
This is untrue for both head hair and body hair. Shaving does not affect the rate, color, or thickness of your hair growth. Other hair-removal methods, like waxing or tweezing, can affect the rate at which your hair grows. These methods pull the hair from its follicle under the skin, thus causing it to take longer for the hair to grow. Shaving, on the other hand, only removes hair on the surface of the skin, leaving the follicle intact.
Hair loss is a common problem that affects millions. You can treat your hair loss, or you can embrace it, whichever makes you the most comfortable. No matter your age, circumstance, or level of hair loss, there are resources available to you to help you pursue the hair you want.