Common Hair Loss Myths

Learn About Common Hair Loss Myths Such as Balding & More

Myth: You inherit hair loss genes from your mother.

So the first thing to know is that your mother isn’t always to blame. Many people believe that you inherit your hair loss traits from your mother’s side and that nothing else has anything to do with the matter. It’s true that the main baldness genes come from the mother’s X chromosome but there are also other things your body considers aside from this. Research shows that 81.5% of bald men have bald fathers, which just tells us that the father, not just the mother, affects someone’s baldness. This made experts rethink their previous theory about which of the parents should be blamed for the ‘baldness’ gene. To investigate the matter, scientists used methods of genetic engineering to try and isolate the different variables that may come into play. They found that baldness depends on both parents, your hormone levels, medications, stress, drugs, age, medical conditions and nutritional intake.

Myth: Only old people go bald.

50% of men who are over 50 years old go bald. However, baldness doesn’t always equate to being old. Two thirds of American men start balding by the time they reach 35 and so by the time they reach 50, 85% of men are affected. As a result, it you’re in your 20’s and you notice your thinning, don’t despair. There are many other men in the same situation as you! The most common age for men to start balding is between the ages of 25 and 35. Men who start balding often notice an “M”-shaped hairline and this is more commonly called as “receding hairline”. Hair continues to fall until the full crown part is lost and the left hair on the head’s side and back already resembles a horseshoe.

In contrast, many women start balding after menopause, although it is not uncommon for women as early as their teens to experience a slight degree of hair loss. Out of 100 women, 13 females report experiencing hair loss before menopause and after menopause, 85% of women experience hair loss, especially around the area of the crown.

Many women who stop taking birth control pills or who are pregnant also suffer from hair loss. This is because of the change in hormones which can put things off-balance. Unfortunately, brushing your hair a hundred times a day won’t help that hair grow back!

Myth: Hats and wigs make you bald.

If you love wearing wigs and hats but you’re worried that these might make you bald, you should stop worrying now, because it’s entirely false. In the old days, people believed that wigs and hats can cause hair loss as they prevent sunlight and vitamin D from getting to your hair follicles which is an important factor in hair growth. Despite the fact that sunlight gives you a thicker and healthier hair, the lack of it won’t cause your hair to fall out. The belief that a hat’s friction on your hair will make you bald is also bogus. The friction present when wearing hat isn’t too strong to be unbearable as you wouldn’t wear a hat if it was! As a result, if anything was to affect the hair, it would be braiding and the tying of your hair into a tight bun as the repetitive pull can weaken your strands. People who suffer from an irritated scalp and weak hair follicles have Traction alopecia. However, there is no scientific basis to the idea that hats deprive your hair follicles of oxygen, making your hair unhealthy.

If you live in a hot and humid country though, things are different for you. Hats can be a bad idea if you are wearing them 24/7 in hot weather. This is because your scalp secretes a waxy substance called sebum and oil that can clog up your pores when they harden. Hair breeds bacteria and then falls out when there’s not enough oxygen circulation to the hair follicles. Keep in mind however that this is a rare case and even sport stars who wear caps on a daily basis hardly ever go bald because of it.

Myth: Sexually active men become bald sooner than the rest.

Many say that men with high testosterone levels and a high sexual libido start balding when they’re young. People started believing that the more a man ejaculated, the more hair he would lose. James Hamilton propagated this idea after studying 21 castrated boys. After noting that none of these boys went bald even by the age of 40, he hypothesized that it was because they had low testosterone levels as a result of their castration. To prove this, he studied men of the same age and found that they had receding hairlines which continued to worsen as they got older. However, years on, scientists have shunned Hamilton’s theory stating that the testosterone levels, sexual libido and frequency of ejaculation have little to no impact on the rate of hair loss for men.

Myth: 100 strokes a day of hair brushing makes hair healthier.

We all have at least one friend who tells us that brushing our hair at least a hundred times a day will make it shinier longer, and healthier . Whether this theory originated from the book Rapunzel, no one knows. All we know is it's just a fantasy and like many Disney movies, we shouldn’t believe everything we see.

Christopher Mackin, a professional trichologist living in New York, said that too frequent hair brushing is bad for your hair due to the creation of friction that destroys the hair cuticles, thereby breaking the hair stands and making the rest of the hair overly frizzy.

To avoid this, brush your hair only when needed and with just a few gentle strokes, the hair shaft can get it’s fair share of natural oils, stimulate blood flow, and remove impurities. Using the right kind of hair brush and forgetting about the bristle ones can also enhance your brushing experience. Who would want to brush their hair with a brush that is too hard on the scalp? No one does. And don't forget, you don't need to brush your hair a hundred times a day. That’s extreme.

Myth: Shampooing everyday results to hair fall.

You’ve probably been told that shampooing everyday will result to in hair loss. Don’t believe this; it’s completely false. Shampooing does not affect hair loss so clean hair does not always equate to no hair. You might ask “what about those hair strands in the shower plug”? Those are completely normal. As mentioned, everyone’s hair falls out occasionally. These hairs are those that are already in your hair’s resting phase and will not grow anymore and are ready to fall out from your hair follicles. If you find yourself in a situation where your hair falls out too much, do not blame shampoo. Blame poor diet, health, stress, or any other factors that definitely have a correlation to hair loss. Shampoo isn’t one of these. Using shampoo for your hair actually removes oil, dirt, and dead skin cells, thereby cleaning it. Just like everything else, don’t overdo it. You don’t want to remove all your hair’s natural oil, making it too dry. Everything in moderation.

Myth: Showering with cold water stops baldness.

Some people say that showering with cold water improves blood circulation, and thus preventing baldness. We admire the hopefulness and positivity, but such a belief is actually a myth. It is true that cold water helps blood circulation, that it makes you feel better during summer, that it can de-stress you or wake you up when its early in the morning, but sadly, it doesn’t and won’t make your hair grow back. Despite the fact that some stylists tell you rinsing with cold water enhances your blood circulation, seals cuticles and makes your hair shinier, it won’t actually help the growth of new hair.

Myth: Having hair fall everyday is a signal that you’re balding.

If you have noticed that you are losing hair every day, don’t be alarmed. This is completely normal and it isn’t a signal that you’re balding.

The standard number of hair follicles is around 100,000—blondes having 140,000, redheads 90,000, and brunettes 110,000. It’s normal to lose 100 strands per day. If you notice some of your hairs fall out after brushing don’t freak out. You only need to seek help from an expert if you notice that your hair is falling out in clumps, thinning or you already have noticeable bald spots on your head. Without any of these, your hair is fine. You don’t also have to compare the number of your hair strands that fall to a friend’s. There will be difference and that’s fine. That just goes to show that no two hairs are the same. People with denser hair have shorter anagen cycles, the hair follicle’s active growth phase. 150 hair strands may be normal for someone to shed per day in this phase but for others, this may seem incredibly high. If you’re in doubt, ask for a trichologist’s help, they can give you a sense of what is ‘normal’ for your case. And don’t worry about the hairs you lose, if you’re young and healthy, they often grow back.

Myth: Hair cutting prevents hair loss.

A hair cut may improve your looks, but it will never be a way of fighting hair loss. The idea that a haircut can prevent hair loss is completely false. Aside from making your hair shorter and removing split ends, a haircut does nothing to your hair. Normally, hair grows one inch on a monthly basis and your haircut’s frequency doesn’t affect this. Your hair grows based on your hair follicles and not based on how a stylist cuts your hair. Some say that like shaving, having a haircut regularly will make your hair grow back faster, but this is wrong. Your hair roots don’t know if someone cuts it or not so how can it grow longer just because you regularly trim it? Hair is made of keratin and protein and these two components aren’t affected by having a haircut. If you start to lose too much hair, instead of visiting the salon, try visiting a trichologist who can really help you. This doesn’t mean that you should stop having a haircut altogether. Hair trimming can still enhance your overall appearance and remove split ends, thus making it look healthier and less damaged.

Myth: Being under the sun too often makes you bald.

It’s not true that prolonged exposure to sun can make you lose too much hair, but you should still protect your head from the sun as much as you can due to the risk of UV damage. Wearing a scarf or hat can prevent your hair from becoming brittle due to too much exposure to UV rays, which remove the protein bonds found in hair strands and destroys the protein amino acids. This makes your hair break easier, giving it split ends. If you also want to keep your hair colour, don’t expose your hair to too much sunlight. It can cause your hair colour to change, making it lighter or what they call “bleached”. But above all, sun can burn the scalp, which isn’t just painful but also dangerous. So if you’re planning to be outside for a long time, a hat is definitely recommended.