For those in the field of the hair loss sciences, we are constantly confronted by bizarre beliefs and persistent myths on the cause and nature of hair loss and male pattern baldness, that have no basis in truth.
From notions that male pattern baldness loss is passed on from the mother’s side of the family, to beliefs that frequent ejaculation will make you go bald, or that cutting your hair short will strengthen your hair, there are many myths that have a special place in the hearts and minds of many in our society, but are simply untrue.
So in the interests of spreading some truth on the genesis of hair loss, we attempt to debunk the top 10 myths about hair-loss and balding.
1. Some hairstyles themselves do not cause hair loss: False
Surprisingly, there are certain hairstyles which can in fact cause hair loss, and permanent hair loss at that.
Some extreme hairstyles that place constant pressure on the hair follicles can cause problems with hair loss in women (and men).
Hairstyles with cornrows and ponytails can put excessive pressure on your hair and cause a permanent hair loss condition known as traction alopecia.
2. Washing your hair every day makes it fall out: False
Washing your hair regularly won’t make it fall out; those hairs at the bottom of the shower are already released hair strands that your shampoo has simply removed. A dirty head of hair may make for better bed head hairstyles, but it’s certainly not extending the life span of your follicles nor preventing baldness.
3. Blow-drying makes your hair fall out: False
While it can damage, burn or dry your hair, blow-drying isn’t the root problem of hair loss. Hair that has been damaged by blow-drying may fall out, but unless you’re suffering from male pattern baldness, it will grow back almost immediately. The same applies to straightening your hair.
4. Cutting your hair short will make it grow back thicker: False
While frequent haircuts do not prevent male pattern baldness, hair does feel and look thicker after a haircut because your hair is naturally thicker at the base.
5. If your maternal grandfather is bald, you’ll go bald: False
The old myth that you inherit baldness from your mother’s side of the family is a total myth. The hair loss gene is hereditary but comes from either your maternal or paternal side. So you can stop blaming your mum and start putting some of the guilt for creating a bald son onto your dad.
6. Frequent ejaculation causes baldness: False
The old saying, ‘If you keep playing with that you’ll grow hair on your palms’ isn’t the only fable relating to sex and hair. No matter what old wives say, you can rest easy that there’s absolutely no truth in the rumour that frequent ejaculation can cause hair loss.
7. Wearing hats causes hair loss: False
Unless you’re wearing a swimming hat on a daily basis or a hat that’s tight enough to put excessive tension on your hair, wearing hats shouldn’t be pulling your hair out even if you’re wearing one 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
8. Losing 100 strands of hair a day is normal: False
Most of us have between 100,000 and 150,000 hair follicles in our scalp, 90% of which are, if you’re lucky, growing at any one time. The saying that we lose 100 of these hairs per day is a gross overestimate; it’s actually more like 20-50 a day. The upside is that those hairs you see in the bottom of the bath or shower every morning are totally normal.
9. Hair products cause hair loss: False
Despite what people may say, the amount of product you put on your hair doesn’t affect hair loss. Gel, wax, mousse, hairspray… you can plaster as much on as you like and be safe in the knowledge that it isn’t going to make your perfectly styled hair fall out.
10. Stress causes hair loss: True (but)
Stress can cause hair loss, but this hair loss is temporary. Stressful events such as illness and money worries can cause hair production to stop temporarily, but stress is not the cause of male pattern baldness.
If you suffer from male pattern baldness, this in itself can also cause stress, but removing the stress will unfortunately not stop the hair loss.