Hair loss is such a common condition that the numbers of affected people go into the millions – a fact that shouldn’t surprise anyone. This is why there are so many myths surrounding hair loss that have been passed down from generation to generation. Some (but definitely not all) of these myths have been successfully debunked by scientific research, while others continue to persist. The sheer abundance of such myths can make it difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.
The whole process is a complex issue that can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, hormonal changes, medications, medical conditions, and lifestyle factors. It can be a distressing experience, leading to decreased self-esteem and confidence – an aspect further exacerbated by a lack of grounded perspective and knowledge on the subject.
In today’s article, we will examine some of the most common myths about hair loss and whether they hold some level of validity or not.
Myth #1: Wearing hats too often causes hair loss.
To put it straightforwardly – no. Simply wearing a hat does not cause hair loss. In fact, hair loss is primarily driven by genetics and hormonal changes – processes that are far more complex than the simple constriction of a hat.
To further expand upon this, unless you’re wearing your hats ‘extremely’ tightly, you have nothing to worry about. But if we were to theoretically examine a scenario wherein someone really wears their hat ultra-tight, then the story might be a little different. A hat that is too tight (to the point of applying pressure) can cause traction alopecia, which is a type of hair loss caused by pulling on the hair. This is usually reversible if the hair is given time to recover. Emphasis on ‘usually’…
Myth #2: Stress causes hair loss.
Stress is a huge problem for all sorts of bodily processes, no doubt. And while it can cause temporary hair loss, it is not a direct cause of permanent hair loss – or, at least, that’s what the ongoing research tells us.
In a sense, this myth is only partially true. Stress-induced hair loss is called telogen effluvium, which occurs when stress (particularly from a traumatic event) causes hair follicles to enter the resting phase prematurely, resulting in hair shedding. Once the stressor is no longer present, the hair tends to grow back under normal circumstances.
Myth #3: Only men and/or the elderly experience hair loss.
These two myths are correlated. The idea is that hair loss is exclusive only to men – or alternatively, with regard to both genders, the elderly. Women also experience hair loss, although it may be less noticeable than in men, thanks to the fact that female pattern baldness is radically different when compared to balding in men.
We’ve mentioned it before, but it’s mainly due to hormonal changes (post-birth), rare medical conditions, and predispositions. The whole condition can leave a sense of shame or embarrassment for women who go through it, which is why it’s important to break the stigmas and stereotypes that are falsely caused by common myths.
Myth #4: Hair loss is caused by poor circulation.
Blood circulation and hair loss are often entangled together in common myths and old wives’ tales. Hair follicles receive nutrients from the blood vessels surrounding them, but there is no evidence to suggest that poor circulation directly causes hair loss.
Hair loss is, at the risk of repeating ourselves one too many times, primarily caused by genetic predispositions, hormonal imbalance, medications, and specific medical conditions. Moreover, during pregnancy or menopause, changes in hormone levels can cause hair to enter a resting phase, leading to increased shedding. Lest we forget to mention that conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can cause hormonal imbalances that lead to hair loss.
To sum up, hair loss is surrounded by numerous myths, but not all of them hold true. While certain factors like genetics and hormonal changes can lead to hair loss, the same cannot be said for all of them. For instance, notions such as wearing a hat or poor circulation simply do not have a direct impact on hair loss – not at face value, at the very least.
If you are experiencing hair loss, seeking advice from a medical professional is crucial to accurately identify the underlying cause and receive the most suitable treatment options.