From standing on your head to avoiding hats to blaming your mother, there are all kinds of false ideas out there about hair loss. Here are five of the most common myths about hair loss and the truth behind them:
1. Wearing hats causes hair loss
The logic behind this myth is that hats prevent the scalp from getting the oxygen it requires or that hats can strain the hair follicles. The truth is that hair follicles don’t need to be exposed to the air to get oxygen, they actually receive it directly from the bloodstream. However, dirty hats can cause scalp infection or hats that fit too tightly may cause thinning along the areas of the head where there is constant pressure. Be sure your hats are clean and fit comfortably on the head.
2. Genes for hair loss come from the mother’s side
While genetics do play a role in hair loss, the maternal side is not entirely to blame. Though the primary gene responsible for male hair loss resides on the X chromosome, which men receive from their mothers, hereditary hair loss is influenced by many other factors and hair loss genes can actually come from either parent. Research now suggests that men experiencing male pattern hair loss, a common type of hair loss that is hereditary, are more likely to follow in the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers, and women with female pattern hair loss tend to align with their mothers and grandmothers.
3. Frequent shampooing and brushing causes hair to fall out
Although shampooing too often or harsh and frequent brushing can strip hair of important natural oils and lead to breakage, these lifestyle habits do not cause hair loss. Hereditary hair loss, one of the most common types in both men and women, is not the result of hair damage, but of hormone interactions that cause hair follicles to grow shorter and shorter and eventually disappear. Even though shampooing, brushing and other styles and styling products such as hairspray and gel do not cause hair loss, harsh treatment can damage existing hair.
4. Decreased blood flow to the scalp causes hair loss
This myth comes out of the truth that growing hair does require increased blood flow. When hair begins to thin and fall out, blood to the scalp will decrease because it is not needed. This same logic has led many to believe that brushing, scalp massage and even standing on your head will increase hair growth. However, changes in blood flow are an effect of hair loss, not the cause of it. Blood circulation is not related to hair loss and hair loss occurs before the blood flow decreases.
5. Frequent haircuts can help prevent hair loss
Although hair can feel thicker after a haircut, frequent cuts or shaving will not prevent hair loss. While some experience faster hair growth than others, the cause of the most common forms of male and female hair loss is hormonal, something external actions like haircuts will not impact.