There is a whole wealth of information available on the subject of hair loss, known by the medical term “alopecia”. Many articles discuss the treatments available and others discuss the symptoms and causes of hair loss. But how accurate are these articles?
For many men, having a full head of hair is a source of pride and confidence and in this article we discuss many of the common myths, misconceptions and “old wives” tales and dispel many of the most common untruths you may have been exposed to.
Myth 1 - Only men are susceptible to alopecia.
It is a common misconception that only men are susceptible to the loss of hair. Unfortunately for the female of the species it is actually an all too common problem too. The fact is that hair loss or balding does not discriminate between genders. The most common reason for female alopecia is a change in hormones, quite commonly after or during pregnancy. From a medical perspective, problems with the thyroid may also result in female hair loss though equally it could be something as simple as the stress of day to day life causing the loss of hair.
Myth 2 - Wearing a hat can make you go bald
This is another myth that has very little medical grounding. In order to cause hair loss, a hat would need to be so tight on the head that it actually cuts the body’s circulation to the hair follicles. You may get told that the sweat produced, coupled with the heat of wearing a hat can cause you to lose your hair, or that wearing a cap loosens you hair from the follicles.
To dispel this myth you need to look at the facts. You hair actually gets its oxygen from the follicles and wearing a cap will not prevent the flow of oxygen through the body. Equally sweat in the hair is just as common if you are not wearing a hat and as such these myths are very much unfounded.
Myth 3 - Brushing your hair rather than combing can cause hair loss
Although your hair actually responds better to a comb than a brush, the brushing of hair will usually only cause you to get split ends and possibly some breakage in the hair itself. It will not lead to alopecia or baldness.
Myth 4 - Spending too much time in the sun can lead to loss of hair
OK from a scientific / medical point of view, we are all aware that spending too much time in the sun will damage your hair. By spending too much time in the sun you can leave your hair susceptible to damage, the hair can become dull and brittle, this is not however cause of baldness and can easily be treated with a trip to the barber shop for a trim.
Myth 5 - Balding is more prevalent in the old
Though it appears to be more obvious in the older generation, hair loss usually begins to effect sufferers in their late teens until their early thirties. Ask any older bald guy when his symptoms started and he will most likely tell you it was during those periods.
Myth 6 - The usage of hair styling products can cause hair loss
It is often thought that the use of these products can lead to or accelerate the effects of alopecia. However providing that the hair is well maintained and looked after, with regular (not over regular) washing and conditioning, then these products will not cause any hair loss. More often than not the problem lies with the use of hair straightening tools and hair curlers. The over use of such hair styling tools can leave the hair damaged and the user potentially susceptible to hair loss in the long term.
Myth 7 - Getting your hair cut can make it grow back thicker and slow down balding
This is in fact a very common misconception. It comes from the fact that your hair is actually thicker at the base, closer to your scalp, than it is at the tip. So when you get that trim, it always appears thicker at the top than it did prior to the cut as you have trimmed off the thin ends from the tip. By cutting your hair you are not going to affect or promote the growth or regeneration of hair.
Myth 8 - The loss of hair is caused by a lack of testosterone
It is often quoted that the higher the levels of testosterone in the body are, the more susceptible you are to the loss of hair. Though it does have some scientific backing, particularly when it comes to the subject of female alopecia, it is actually DHT (dihydrotestosterone) that causes the hair follicles to thing and eventually disappear.
Myth 9 - Increasing the intake of carbohydrates can result in balding
This has no medical founding what so ever. The body is capable of processing high levels of carbohydrates with out any medical issue. In fact carbohydrates actually provide the body with the essential nutrients required for healthy hair.
Myth 10 - Hair loss is inherited from your mother’s side of the family
Although it has been proven that hair loss can be hereditary, there really is no reason to go and shout at your mother about it. Unfortunately if hair balding is in your family genes, then it could have come from either your mother or fathers side of the family.
From a scientific perspective, your mother does in fact carry the most dominating genes often associated with the loss of hair, unfortunately if your farther is balding or his farther was balding then there is a good chance that you will potentially follow suit.
Myth 11 - Stress causes hair loss
Ok, I admit that it sounds like I am contradicting myself slightly here. As mentioned earlier, stress can cause hair loss, but this really is only true to a point. Stress actually only speeds up the loss of hair on the body, so if you are already balding or losing hair, then it is suggested that you stay as stress and worry free as possible to prevent accelerated hair loss.
We have now hopefully dispelled some of the myths and mysteries associated with hair loss. It is important to remember that if you do suffer the symptoms of hair loss, the important thing is not to panic or get stressed, not only may speed up the loss of hair but treatments are readily available to slow down the loss of hair or in fact encourage regrowth.