Hair loss concerns can cause a lot of stress, fear, and anxiety. The worry of increased hair fall leading to permanent hair loss is a common one for both males and females, and for good reason when we consider some of the statistics. According to the American Hair Loss Association’s estimates, by the age of 50, 85% of males and 40% of females will experience significant hair loss or thinning. While many of these cases are genetic, there are certainly other factors that can raise your risk of hair loss. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of myths surrounding the facts that may be causing you anxiety without need. Today, we’re setting the record straight on some of the top myths surrounding hair loss as well as how you might be able to achieve a fuller, healthier-looking hairline.
This is mostly a myth. In the large majority of cases, stress may cause increased short-term hair loss or thinning but often goes unnoticed. This is because you have thousands of more hairs on your head than usually accounted for and it’s natural to lose 50-100 strands of hair each day. Having said that, in very extreme cases, stress may cause telogen effluvium, which pushes hair follicles into their resting phase that will subside once the stressful event passes, or alopecia areata, which is a type of autoimmune response that attacks hair follicles resulting in non-scarring hair loss with a lifetime incidence rate of just 2.1% in those who experience this condition. In other words, a lot of things lead to stress but permanent hair loss shouldn’t be one of them.
It’s true that genetics are the primary cause of hair loss, but mom’s genes aren’t the only ones to blame. While the primary baldness gene is located in the X chromosome, which we inherit from our mothers, this may make the hereditary factor on her side more dominant, but you also inherit half of your father’s DNA. Further research suggests that if your father exhibits signs of male pattern baldness, your risk for developing it increases. In other words, your mother’s genes may set the scene but your father’s genes certainly play a role in determining your likelihood for experiencing genetic hair loss for both males and females.
While tension and friction applied to hair roots can lead to hair loss due to brittleness and breakage, hats are rarely the cause of hair loss. Healthy hair follicles source oxygen from the blood vessels under the skin to grow. For your hat to have an influence on hair growth, it would need to be so tight that it prevents blood flow to the scalp, which would likely cause enough discomfort that you’d remove it before any real damage was done or you wouldn’t even wear it in the first place. If you’re comfortable when wearing a cap, it’s more than likely that your hair is fine with it, too.
The link between testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone most often linked to thinning hair and male pattern baldness, is certainly a fact but the presence of increased testosterone in those experiencing hair loss is a little more complex than that. DHT itself is not the cause of hair loss. Instead, hair loss occurs in those whose hair follicles are sensitive to DHT, which is determined by genetics. So, while there may seem to be a correlation between testosterone and baldness, it is far from being a cause of hair loss. In fact, even those with relatively low levels of testosterone but whose hair follicles are highly sensitive to DHT may experience baldness. (Some good news for those with higher testosterone levels, though, is that the hormone may help delay common signs of aging.)
Hair loss as a result of birth control pills containing progesterone—a hormone that commonly acts like an androgen (male) hormone—used to be a concern. However, more modern versions of this oral contraceptive have been developed as essentially anti-androgen versions to limit unwanted side effects like hair loss. Further still, the pill is unlikely to stimulate hair loss if your hair follicles do not have a genetic-based DHT sensitivity. If you are taking an older version of birth control and are worried they may be causing above-average hair loss, a quick conversation with your doctor regarding your specific concerns should easily clear up everything.
Heat styling, alcohol-based products, and extensive hair coloring may cause hair shafts to become brittle and prone to breakage, but this will not cause hair loss. Any treatment that is used too often can cause damage to the hair shaft, resulting in dehydration, split ends, and weak strands. Further, tight updos that cause tension at the hair root may lead to a receding hairline over time, but hair growth will return once tension is relieved and hair is cared for. Using protectants when heat styling, moisturizing the hair shaft and ends, and treating hair gently should encourage healthy hair growth.
While it’s a nice thought to think there may be such a simple solution to hair loss, shaving does not stimulate hair growth. Shaving simply removes damaged hair, so new hair may appear healthier if you treat it nicer. However, it does not affect the hair follicle or what is occurring beneath. Hair grows from the inside and is heavily impacted by genetics and hormones. Shaving can’t correct all of that.
Similar to the marketing tactics used to encourage the use of collagen supplements, those biotin supplements, featuring a combination of B vitamins known for assisting in the maintenance of healthy skin and hair, do dive below the skin surface, but they are unlikely to have any effect on hair loss. While the jury is still out on whether biotin supplements have a proven effect on hair strength and health, an increase in vitamin B will not halt hair loss in its tracks and it’s impossible to target a specific concern with supplements as your body determines on its own what to do with the nutrition you’ve consumed. Biotin has no proven effect on hormones or DHT sensitivity in hair follicles, let alone any altering effect on genetics. So, while biotin supplements may help maintain a healthy body that may result in healthier hair, hair loss is likely to continue.
Hair loss can occur at any age and it may also never occur for some. The American Hair Loss Association estimates that about 66% of American males experience hair loss by age 35 and that number increases to 85% by age 50. As hormone levels change, cell renewal declines, and the hair growth cycle slows down with age, hair thinning is generally inevitable but that doesn’t mean that everyone will experience hair loss.
Unfortunately, male and female pattern baldness is not preventable but there are ways to counteract hair loss, beginning with an effective hair restoration treatment. A trusted and innovative name in hair restoration technology, NeoGraft® hair restoration treatments work to restore the appearance of a fuller, healthier head of hair without the use of a scalpel, the risk of linear scarring, or the need for a lengthy downtime. Rather than using a scalpel, NeoGraft® utilizes an advanced automated handpiece that extracts individual terminal hair follicles and re-implants them in the areas of the scalp to naturally rebuild hair coverage for natural-looking results.
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