It’s estimated that over 80 million Americans struggle with hair loss, so you can see why there are so many rumors out there about what causes it. That’s why, in honor of National Hair Loss Awareness Month, we’ve compiled some of the biggest myths surrounding hair loss and uncovered the truth behind them. Have you heard any of these?
Myth: The mother passes down the baldness gene to her child.
Truth: “Like many other traits, the inherited form of thinning hair is passed down by both sides of the family, like pieces of a puzzle, that fit together and form the gene,” says Beverly Hills, CA, hair restoration surgeon Dr. Craig L. Ziering. “How that puzzle assembles will dictate if your hair will stay or go.”
Myth: Only men suffer from hair loss.
Truth: Women are also at risk for female patterned hair loss, typically called androgenetic alopecia. It most common begins in a woman’s 50s, but can also start as early as the teens. “Female pattern hair loss is a hereditary condition that affects approximately 30 million women,” says women’s hair restoration specialist Lucinda Ellery. “When a hair is shed, it typically grows back by a hair that is equal in size. However, for women with female pattern hair loss the new hair is finer and eventually quits growing altogether.”
Myth: Washing your hair too much will cause thinning.
Truth: It’s typical to shed about 100 hairs per day—new ones will replace these hairs during the growth cycle. However, if you notice more hairs come out, it’s most likely caused by something like Alopecia, stress or genetics—not your shampoo. See your board-certified dermatologist for advice to find out the real cause, but don’t cut back on washing your hair. “If you cut back on shampooing it may cause buildup on the scalp, resulting in even more hair in the drain the next time you shower,” says Ellery.
Myth: Pulling a gray hair out will make more grow.
Truth: While this isn’t true, you should avoid doing it. “As a hair loss specialist, I advocate keeping as many hairs intact as possible, gray or not,” says Dr. Ziering. “Accept it or color it, but don’t pluck it.”
Myth: Wearing a hat can cause hair loss.
Truth: There’s no truth in this one either. In fact, wearing a hat is recommended to protect your often-neglected scalp from the sun. “Sun damage won’t necessarily cause hair loss unless there is a scar caused from a severe sunburn,” says Dr. Ziering.
If you’re dealing with fine and thinning hair, try an at-home system like Revivogen PRO ($22- $69). For those looking to treat hair loss, talk to your doctor about the best hair-loss treatments available for your specific symptoms.
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