6 Myths About Losing Your Hair
If you’re worried about going bald, you may believe just about anything you hear about hair loss. Thing is, a lot of it’s probably bogus.
By Zack Zeigler
All guys fear losing their hair. And because of that fear, they tend to do two things: spend a ton of money on hair loss prevention or regrowth methods — $1 billion per year, according to US News & World Report — and believe just about everything they hear about going bald. You see, when you’re scared, you’re more likely to believe off-the-wall theories. (“So I just plaster this highly-acidic cream on my scalp, do a headstand for six hours, and I’ll have all of my hair again? Sounds easy enough!”)
Thing is, a lot of what we think we know about androgenic alopecia (the fancy term for hair loss) turn out to be total myths. We’ve listed seven of the most popular things you’ve most likely heard — and probably believed — about going bald, but simply aren’t true.
MYTH # 1: Wearing Hats Causes Hair Loss
In order for a hat to make you bald, it’d have to literally cut off circulation to the hair follicles. Nobody could stand wearing a hat that tight. However, a case of folliculitis — an infection caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi infecting the hair follicle — can expedite hair loss for people who are already starting to thin out up top. Two ways to that: Wearing grimy hats and shaving your head with an old, nasty razor.
MYTH # 2: Hair Loss Is Directly Related To Testosterone Levels
Testosterone doesn’t cause hair loss, but when testosterone naturally converts to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), it can shrink hair follicles and cause a reaction that restricts blood flow to the capillaries for some people. If your hair follicles are sensitive DHT, the hair will fall out naturally, but won’t be replaced.
MYTH # 3: Gel, Mousse, And Other Hair Products Can Cause Hair Loss
There is no scientific data that links the use of hair products to going bald. That said, you shouldn’t glob on product until your hair is a crusty gel helmet. You won’t lose your hair if you do that, but you might lose all chances of getting laid.
MYTH # 4: Stress Causes Men To Go Bald
This isn’t entirely false, but it’s misleading. If you’re suffering from a physical or mental trauma — a messy divorce, terrible accident, chronic illness, even a bad fever — your body downgrades the importance of hair growth to focus on the more important issue. It’s called Telogen Effluvium, the excessive temporary loss of hair in the telogen (resting) phase, and it can last up to 12 weeks (longer if untreated) before your hair begins to regrow.
MYTH # 5: Frequent Haircuts Cause Hair To Grow Back Faster And Thicker
Nope. Your hair will grow about a half inch each month — regardless of how often your barber snips it. The same proves true for shaving your face: Your hair does not grow back thicker, darker, or coarser.
MYTH # 6: Your Mother Is Solely To Blame For Baldness
Mom may have lied to you about how you catch a cold, but you can’t pin your baldness on her. Either parent can be at fault. In fact, research has shown that if you have a bald father, your odds of developing male pattern baldness are higher than for those who had dads with a full head of hair.
MYTH # 7: Propecia and Rogaine Are A Waste of Money
False. Propecia is a prescription pill that blocks the hormones that shrink hair follicles; Rogaine works as a slowing agent for thinning hair. But there’s a big catch. Finasteride, the active ingredient in Propecia, can cause erectile dysfunction, low libido, and problems reaching climax … and new research from the George Washington University Medical Center says roughly 20 percent of men had side effects more than six years after they stopped taking finasteride. Side effects for Rogaine are minor — scalp irritation, itching, and dandruff. If you decide you want to quit using either product, your hair will revert to the way it was.