With a history steeped in questionable remedies, deceptive snake oil and old wives’ tales, it’s no wonder there are so many myths about baldness. With such a minefield of misinformation, it can be tricky to know what advice to trust, so we set out to separate the fact from the fiction:
Hats harm your locks
You may have heard people say that regularly donning a cap will thin your hair. This alarming idea may stem from a condition called traction alopecia, which is a form of hair loss caused by external forces.
However, traction alopecia only occurs when the hair is extremely distressed, usually from being pulled very tightly into buns or weaves. To achieve the same level of stress with a hat, you’d probably need to vacuum pack it against your scalp! So, the next time you fancy dressing up your outfit with a headpiece, do so safe in the knowledge that it won’t hurt your hair.
If your dad’s dome has gone egg-shaped, yours will too
This is another ‘fact’ you may have been told, but the truth is that your destiny of your hair follicles is not determined by your dad.
A study has found that sensitivity to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), the male hormone that is responsible for male pattern baldness, can actually be inherited from either your mum or your dad. So, if your dad is looking a little thin on top, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll suffer the same fate.
Age = hair loss
When you think of a man with hair loss, it’s likely you’ll conjure up an image of an older man. This is because male pattern baldness takes place over many years, so the most extreme examples are found in the older gent.
Although the aging process does thin your hair eventually, there’s no correlation between getting old and androgenic alopecia, so you have every chance of looking like Dick Van Dyke in your old age!
Too much testosterone
Although baldness is often associated with masculinity, there may be a reason the incredible hulk has such a healthy head of hair – testosterone does not contribute to hair loss.
Male pattern baldness is actually dictated by how sensitive your hair follicles are to the aforementioned DHT, which is a by-product of testosterone production – hence the confusion. File this one under ‘fiction’!
It may seem unlikely, but it’s often reported that showering can cause your hair to fall out. There may be a very small amount of truth to this, as using very hot water can lead to inflammation and dryness, which in turn can affect the condition of your hair.
There’s no proven link between hot water and hair loss though, and washing your hair actually clears the dead skin cells and stimulates blood circulation, which helps the growth cycle. So don’t fear the shower, just make sure you’re not turning the heat too high!
It can’t be cured
This is perhaps the biggest misconception on this list – don’t be fooled! Although it’s true that you can’t regrow hairs that have completely disappeared, there are options out there that can restore thinning and receding hair to its former glory. Namely, finasteride and minoxidil, which are two treatments with medically proven results.
The key is to catch hair loss in its early stages, so you can stop it in its tracks!