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Hair Loss Myths | Causes of hair loss | Cures for hair loss
Myths About Hair Loss
Causes of most forms of hair loss are known, understood and almost always treatable today. Science has given us understanding of a condition that was a mystery for most of human history (Click on About Your Hair Loss).
Unproven and untrue myths about the causes of hair loss persist, however. Belief in a hair loss myth can have negative consequences if it delays treatments and cures for hair loss that have proven effectiveness in slowing or reversing hair loss.
Here are some of the more persistent myths about hair loss:
MYTH: Wearing a hat or cap causes hair loss. The rationale for this myth is that wearing a tightly-fitting hat or cap restricts blood supply to the scalp and starves hair follicles of a blood supply. That can seem to be a reasonable explanation if you don’t know the real causes of hair loss. In fact, this myth was accepted as a reasonable by some physicians before the real causes of hair loss were known.
MYTH: Vitamin deficiency causes hair loss. This myth is a favorite of scam artists—quacks who advertise sure cures for hair loss. Severe deficiency of some vitamins can be a cause of hair loss when it is associated with a debilitating disease or starvation. Most people never encounter such extreme conditions. Many hair loss scams claim to treat hair loss with a vitamin product that actually does nothing to slow or reverse hair loss. Most people who buy and use these products are not vitamin deficient. Vitamin deficiency is never a cause of hair loss in people who are not severely ill or starved.
MYTH: If you are a male whose father went bald, you will also experience balding hair loss as you age. (Or, conversely, if your father never went bald, you will never go bald). These are myths in the category of folk tale—not necessarily wholly untrue, but based on faulty information. Genes that influence hair loss are not all inherited directly from father to son. These genes are inherited from both parents, and the inheritance patterns are often not simple to understand. Only when genetics became a science were the inheritance patterns of hair loss fully understood.
MYTH: Brushing your hair too often or for too long a time can cause hair loss. No, brushing does not cause hair loss, no matter how frequently or for how long hair is brushed. However, hair brushing that is done violently or with a brush with sharp-pointed bristles may injure the scalp—and this may result in hair loss.
MYTH: The myth that frequent hair washing can cause permanent hair loss may be based on the observation of hair strands in the sink after washing. However, washing does not remove healthy, growing hair. Hair that has reached its resting phase cycle and is ready to be shed is the hair that you see in the sink after hair washing.
MYTH: The reverse of a hair-loss myth is the myth that frequent cutting or shaving stimulates hair growth. It’s not true, and it’s hard to understand the rationale that keeps this myth alive. But, alive it is, and apparently widely believed.
MYTH: thinking too much causes hair loss. Supposedly the brain becomes overheated when it is taxed by excessive use, overheating the head and causing hair to fall out. If this was true, then famed physicist Albert Einstein should have been bald instead of having the most famously flowing locks of all time.
MYTH: Only men go bald, women do not. While it is true that mild to near-total male-pattern hair loss occurs only in men, women can also lose hair in a female pattern of androgenetic alopecia (Click on Female Hair Loss & Pattern Baldness). Female pattern hair loss in healthy women is almost never near-total as male-pattern hair loss can be in men. Thus, the myth that “only men go bald” has some degree of truth if “going bald” means near-total male-pattern hair loss.