Pinpointing the actual cause of hair loss can be difficult, because it could be a mix of environmental, hormonal and genetic factors. Androgenetic alopecia is a typical type of hair loss that affects men and women. It is also called pattern baldness. According to estimation, as much as 95 percent of men suffer from any kind of hair loss. Hair loss is usually associated with men, but about 40 percent of women in the US also suffer from the same condition. Normal people lose less than 100 hair follicles each day; which are only a small fraction of 100,000 follicles on our scalp. On people with severe hair loss cases, rate of loss could be doubled or tripled. Here are myths of baldness that we may need to debunk:
1. Hats cause hair loss
We won’t experience hair loss unless we wear very tight hat that cuts the blood circulation on our scalp. People often associate hat with traction alopecia; severe hair loss caused by constant tension and pulling. Hats won’t result in significant traction. However, buns, braids and other tight hairstyles could cause gradual recession of hairline. African Americans are especially vulnerable to traction alopecia, so they should avoid braiding their hair tightly. Pattern baldness is typically caused by naturally-occurring hormone; instead of hats. Another thing to consider is that unwashed hats may hold some dirt and sweat, which could result in infection on the scalp. This is a rare occurrence, but still causes hair loss.
2. Only our mother’s side passes down hair loss
Genetics play a huge factor in hair loss and we could still share trait of baldness from our father’s side. Previous studies say that the X chromosome from our mother may carry the hair loss gene, but most recent studies show that it could also be found on the Y chromosome. Apparently, hair loss is affected by multiple genetic factors and not just the one we get from the X chromosome. As we often see, men who have bald fathers are more likely to suffer from pattern baldness themselves.
3. Baldness is not reversible
In essence, not all baldness cases are permanent. Hormonal changes are typically the primary culprit of hair loss. DHT (dyhydrotestosterone) is a derivative of testosterone and it’s believed to be the hormone that’s responsible for hair loss. When testosterone is converted to DHT, the effect on hair follicles can be quite devastating. Rogaine and Propecia are common treatments for DHT-related hair loss. It allows people to prevent and even reverse hair loss.
4. Hair loss only happens to older people
It’s true that older people tend to have thinner hair, but hair loss could happen immediately after puberty. In fact, there are also cases of child’s hair loss. Pattern baldness on men may affect teens or young adults at their early 20’s. Unfortunately for them, it is harder to treat hair loss that begins on younger age.
5. Stress could cause hair loss
Determining whether hair loss is caused by stress can be quite difficult. However, studies show that emotional and physical trauma, such as death in the family, serious medical conditions and weight gain may result in severe hair loss. It’s believed that stress doesn’t actually cause hair loss, it just speeds up the progression of the condition due to other underlying factors, like genetic predisposition and hormonal imbalance. Stress depletes Vitamin B12 level in our body which is essential to deliver nutrients, oxygen and blood to our tissue, including scalp. Stress could be caused by various factors, such as financial difficulty, challenging job and problems with relationship. Stress already affects our body if it changes our behavior as well, such as change in appetite and problems with sleep.