Hats and Hair Loss
Can wearing a hat really rub the hair follicles on your head so much that it causes your hair to fall out? Possibly, but there’s not much science to support the idea.
Hair loss can be caused by a combination of things such as:
- Hormonal changes
- Medical conditions
Much research has gone into understanding male pattern baldness, also called androgenic alopecia. But barely any of that research has looked at how wearing a hat might cause hair loss in men.
What the research says
In one study, scientists investigated how several different environmental factors affected hair loss in 92 pairs of identical twins. The scientists found that twins who wore a hat experienced less hair loss in the area above their forehead than twins who didn’t wear a hat.
Other factors associated with increased hair loss in that same area include:
- Increased exercise duration
- Drinking more than four alcoholic beverages per week
- More money spent on hair loss products
If you’re concerned about the connection between hair loss and wearing hats, wear loose-fitting hats rather than tighter hats.
What causes hair loss on the scalp?
According to the Mayo Clinic, both men and women usually lose about 100 hairs a day. This hair loss is healthy and natural. It doesn’t cause thinning or loss of hair at the scalp because new hairs are growing at the same time.
When the process of hair loss and growth is unbalanced, you may begin to lose hair.
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Hair loss can also happen when hair follicles are ruined and replaced by scar tissue, which could possibly happen if you’re wearing a very tight hat. But that’s unlikely.
Having a family history of hair loss is the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women. Genetic hair loss usually occurs slowly during adulthood.
Men tend to lose the hair above their foreheads or on a bald spot on top of their head first. Women tend to experience an overall thinning of their hair.
Like many of the body’s processes, hair growth and loss are controlled by changes in the body’s hormone levels. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and thyroid problems can all affect the levels of hormones in your body, and affect your hair growth and loss.
Ringworm, a fungal skin infection, can also cause hair to fall off the scalp. Diabetes, lupus, and significant weight loss can also lead to hair loss on the scalp.
Medications and supplements
Some people experience hair loss as a side effect of taking certain kinds of medications, including drugs for treating:
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
Radiation therapy to the head may also cause hair loss and result in thin hair growth when it does grow back.
High stress levels are associated with several hair loss conditions. One of the most common is called alopecia areata. This is an autoimmune condition triggered by stress. It causes patchy hair loss all over the scalp.
Some people pull out their own hair as a way of dealing with negative or uncomfortable feelings. This condition is called trichotillomania.
Experiencing a stressful event such as physical or emotional shock may result in a general thinning of hair after several months. Usually this kind of hair loss is temporary.
Hairstyles and hair treatments
Over treatment and over-styling of hair can also cause hair loss. Styles such as very tight pigtails or cornrows can cause traction alopecia, a kind of gradual hair loss caused by a continuous pulling force applied to the hair.
Hot oil hair treatments and permanents (perms) may harm the hair follicles on top of your head, causing them to become inflamed and the hair to fall out. If the hair follicles begin to scar, the hair might be lost permanently.