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Myth or Fact? The Truth About Hair Loss and Treatment

Has anyone ever told you wearing a hat all the time leads to baldness, or do you think if there’s no sign of hair loss on your mother’s side you’ll be safe? Hair loss is a condition that can cause a lot of sleepless nights and with so many myths surrounding the issue it can be hard to get a straight answer to these old wives’ tales and get to the bottom of what can be done to prevent and treat the loss of hair.

Here to debunk the myths and lay down the facts are Dr. Elena Dimitrova and trichologist Leonora Doclis, both experts in hair and scalp care.


Bald old man

True or false?
Hair loss is an old man’s ailment

False
There are many different types of hair loss and none of them are limited to the elderly or men in general. Alopecia areata, traction alopecia, trichotillomania, pseudopelade, and diffuse hair loss are just some forms of hair loss that are seen frequently in women and sometimes children. Yet the most common form of hair loss is male and female attern baldness which can affect up to 80 percent of men and roughly 40 percent of women.

“All the hair loss sufferers I see think they’re too young for this to be happening to them,” Leonora said. “However, male and female pattern baldness are progressive conditions and can begin as early as puberty.” Still, baldness is not imminent if treatment for the condition is taken early enough.

 


True or false?
Hair loss is inherited from the mother’s side of the family

False
Hairloss, in the majority of cases, is a hereditary condition in which the gene can be carried on both sides of the family.

“In 1946 an expert claimed premature baldness, before the age of 40, may be linked to the mother’s side,” trichologist Leonora Doclis said, “but this was disputed shortly after. There was no research to support the dispute, it was merely a suggestion.”

It wasn’t until recently that two genetic variants were identified that can be inherited through either parent. If these two variants are present, along with the gene which has always been recognised from the mother’s side, the risk of baldness, in men at least, increases sevenfold.

“Male and female pattern hair loss is polygenic,” Leonora said. “The tendency can come from either side of the family and can even skip generations. If your father is bald it does not necessarily mean you will go bald but your chances are significantly higher.”


True or false?
Does blow-drying cause hair loss?Excessive washing and blow drying causes hair loss

False

Regular hair care and maintenance such as washing, combing, dyeing and blow-drying will not result in hair loss. It is good hygiene to wash hair frequently and whilst dyeing and blow-drying can damage the hair itself by pulling on it and burning, it will not cause hair to stop growing.

“High heat from blow-drying will result in dry and brittle hair but not hair loss,” Dr. Dimitrova said. “Using heat protecting serums will prevent this.”

If you’re worried about the amount of hair you see in the sink or your comb after washing or combing, take heed in the fact that shedding about 100 hairs a day is normal. If you think it could be more, take the DIY hair loss test.


Balding man

True or false?
Stress causes hair loss

True
Diffuse thinning and telogen effluvium are forms of hair loss which are directly caused by stress. These conditions are characterised by an overall thinning of the hair on the scalp when certain hair follicles prematurely stop growing and enter into the telogen (resting) phase before falling out after about three months.

“There are many things that can cause hair loss,” Dr. Dimitrova said, “such as thyroid problems, polycystic ovarian syndrome, severe illness, fever and medication.” Acne treatment such as Roaccutane, Omeprazole (used to treat dyspepsia, stomach ulcers and reflux) and most anti-cancer medications can all cause hair loss.

In cases of male and female pattern baldness (the most common form of hair loss), stress will not cause hair loss. It is a condition where its sufferers carry the gene which will eventually cause them to lose hair but there are a number of factor which may trigger its onset. Stress could be one of these. Other triggering factors could include hormones (which is why hair loss can sometimes occur as early as puberty or as late as post-menopause), physical trauma, infection and even smoking and other chemicals.


True or false?
Wearing tight braids, ponytails or buns causes hair loss

True
Traction alopecia is a hair loss condition that is caused by excessive amounts of tension on the hair shafts which can damage the hair follicle. Over long periods of time under these circumstances, Traction Alopecia will cause the production of hair to slow down and finally stop growing all together. Early treatment for this condition is vital if natural regrowth is to occur.

“All hair loss problems have to be treated at the right time, that is, early,” Dr. Dimitrova said.


Do hats cause hair loss?

True or false?
Hats and caps cause hair loss

False
Though wearing a tight fitting cap or hat can interfere with blood circulation to the hair follicles, there is no scientific proof that they are capable of causing hair loss.

“This myth comes from the pattern of hair loss which is most likely to be seen on the crown,” Leonora said. “I’ve also heard myths about water and high pressure when washing your hair but of course these are not true causes for hair loss.”


Tried and true hair loss treatments

With literally hundreds of hair loss products on the market today, the truth of their claims can be as difficult to verify as the myths stated above. Mousse, gels and shampoos all promising to help hair grow thicker, supplements and all other types of potions claiming to be the miracle cure and increase hair growth are all simply scams with no scientific evidence. These potentially unsafe remedies are targeted at people who are desperately seeking a true solution.

The fact is there are only two FDA approved treatments and one FDA cleared device for hair loss which are medically and scientifically proven to stop hair loss and promote regrowth. It’s time to stop worrying about hair loss and sifting through the shelves for a cure when we already have one – or technically three. More information on HAIR LOSS TREATMENTS.

Did you know..?

British men in th 17th century were told to slap on some chicken dung to keep from going bald! Thank goodness we’ve come a long way since then.

(Images courtesy of J Wynia, malias and Steven Fernandez at flickr)


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1 Comment

25th April, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Hugh

This is very attention-grabbing, You are an constantly competent writer.

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