Hair loss tends to affect men in different ways. Some may not be so concerned about it, and choose to embrace the look by completely shaving their head. Others however, may understandably find the prospect of losing their hair alarming, and resort to checking their scalp or hairline each day for signs of further receding.
One of the lesser known characteristics of male pattern baldness is just how common it is. Up to one in three men will notice some signs of male pattern baldness (MPB) before they reach 30; and around half of men by the time they reach 50.
Despite the fact that it is so widespread, male hair loss is a phenomenon which is often misunderstood. For decades, theories have circulated as to why some men go bald and others don’t. And while some have been disproved by research and largely forgotten (such as the notion that standing on one’s head for a specific period each day will encourage hair growth), others have managed to stick.
Let’s take a look at some of the most pedalled modern myths when it comes to hair loss, and the reasons behind their falsehood:
Baldness is Inherited From the Mother’s Side of the Family
For years, young men anxious about losing their locks have turned to their family trees and surveyed the situation among men on their maternal side. Indeed, the consensus has often been that male pattern baldness is not inherited from the father’s side.
But this isn’t the case. Experts believe that the key chromosome in male hair loss is the X chromosome, which is of course inherited from the mother. Therefore baldness on the mother’s side might be considered a much more common indicator.
However, genes from the Y chromosome on father’s side can contribute towards hair loss too. So if someone’s father is bald but the men on their mother’s side are blessed with long-lasting luscious locks, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re destined to keep their hair.
Showering in Cold Water Can Slow Down Hair Loss
Let’s break this down:
- To grow and stay healthy, hair needs oxygen. It’s safe to say that most people are aware of that.
- And oxygen is transported around the body by the blood. This is true as well.
- Showering and washing your hair in cold water can improve circulation. Also true.
- Ergo, surely washing one’s hair in cold water aids hair growth? Unfortunately not.
This practice, ultimately, has no effect on progressive hair loss. There are hair experts who say that shampooing in cold water is useful in preventing breakages and sealing in nutrients. But it won’t alter the hormonal conversion in the body which is responsible for male pattern baldness.
Washing Your Hair Too Often Will Make You Go Bald
Hair in the shower plughole is a common sight, and naturally, this has led many men to believe that the more they wash their hair, the quicker their hair will fall out.
Once again, this isn’t the case. It’s common for men (even those who aren’t going bald) and women to lose roughly 100 hairs per day. This process of shedding isn’t caused by showering; it happens anyway. The act of washing one’s hair just expels that which would have eventually fallen from the head on its own.
On a related note, many have speculated in the past that hair loss can be accelerated or caused by using too much product. However, this is also untrue. It’s certainly the case that over washing your hair can remove essential oils and make the scalp dry, leading to dandruff. But it won’t make you go bald.
Wearing a Hat Will Make Your Hair Fall Out
It’s possible this myth could have its origins in the oxygenation notion; that hats deprive the hair of oxygen, making it more brittle and prone to falling out. Or it could even simply be that some men who are bald will often be seen wearing hats, and this has fuelled the rumour.
Wearing a hat all the time isn’t great for the condition of your hair, as it can trap dirt and grease. Oxygen deprivation isn’t a problem caused by wearing a hat however. Your hair sources what nutrients it needs from the roots.
Once again, male pattern baldness is due to the conversion of hormones in the body, and whether someone wears a hat or doesn’t has little bearing on this.
In fact, men who are losing their hair may even be better wearing a hat during warmer, sunnier weather, to protect themselves from UV-induced skin conditions.
Shaving Your Head Makes Hair Grow Back Twice as Strong
Sadly not. Many men may have marvelled at the robustness of their hair after freshly going over it with a set of clippers. But this is simply because hair is thicker and stronger at the base than it is at the tips.
Once again, getting one’s hair cut on a regular basis may improve its condition, so it’s not a hair maintenance technique to be discounted. However, it isn’t a lasting solution to MPB.
Dr Wayne Osborne is a registered medical professional. He works as the Head Doctor for online health resource Treated.com and writes for a multitude of digital medical and lifestyle publications.