Myths and Old Wives Tails

Myth 1: If You Lose Hair Every Day You’re Going Bald

Each and every one of us loses an average of 100 hairs per day. Losing hair on a daily basis is no reason to automatically conclude that you’re going bald or suffering from a hair loss condition. Losing hair is part of the normal hair growth cycle which occurs in three phases: Anagen (Growth Phase), Catagen (Transitional Phase) and Telogen (Resting Phase). The problem arises when you begin losing substantially more than this each day and less hair than usual is grown to replace it.

Balding Head

Depending on your personality and personal circumstances hair loss anxiety can be acute.  I recommend that you confirm whether your hair loss is ‘abnormal’ sooner rather than later by consulting a medical professional.  Better to know for sure, and do something about it, than obsess over something that may not be true.  Treatments are generally more effective the earlier you catch the hair loss and you obviously retain more of your hair.

For those who are shy, a less scientifc (and less recommended) method is to buy a shower drain strainer for your shower and basin.  Be aware that the results are indicative only and for many people will only confirm what they already suspect.  Clearly this method does not tell you why you are losing hair and a visit to a medical professional should still be on your to do list.

Myth 2: Men Who Are Bald Have High Levels of Testosterone

As you’ll have seen in the ‘Hair Loss Explained’ section of the site, hair loss is caused by a greater sensitivity of hair follicles in some parts of the scalp to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), rather than to increased levels of testosterone per se. DHT causes the hair follicles to shrink (miniaturise) and eventually disappear. If elevated levels of testosterone were the problem, then you should expect all of the hair on ones body to fall out.

Myth 3: Genes for Hair Loss Come Only From the Mother’s Side of the Family

As with any genetic trait, pattern baldness can be inherited from both your mother and father’s side of the family. Even so, just because you have the gene doesn’t mean you will go bald, though your chances are greatly increased.  There are tests to determine the presence of the balding gene, however they don’t tell you which side of the family gave you the gene or even whether the gene will be expressed in the future.

Myth 4: Only Men Suffer From Pattern Baldness

Androgenetic Alopecia, more commonly known as Male Pattern Baldness, also occurs in women where it is, unsurprisingly, referred to as Female Pattern Baldness. Women actually make up forty percent of hair loss sufferers. The lower incidence and generally greater emphasis on women’s appearance combine to make Female Pattern Baldness an unpleasant stigma.

Myth 5: Using Hair Styling Products and Dyes Causes Hair Loss

While some of these products have the potential to damage hair, they don’t affect hair follicles or hair growth cycles. Other harsh chemicals such as relaxers may, however, damage hair follicles.

Myth 6: Shaving, Trimming, or Cutting Your Hair Strengthens It

Hair growth is genetically programmed. The growth rate isn’t affected by any of these activities.