A frequent question asked by my hair transplant patients relates to the cause of hair loss. Every body has an explanation for hair fall and sometimes I am amazed by the ingenuity of the reasons cited and remedies tried. Here is a partial list of these. I am sure you have heard of many more.
Myth No.1 : Shaving the Head will Prevent Hair Loss
NO! NO! NO! Shaving does not prevent hair fall. Probably the origin of this myth lies in the fact that short stubble feels coarser and is therefore considered made of better quality hair. In fact, it only feels harder because the hair is short and not because hair quality has improved overnight.
Another contributing factor to the popularity of this myth may be that you stop “seeing” hair loss. After shaving your head, you don’t see hair in your hands or pillow like you used to. This is again because the hair is so short that you don’t notice its fall and not because hair loss has stopped.
Remember, the hair is falling due to hair root injury and shaving can not change this process. Hair fall will continue even if you shave your head hundred times.
Myth No.2 : Dandruff causes Hair Loss
Again not true. The origin of this myth is the fact that every time you scratch your scalp you get one or two hair in your hands. These are just weak telogen hair that were about to fall any way. Dandruff on the other hand is a surface infection or colonization by a fungus. It happens in oily scalp and is medically treatable. It does not cause any damage to hair roots. Also remember that flaking of dry scalp is different from dandruff and only requires good hair conditioner.
Myth No.3 : Tension causes Hair Loss
False. I don’t know where this came from. Probably from the observation that young college goers suffer hair loss. This is wrongly attributed to studies related stress while the actual reason is high levels of DHT (hormone causing hair fall). Severe prolonged physical stress due to injury or disease can cause telogen effluvium, but day to day stress does not exacerbate hair loss.
Myth No.4 : Helmet or Hat causes Hair Loss
Wrong. Tight helmets or hats may contribute to hair fiber damage, but it does not cause root injury. On the other hand, pulling the hair too hard while wearing a turban or cornrows, can cause permanent hair loss. This is called traction alopecia and requires surgical treatment.
Myth No.5 : Oiling Prevents Hair Loss
Not true. Adequate oil is produced by your scalp to nourish hair roots. In fact, evey hair has its own oil producing gland. If you have very long hair, then putting hair oils may improve the texture, but short hairs do not require oiling. Head massage with oils can relax you but does little for hair growth.
In my next blog I shall discuss real causes of permanent hair fall.