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Heredity and Age

There are many myths about hair loss that need to be addressed. For instance, it is commonly believed that hair loss is inherited exclusively from the mother’s side of the family. In reality, complete baldness, also known as androgenetic hair loss, can be inherited from the mother, father, or both. Another myth is that hair loss will eventually cease after a person reaches a certain age. However, studies have shown that a person will continue to lose hair well into old age, with complete baldness often being an inevitability. Evidently, the probability of complete hair loss increases the earlier the onset of hair loss occurs.

Testosterone and Baldness

Another common myth is that men who suffer from hair loss produce elevated amounts of testosterone. The truth is testosterone per se, is not the culprit, but hair follicle sensitivity to DHT on certain areas of the scalp. In other words hair loss is triggered when genetically predisposed hair follicles shrink when exposed to DHT, causing follicular shrinkage and eventual disappearance.  If testosterone, in of itself, was the cause of baldness, then all of the hair on a man’s body would also fall out instead of solely hair on a man’s head.

Gender and Hats

Another very common myth regarding hair loss is that only men are vulnerable. However, studies have shown that 40% of women suffer from hair thinning as they age, with hair loss significantly increasing once a woman reaches menopause.  Furthermore, some people believe that losing large quantities of hair is a definitive sign of genetic baldness. This is not the case, as baldness occurs when normal, thick hair, is replaced by thinner, finer hairs; a process known as miniaturization.  If you notice large patches of hair falling out contact your health care professional immediately, as genetic baldness does not cause sudden and very noticeable hair loss. Another, somewhat humorous myth about hair loss, is that wearing a hat will lead to hair loss, as hair follicles will not be provided with sufficient air to “breathe”. Interestingly, hair follicles actually received oxygen from the bloodstream, and not from the air in the environment.

Shampooing and Clogged Pores

Moreover, some people claim that hair loss is caused by excessive shampooing. This myth originated from people noticing hairs in their bathtubs while showering. Fearing further hair loss, many started shampooing their hair less often or stopped shampooing altogether. In reality, people lose hundreds of strands of hair every day, regardless of whether they shampoo their hair or not. As mentioned, genetic hair loss is caused by miniaturization, and has nothing to do with how often a person shampoos their hair.

If excess hair build-up in the bathtub is a concern, then the quintessential solution would be to shampoo every day instead of a few times per week; allowing hairs that would normally fall out to fall out naturally instead of build-up on the scalp and fall out in much larger clumps afterwards. Finally, some people believe that clogged pores cause hair loss. This is certainly not the case, as clogged cores are caused by acne. If baldness was caused by clogged pores then people could simply rigorously shampoo their hair to prevent hair loss. Evidently, that is not the case in practice.