Hair Loss: Myths vs. Facts

Last updated date: 16-Oct-2021

Indraprastha Apollo Hospital

5 mins read

Alopecia or hair loss is a form of hair fall that can occur anywhere in the human body; however, the most common area of occurrence is on the head. Alopecia can affect both males and females. There is a lot of false information about this condition that has led to a lot of confusion amongst everyone. Most of the information regarding the causes of hair fall are myths that need debunking. Read this blog to know more about the facts about this condition and about the myths surrounding it.

What is Hair Loss?

It is a common condition that can not only occur on the scalp but also on other parts of the human body. Though Alopecia is commonly seen in adults, there are chances of children being affected by it as well. As per the American Academy of Dermatology, losing 50-100 hair in a day is normal as new hair replaces that loss. However, if that fails to happen, then it can be defined as hair loss or Alopecia, which can be either temporary or permanent.


Causes of Hair Loss

There can be many reasons behind hair loss and it is necessary to determine the actual cause as it can help your doctor prescribe the right treatment. Some of the common causes include –

  • Heredity
  • Hormonal changes
  • Illnesses or medical conditions
  • Excessive stress or trauma
  • Physical changes like extreme weight loss
  • Certain hairstyles that pull the roots tightly
  • Lack of nutrients like protein & iron in the diet
  • Side-effects of certain medicines


Symptoms of Hair Loss

Though hair loss is a common condition, it can affect individuals differently depending on the cause. However, the general symptoms of hair loss include –

  • Gradually thinning hair
  • Scaling of the skin of your scalp
  • Bald spots in patches
  • Sudden loosening of tresses
  • Broken hair


Treatment for Hair Loss

There are various ways to treat hair loss. However, it depends on the underlying cause and the symptoms that an individual experiences. The first course of treatment is through medication that is prescribed by a doctor. The medicines can include corticosteroids like prednisone and oral medication like finasteride. Doctors may also prescribe medicated gels and creams that contain an ingredient named minoxidil. The second course of treatment comes into effect only when medications don’t work. Doctors may opt for medical or surgical procedures like hair transplant surgery, which are generally performed for treating extreme cases of hair loss.


Prevention of Hair Loss

Although it is believed that hair loss is mostly caused by genetic disorders, prevention of this condition is possible to some extent. Here are a few steps that can help prevent hair loss –

  • Avoid tight hairstyles
  • Avoid medication or supplements that may have hair loss as a side effect
  • Reduce or quit smoking
  • Be gentle with your hair while washing, cleaning, or brushing
  • Avoid extreme heat on hair
  • Avoid using chemical-laden styling products, colouring products, bleaching agents, etc.


Debunking Hair Loss Myths

One of the most common dermatological conditions, hair loss can happen to anyone. However, there are a lot of opinions, common sayings, and misconceptions about hair loss. It is important to separate the truth from such myths. Debunking some of the most common hair loss myths can also help you understand when, why, and who can get affected by this condition:

  • Myth: Hair thinning generally comes from the maternal side of the family.

Fact: As per scientific studies and research, it has been proven that hair loss can be a genetic inheritance from either side of the family. It can be paternal or maternal.


  • Myth: Cutting your hair frequently promotes hair growth.

Fact: Cutting the hair regularly helps get rid of split ends that can make your hair look better, but it does not promote hair growth. On the contrary, hair is a non-viable tissue that grows at a steady rate and there is no way to control the growth or non-growth by cutting it.


  • Myth: Stress leads to hair fall.

Fact: One of the most commonly believed myths is that mental stress can lead to hair fall. But it is no so. It requires excessive stress or trauma like a death in the family, an accident, crash dieting, and so on for temporary hair loss like ‘telogen effluvium’ to occur.


  • Myth: Washing hair with cold water prevents hair fall.

Fact: Coldwater helps in better blood circulation, frizz prevention, and cuticle tightening, but in no way does cold water stop hair loss.


  • Myth: Ageing causes hair loss.

Fact: Though hair loss is common in adults, it can be seen in children as young as 12 years of age as well. This can be due to various factors like lifestyle habits, heredity, hormonal conditions, etc.


  • Myth: Men are more prone to hair loss than women.

Fact: The truth is that hair loss is equally common in both men and women. The difference is that for men, hair thinning starts at the crown area and the frontal hairline. For women, it is diffused over the entire scalp, which makes it less apparent.


  • Myth: Wearing a hat or a cap will make you go bald.

Fact: This is nothing but a myth. You can wear a hat for 24 hours a day or seven days a week, it will not cause any hair fall. For causing baldness, the cap would have to be tight enough to pull your hair from the roots, which may not be possible.


  • Myth: Direct sunlight on the head leads to hair loss/baldness.

Fact: Direct sunlight can be harmful to your skin, but it does not cause hair fall. Sunlight does not affect your hair follicles. Rather, the hair acts as a shield for the scalp.


  • Myth: If you massage your scalp or rub your nails together, it results in faster hair growth.

Fact: There is no physical effect of the scalp or your fingernails on hair follicles. Instead, rigorous massaging may lead to more harm and frictional damage of hair.


  • Myth: Haircare products can prevent hair loss.

Fact: Hair loss occurs due to various reasons and the application of hair care products may not prevent hair loss. All you can do is address the causes of the condition, consult your doctor, and take the medication advised by them.


Hair fall issues have numerous rumours and beliefs surrounding them and the best thing that you can do is know the facts that will help you differentiate truth from myths. Make sure that you do not consider any substitute and opt for proper medical advice.


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