Hair loss is a common occurrence, impacting huge percentages of the population. Despite the fact that so many American are experiencing it, most of us don’t really know what causes it, how you can treat it, or if there are any ways to prevent it from happening in the first place.
While stress can have a large impact on your health and well-being, we would all likely be bald if it truly led to permanent hair loss.
In our practice, we receive many questions from our patients suffering from hair loss—in addition to hearing them repeat a number of pervasive myths. To help you understand a little bit more about why hair loss happens and what you can or can’t do to improve it, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions we receive.
1. You don’t have to worry about hair loss until you’re old, right?
The idea hair loss only happens to those over a certain age is a prevalent myth. Unfortunately, hair loss can happen at any age. For those who are genetically predisposed to alopecia, noticeable hair loss can start as early as the teenage years.
So, when does hair loss typically start? Many hair loss sufferers begin noticing a receding hairline or areas of thinning in their 20s and 30s, though more severe loss does often occur around middle age. According to the American Hair Loss Association, around two thirds of men will experience some degree of hair thinning by thirty five, with that number jumping to 85% by 50.
2. Can women experience hair loss?
While hair loss does affect more men than women, around 40% of hair loss sufferers are actually women—and oftentimes it has a great emotional and psychological impact.
Because longer hair is culturally tied to femininity, and women are constantly surrounded by ads and magazines featuring full, beautiful locks, experiencing hair loss can be devastating for women. Additionally, most hair loss treatments and products are explicitly marketed to men, leaving many female hair loss sufferers to feel alone and like they don’t have options.
3. Will stress make me lose my hair?
The commonly repeated idea that stress makes your hair fall out is, thankfully, largely false. While stress can have a large impact on your health and well-being, we would all likely be bald if it truly led to permanent hair loss. It’s true that a traumatic event or excessive amount of stress can precipitate the loss of more hair strands than you’re used to seeing when you shower, but this type of hair loss is usually temporary.
Too much heat over time can zap moisture and make hair prone to breakage, while excessive pressure, tugging, or traction can harm follicles.
In these instances, the hair loss is typically telogen effluvium, which occurs when the hair follicles “pause” temporarily in response to the stress. While it can be a frustrating experience, it’s normal for follicles to resume functioning and for lost hair to be replaced.
4. Can wearing a hat cause hair loss?
If you’ve heard that wearing a hat can suffocate your hair follicles and lead to baldness, you’re not the only one. Fortunately, this idea is pure myth. Frequently wearing a hat with an excessively tight fit might lead to what is called traction alopecia (a result of hair being pulled too tightly), but if your hats feel comfortable, you likely have nothing to worry about.
Still concerned? Stick with hats made out of breathable material and make sure they don’t feel tight on your head.
5. Can hairspray lead to hair loss?
While the glory days of Aquanet may be over, hairspray is still in most people’s bathroom cabinets—the good news is you don’t need to think twice about if you’re concerned about hair loss. The same goes for shampoos, conditioners, and hair styling products, as long as you stick with reputable brands. The frequency with which you wash your hair also won’t raise or lower your hair loss risk.
What you do need to be mindful of is heated styling tools, such as blow dryers and straighteners, and putting too much pressure on your strands with techniques like teasing. Too much heat over time can zap moisture and make hair prone to breakage, while excessive pressure, tugging, or traction can harm follicles.
There are no vitamins or supplements that can prevent hair thinning or restore hair that’s been lost. Products, such as Biotin, that are marketed as hair loss treatments are misleading.
6. Will birth control pills make my hair fall out?
Some birth control can result in hair loss, particularly for those who are already genetically prone to alopecia. That’s because women who are predisposed have hair follicles that are much more sensitive to androgens, the hormones that develop and maintain male traits. Some birth control medications contain progesterone, which converts into androgens.
Luckily, there are many birth control options available—and pills and other hormone-based solutions come in a variety of formulas. If you are worried about hair thinning, have a family history of alopecia, or are already experiencing hair loss, speak with your healthcare provider about options that have a low risk of exacerbating the condition.
7. Can vitamins prevent hair loss?
While certain vitamins and supplements may help strengthen hair or slightly improve hair growth rate in those not experiencing pattern baldness or hair loss, there are no vitamins or supplements that can prevent hair thinning or restore hair that’s been lost. Products, such as Biotin, that are marketed as hair loss treatments are misleading.
While deficiencies in certain nutrients can play a role in hair loss, it’s fairly uncommon—those who don’t have a medical condition typically get enough necessary nutrients from their diets. That being said, there are certain vitamins and supplements that can support hair health if you’re hoping to improve the appearance or strength of your hair strands, including iron, zinc, protein, and B vitamins. Just make sure to chat with your physician before incorporating any new supplements into your routine.
8. How can I treat my hair loss?
One quick Google search for “hair loss treatments” yields millions of results—many of which feature questionable products, DIY fixes, and topical creams. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many safe and effective hair restoration options available as these results would have you believe. For many years, hair transplant surgery was the most efficacious solution for restoring a fuller head of hair, though certain drawbacks—such as the invasiveness of surgery, resulting scar on the back of the head, and downtime required—kept many men and women from seeking treatment.
Thankfully, scientists and innovators have made significant advancements in hair restoration over the last few years. The NeoGraft® Hair Transplant System is the first minimally invasive, automated “follicular unit extraction” procedure available. This outpatient procedure uses a special device to harvest healthy hair follicles from the back of the head and transplant them to areas where hair has been lost—without a large, linear scar.
Because the process is automated, more follicles survive the transplantation than with previous methods, and patients experience natural hair growth within just a few months. Results look natural, and hair can be washed, cut, and styled normally after treatment.
If you’ve been curious about hair restoration in Eugene, we encourage you to contact us today. During your consultation, Dr. Movassaghi can examine your hair loss, help you understand your options, and map out how NeoGraft can help you enjoy a full head of hair, naturally.