By Taylor Kubota
More than 50 percent of men over the age of 50 have some form of hair loss, making the hair loss industry worth a whopping $3.5 billion. Unfortunately, many hair loss solutions are worthless.
It’s often difficult to separate the snake oils from the solutions because many people advocating for or against different products tend to have stakes in the industry too. There is also a lot of misinformation out there about what causes hair loss and how it can be prevented. We dug into the hard science to expose the myths, truths, and important information you should know about what you can actually do to keep (or get back) your hair.
Hair Restoration Never Looks Natural: Myth
Hair restoration surgeries have had a questionable past but Kobren says that is an outdated reputation. “Most people still think of hair transplants as these plug-y, unattractive, cornrow-type of procedures,” he says. “Those really don’t exist anymore.” He says that he has seen and heard of plenty of great restorations that have turned men’s lives around.
However, he also says there is still bad work out there that can be devastating. In order to get the best result possible, Kobren recommends checking the credentials of everyone involved in your potential hair restoration team because the procedures are team efforts, not just the work of one doctor.
Baldness Comes From Your Mother’s Side: Myth
It is a complete myth that baldness is inherited from only the mother’s side of the family. You hair future is determined by genes from both sides of your family and you have likely ended up with some mix of your parents’ hair genes.
“It’s not a 100 percent accurate prediction of what’s going to happen to you but if there’s hair loss somewhere in your family, there’s a good chance you may be dealing with it,” says Kobren. So, if your father’s side has a long history of a similar pattern of hair loss and your mother’s has no hair loss, you are still at risk of having that paternal pattern.
Pull Out a Grey and Three Will Grow: Myth
Over time, repeatedly pulling out hairs from the same follicle can cause traction alopecia, where the trauma of plucking can damage and scar the follicle to the point that it no longer produces hair. This is the basic reasoning behind plucking eyebrows but it also applies to the hairs on your head, so pulling them out on a regular basis can make them go away for good. However, Kobren says that occasionally pulling out a grey before date night shouldn’t cause any significant problems.
Mistreating Your Hair Can Cause Hair Loss: Fact
It’s unlikely to cause permanent hair loss, but overworking your locks can damage hair, making it weak and easily broken. Processes that may cause hair troubles can include aggressive brushing, back combing, straightening, and dying. Even chemicals in shampoos, water, air pollution, and too much UV exposure can weaken the outside and inside of hair fibers.
Stress Causes Hair Loss: Mostly Myth
Stress can be blamed for many different health problems but hair loss isn’t generally one of them. Balding and stress are often associated because people can lose hair under extreme stress. How extreme? After giving birth, some women experience hair loss. People may also experience hair loss after something drastic like a car crash or the death of someone close. Otherwise, stress is not likely the cause.