So much fear and misunderstanding has been associated with male pattern baldness it’s no wonder people are confused about fact and fiction, cause and effect. Men in particular fear going bald, mostly because hair loss is a direct psychological assault on the Western concept of manhood. It can dramatically change how a man looks and is perceived by women, and hair loss is often associated with diminished virility and getting older.
Though female pattern baldness is less common than its male counterpart, it can still be a very painful source of low self-esteem and embarrassment. A full head of hair may be associated with a man’s virility, but in women it is often strongly linked to a woman’s sense of femininity and attractiveness.
Many balding men have given up the fight and opted to shave their heads clean. While head shaving is trendy now, cultural trends change every decade or so. Today’s “cool” is tomorrow’s retro look. Therefore, it’s important to have the facts in hand so as to distinguish between hair loss myth and reality.
Hair Loss Myths and Truths
- Daily washing of the hair increases hair loss. Myth. While frequent washing removes natural oils from the hair and makes it more brittle and prone to breaking, broken hair shafts eventually grow back provided the follicle is healthy enough to regrow hair.
- Anemia, or iron-poor blood, facilitates hair loss. True. Iron is an important blood component, and a healthy follicle needs iron-rich blood to stay healthy and productive.
- Hair loss is handed down from your mother’s side of the family. Myth. While the mother’s genetic influence is slightly stronger when it comes to hair loss, genetic factors promoting hair loss are also passed on by the father’s side.
- If you’re bald or going bald, you’re old. Myth. The sad truth is that thinning hair happens as early as one’s teens if the genetic predisposition for it exists. Most men, however, experience thinning hair in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
- Trauma causes the hair to fall out. True. If you wear your hair in braids, pigtails, or pulled back in a ponytail, the constant tug of war on the follicles can eventually lead to a condition known as “traction alopecia,” or thinning hair caused by pull-trauma to the scalp.
- Poor blood flow to the scalp causes thinning hair. False. Lower blood circulation is a secondary effect of hair loss, not the primary cause. As the follicles die off, less blood flow to the scalp area is needed to support them. Proper blood flow is a sure sign of healthy, live follicles.
- Hair follicles, once dead, are gone forever. Somewhat true. While there is no technology yet which can permanently resurrect dead follicles, hair transplant surgery can replace them with healthy follicles. Which is why it is so important to consult with a qualified hair transplant surgeon to learn how modern surgical techniques can restore what nature or man-made factors have taken away.
Dr. Kyle S. Choe is a board certified facial plastic surgeon and hair restoration specialist with offices located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Contact The Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery at (757) 389-5850 for a personal consultation or read more about hair restoration techniques.