Frequently Asked Questions
This is your Project Page. It's a great opportunity to help answer some of the common questions you may have about your hair loss... You are not alone, and nothing is 'too stupid' to ask.
Does Hair Loss Come From Your Mother’s Side?
The idea that you inherit a hair loss gene only from your mother’s family side is a myth. Instead, the inheritance of common hair loss appears to be found on the autosomal – the non-sex related – chromosomes, which means that hair loss can come from either parent. Moreover, the hair loss gene is a dominant gene, meaning that a person needs only one gene on one chromosome to express the balding trait, although multiple genes appear to influence the hair loss process.
You can get some insight into hair loss by examining the hair loss patterns in your relatives. If you have an Uncle, Father, or Grandfather suffering from hair loss, find out when he started to lose his hair; it may indicate when you may begin to experience hair loss. Just don’t put all the blame on Mum if you start to lose your hair. It’s not her fault!
Women also inherit the thinning or balding patterns found in their families, but the inherited patterns are distinctly women’s patterns, not men’s patterns. This suggests that the inheritance patterns in women do not follow the inheritance patterns in men. For example, women with hair loss or thinning will frequently report that they take after their Mum, Grandmother (either side of the family), Sister, Aunt, etc.
Does Wearing Hats Cause Hair Loss?
More than a few people believe that hats are to blame for hair loss based on the idea that hats cut off air circulation to the scalp and prevent the scalp from breathing. They don’t know that hair follicles get oxygen from the bloodstream, not the air, so you can’t suffocate your hair follicles just by wearing a hat. Furthermore, the baseball cap so often worn by men whose hair is thinning doesn’t cause hair loss – it hides hair loss.
WARNING: Hats that fit tightly on the head are another story. These hats may cause thinning around the sides of the head, where constant traction is applied to the hair. Hats worn all the time for cultural and religious reasons (such as turbans and yarmulkes) may cause hair loss, too. In rare cases, sports helmets have been known to cause traction alopecia in athletes who wear their helmets too often, particularly if the helmet repeatedly rubs against an area of the scalp, causing “traction.”
If You Don’t See hair in the Drain, You Aren’t Balding. Correct?
You don’t suffer from balding because your hair is falling out; a person may suffer hair loss because the normal thick hair is gradually being replaced by finer, thinner hair in a process called miniaturization. Yet people who are sensitive to the prospect of suffering from hair loss often obsessively scrutinize the shower/bath drain and the hairbrush for evidence of impending hair loss.
Most people lose about 100 hairs daily but grow another 100 hairs daily to replace what’s lost. Some hairs wind up in your shower/bath drain or hairbrush, or they may just fall off as you go about your normal activity, responding to whatever your environment dishes out.
Massive hair loss appearing in the shower/bath drain should alarm you (as should a trail that forms behind you as you walk down the hallway!), but insidious, the progressive loss may be far more subtle. If progressive loss persists over time, you may lose far more hair than you see in the drain. This is particularly the case with female hair loss.
Does Excessive Use of Hair Chemicals & Hot Irons Kill Your Hair?
Hair isn’t alive, so hair products or hot irons can’t “kill” hair, although they may cause hair damage. As long as the damage caused by hair products is limited to the hair and not the growing hair follicles below the skin, hair above the skin may be lost from breakage or damage, but it will re-grow from the follicles at a rate of ½ inch per month.
Damaging hair follicles below the skin, however, can cause hair loss. When inexperienced people apply chemicals such as unsafe dyes or relaxing agents to the hair and scalp, the caustic chemicals may work their way into the growing part of the hair follicle and damage or kill the hair follicle at its root. The longer powerful chemicals stay on the scalp, the deeper they may penetrate the skin’s pores where the hair follicles are, resulting in permanent hair loss or hair that may never look “healthy.”
Applying dyes, chemicals, or hot irons (even hair rollers that are too hot) can cause the hair to become fragile and break off. Hair breakage and split ends are most common in people with long hair because the hair is around for a longer amount of time before being cut, so it’s more susceptible to damage from wind, drying, sunlight, and chemicals such as relaxers and hair dyes.
Does Hair Loss Stop When you Get Older?
This myth is partly true because hair loss slows down in men as they age. Usually, men over the age of 60 see only marginal loss if they have any hair loss. However, for women, the exact opposite is true. With age and the loss of the protective hormone estrogen, women with genetic hair loss find that the hair loss process that starts during menopause gets progressively worse as they age.