Mark had a whole collection of caps in his closet. There were caps from his favorite sporting teams; caps from places he visited. Each day he chose his cap based on how he was feeling; he felt his choice reflected his mood. Sometimes, when he was feeling down, Mark would pick out a cap that held good memories, other times, such as when he was hanging out with friends, the cap would represent what they had in common, like a favorite sports team.
But lately, the whole collection of caps stayed in the closet. Mark was afraid to wear them. A few weeks ago, he noticed his hair was thinning and a friend said it could be from always wearing a hat. Mark knew that as he got older, his hair would probably thin out, but he was still in his thirties. The thought of going bald was scary and if he had to give up wearing caps to stop it, he would.
For many men, a thick, healthy head of hair is tied in with their self-image. Without their hair, they feel older and less attractive. When they notice their hair thinning or falling out, they become alarmed. Some may feel a loss of their identity or their self-esteem may take a hit. Many will go to great lengths to try to reverse balding or at least slow it down. According to the U.S. News and World Report, American males spend $1 billion annually on hair products or services to keep a full head of hair.
One of the myths surrounding hair loss is that wearing hats will cause or contribute to premature baldness. Fortunately, for men like Mark, this is not true. There is no scientific research that shows wearing a hat contributes to hair loss. In order for a hat to cause hair loss, it would need to be tight enough to cut off circulation to the hair follicles.
One of the reasons many people believe that hats cause hair loss is because of the amount of hair left inside a hat when you take it off. Whenever you see this, you might worry that your hair is quickly falling out. But we lose hair every day, as much as 80 to 100 strands daily. Usually, you will see this as you comb and brush your hair or when you shower. However, your hats may catch some of this hair and as it builds up over time, it may seem as if there is a lot of hair in your hat.
What Does Cause Hair Loss?
There are a number of reasons for hair loss:
- Stress or illness
- Hormonal problems, such as hyper- or hypo-thyroidism
- As a side effect of some medications
- Fungal infections
- Wearing tight hairstyles such as pigtails or cornrows
- Overuse of chemicals found in permanents or relaxers
Finally, genetics plays a part in male baldness or hair loss. According to an article in ScienceDaily, the gene that is sometimes responsible for male baldness is inherited from the mother because this particular gene is found on the X chromosome. For men whose fathers became bald, this could be good news. It seems you should look to your grandfather, on your mother’s side, to find out if you have a higher risk of baldness due to genetics.
"Hair Loss: Causes & Risk Factors," Reviewed 2010, Dec, Staff Writer, FamilyDoctor.org
"Tendency to Hair Loss Inherited From the Mother," 2005, May 20, Staff Writer, ScienceDaily.com
"What Causes Hair Loss? 9 Myths About Baldness," 2011, Feb 22, Angela Haupt, U.S. News and World Report
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.