View Full Version : Myths About Thinning Hair

Yael Halaas, MD
01-19-2016, 09:21 AM
Did you know the average age of men with hair loss is about 35 years old and for women that is between 25-35 years old? I collected a list of myths patients often ask me about and would like to debunk them once and for all:

Headwear can contribute to hair loss. Recently I performed a very successful hair transplant on a woman who wore her hair in a tight ponytail for years. She never changed her hairstyle and always used the same tight elastic to pull her hair severely back. Another patient wore her hair with the same two barrettes in the same position on her head for years. Learn the lesson that repetitive use of tight headgear can cause a problem. An occasional item should not be a problem.

Hair care products make hair fall out. Many people believe that hair products like shampoo and hair conditioner can actually damage the hair. There is a lot to say on this subject. In general, you can rest assured knowing they do not – as long as you are using products that do not contain low quality ingredients and are appropriate for your scalp and your hair. In general, shampoos and conditioners keep the scalp clean, supple and less prone to tangles. This can keep the hair on your head. Occasionally certain medicated shampoos can even help hair growth. The key is using a quality shampoo and conditioner that is appropriate for you and consulting with a physician if in doubt.

Hair thinning only affects older individuals. While this may be true to an extent, people in their 20’s can also experience hair thinning and hair loss – see the opening paragraph. Whether the reason is hormonal, an illnesses or hereditary, young people can also experience balding.

Hair falls out when combing. Losing 50 - 100 strands of hair every day is perfectly normal and expected. It is part of the hair growth cycle. So, if you see hair on your comb, hairbrush, or while showering, it doesn’t mean you are going bald.

Minoxidil and Propecia are the only non-surgical treatments that can stop hair loss. Minoxidil is a FDA-approved drug that is proven to stimulate hair growth in women. Propecia is the gold standard drug for hereditary hair loss in men. There are other effective alternatives to discuss with your doctor. Laser light therapy and a few other medications may also work well for certain patients and has shown to regrow hair in clinical studies.

All birth control pills make you lose hair. The relationship between your birth control pills and hair loss depends on the type of birth control you are taking. Birth control pills containing progesterone may increase your risk of hair loss. Progesterone easily converts to androgen, a hormone that causes hair loss. You may want to ask your doctor for a birth control pill that does not have androgenic effects.
We inherit our hair loss pattern from a certain relative (mother/father/grandfather). Many people believe that their hairline is destined to follow an immediate relative. In fact hair loss patterns can be obtained from either parent and from close/distant relatives, since there are many genes in play.