There are many causes of hair loss, from stress to iron deficiency. The most common cause of hair loss though is a hormone called DHT, which prevents nutrients from feeding developing hair follicles. The result is a gradual miniaturization of the hairs, until they become so small and colourless that you cannot see them.
While there are many other causes of hair loss, including smoking, which reduces blood flow to the hair follicles and a condition called hypothyroidism, which affects the thyroid gland. There are also several myths that have developed that today we are going to dispel.
1. Washing your hair can cause hair loss
Because hair shedding becomes most apparent when you’re washing your hair some people assume that there may be a connection. Seeing your hands covered in shed hairs when you shampoo and watching the hairs wash down the plug hole is certainly disconcerting, but the act of shampooing your hair does not cause the hair loss.
Unfortunately the belief that washing your hair may increase hair loss, causes some people to shampoo less frequently in order to prevent the increased shedding. In fact this may be counterproductive because a hygienic scalp with clear pores is good for your hair, not bad. If you’re concerned that your shampoo is causing your hair loss why not try a gentler shampoo like these organic SLS free shampoos.
Further reading: The best way to wash your hair for best results.
2. Brushing your hair can cause hair loss
This myth is similar to the shampooing myth: because you see many hairs woven into your brush or comb and hairs falling when you brush, it’s easy to assume that the act of brushing may be dislodging hairs and causing increased shedding.
It’s important to reverse this way of thinking. In actual fact the more you stimulate your scalp the better. By brushing and invigorating your scalp you encourage increased blood circulation in your scalp, which will actually help feed your hair with the nutrients it needs to grow.
3. Being vegetarian can cause hair loss
It’s true that hair needs protein in order to grow. In fact hair is made almost entirely of a protein called keratin, which is produced from amino acids that are common in meat. However the same amino acids are also widely found in many vegetarian foods including beans, lentils and even oatmeal.
You might also assume that since hair needs protein to grow, eating more meat will make your hair grow faster and thicker. However this is not the case. In fact vegetarian diets tend to be healthier than regular omnivorous diets and as a result vegetarians are likely to have healthier hair.
Further reading: Amino acids that stop hair loss and promote hair growth
4. Cutting your hair short or shaving promotes hair growth
This is a myth that probably came about because when young men begin shaving they notice their facial hair grows back thicker every time they shave. However the reason facial hair grows back faster or thicker is nothing to do with shaving and simply a result of male development.
This myth was probably added to by the fact that hair shafts are thicker towards the base and thinner towards the tips. Therefore if you cut your hair very short it may seem thicker because you reveal the thicker part of the hair shafts.
Cutting or shaving your hair does not encourage it to grow thicker or faster. In fact it does nothing to change the rate of hair growth. However by trimming hair that has become split (cutting the hair above the split ends) you can make hair appear thicker and prevent further damage, which can make hair look look healthier.
Don’t be fooled by the myths
The problem with buying into myths like these is that it can cause you to not realize the true underlying cause of your hair loss. For example you may have developed an overactive thyroid gland at the same time as changing your shampoo. The temptation would be to blame the new shampoo, which would cause you to miss the true underlying cause of your hair loss, which you should look to treat.
If you’d like to learn more about the true causes of hair loss, I highly recommend you read this:
Why did you one day start losing your hair?