It is estimated that men and women spend more than $3.5 billion a year in an attempt to treat their hair loss. That’s a lot of money!
Hair loss is a big concern for a lot of men and what has been thought of as a traditionally male issue has seen an increase in women seeking out hair restoration procedures as well.
August is National Hair Loss Awareness Month. To make sure that you have the information you need to battle hair loss, I recently spoke with Dr. Alan Bauman, a board-certified hair restoration physician, treatment pioneer and member of the prestigious Pantene Hair Research Institute. He regularly trains other doctors in treatment techniques and is ‘recommended’ by the American Hair Loss Association.
Myths and misconceptions continue to make it harder for the estimated 80 million U.S. men and women with hair loss to get the right kind of help.
Here are some myths and facts to help you be informed about hair loss:
“Cutting or shaving your hair make it grow back thicker.”
MYTH! – Hair fibers are ‘dead’ tissue. Your follicle doesn’t know when you cut your hair short. It is an illusion. When hair is shorter is appears to grow faster because the added length over time is in greater proportion to the total length. [i.e., adding 1-inch when the hair is 5-inches “looks” like faster growth than adding 1-inch to 10-inches.]
“Higher testosterone is linked to hair loss.”
MYTH! – It’s not the amount of testosterone, actually. What you inherit is the sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone or DHT (a breakdown product of testosterone) that can cause hair loss in men and some women. It is true that if you are a male and you use testosterone, this gets converted into DHT and can accelerate hair loss.
“Hair loss comes from the mother’s side.”
MYTH! – Baldness is inherited, but it’s a combination of genes passed on from both the mother’s and father’s side of the family. Anyone who has close relatives with androgenetic alopecia (i.e., male- or female-pattern hair loss) – on either side of the family – is at a higher risk of developing the condition later in life. However, new genetic tests, like the HairDX Genetic Test for Hair Loss, can accurately predict a man or woman’s likelihood of losing hair as they age.
“Medications can cause hair loss.”
FACT! (kind of) – While medication alone might not be enough to cause hair loss for someone who isn’t genetically predisposed to hair loss – it can speed up the process for someone who is genetically susceptible. Various medications, such as certain anti-depressants and birth control pills, list hair loss among the possible side effects. Hair loss is a rare side effect, but must be taken seriously.
“You can grow back dead follicles.”
MYTH! – Medications, laser therapy, PRP, nutritionals, etc. can help stimulate hair follicles grow thicker healthier hair, but once the follicle is dead and gone, the only option for regrowth in that area is a hair transplant.
“Wearing a hat can make you go bald.”
MYTH! – This statement is completely 100% bogus and false in so many ways, and is a great example of the myths that continue to be perpetuated by the uneducated. Hair follicles are mini-organs located under the skin which produce hair fibers. Over time, they naturally cycle on and cycle off—producing hair for years, then degenerating/resting for ~90 days, then regenerating and the cycle begins again. While you may see hair loss suffers wearing hats to cover bald spots or re-frame their face in a youthful way, hats DO NOT and CANNOT cause male pattern hair loss!
“Once hair loss becomes visible it is time to seek treatment.”
MYTH! – How early you spot your thinning hair determines how much hair you save. If you wait until the hair loss is visible to the naked eye, you’re too late – 50 percent is already gone! The best tool in fighting hair loss is early detection, making it essential for patients to seek the advice of a certified Hair Restoration Physician as soon as possible.
Alan J. Bauman, M.D. is a board-certified hair
restoration physician, treatment pioneer and member of the prestigious Pantene Hair Research
Institute. You can learn more about his practice and hair restoration services at baumanmedical.com