Mythbusters: Can Wearing Hats Cause Hair Loss?

If you’ve ever worn a hat in front of a relative before, especially if it’s an older relative, you’ve probably already heard a variation of this statement: “Stop wearing a hat so much, you’ll go bald.”

But here’s the thing. Although we’ve heard that time and time again, we have to wonder, how accurate is it, really? Is hair loss from hats real? Is there a hidden danger to this innocuous activity? How can doing something that’s seemingly so harmless, such as wearing a hat, cause you to go bald?

In today’s ZALA Mythbusters, we’ll answer the question: Can wearing hats cause hair loss?

zala mythbusters wearing hats cause hair loss

The myth: wearing hats can cause hair loss

One very common hair loss myth is that wearing hats can cause hair loss, especially in men.

The myth is often attributed to the fact that men are known to suffer from baldness in their later years, usually referred to as “male pattern baldness”.

Male Pattern Baldness Often Attributed to Wearing Hats
Male Pattern Baldness often attributed to wearing hats (c) Pinterest

Some women also believe that wearing hats can make their hair grow thinner. According to the myth, this is because hats can suppress the strands, therefore flattening it and making it look worse as it grows out.

Lastly, there are some people who believe that wearing hats can restrict oxygen to the scalp, which causes harm to hair follicles. This, in turn, allegedly leads to hair loss in the future.

The truth

So, will hats cause hair loss? Well, hair loss is usually caused by a variety of factors, including age, genetics, lifestyle, medication, medical changes, and hormonal changes.

For women specifically, there are a couple more things that can cause hair loss over time.

Overtstyling hair and using hairstyles such as tight ponytails and braids can trigger a form of alopecia, called traction alopecia, caused by the continuous pulling on the roots.

Doing too many harsh treatments such as perms and hot oil frequently can also cause hair loss due to follicle damage. If a follicle gets damaged, it develops a scar. That scar prevents new hair from growing back.

Can wearing hats cause traction alopecia?

Wearing Hats Cause Traction Alopecia
(c) Unsplash

Traction alopecia refers to the type of alopecia that usually develops when your hair is continuously pulled over time. It is not hair loss from wearing hats!

While wearing tight hats isn’t good for your well-being, they rarely, if ever, create enough tension to pull your hair tight. You’re more at risk for traction alopecia if you wear cornrows than if you wear hats.

Can wearing hats cause friction alopecia?

Do hats affect hair growth or trigger friction alopecia? There is another form of alopecia that is usually linked to wearing hats, and that is called friction alopecia.

Friction alopecia refers to the kind of alopecia that develops due to hat stress. This typically happens if you’re wearing a hat that is much too tight for you. The hair follicles get damaged, resulting in bald patches.

However, unlike traction alopecia, this type of alopecia is temporary. Once you stop putting too much stress on your head, your hair will grow back. Of course, if you don’t stop it, your hair may never grow back, but chances of this are quite slim.

Conclusion: can wearing hats cause hair loss?

Luckily for you, it appears that this is actually just a myth, at least most of it. While wearing hats too often can result in some temporary physical changes to your hair, there are no scientific studies that prove that it can cause hair loss in the long run.

That said, you shouldn’t completely rule out the idea that hats cause baldness. Although hats won’t cause you to lose your hair in 20 years’ time, wearing hats that are too tight can in fact be a contributing factor. You might want to stick to loose-fitting hats that will actually let your scalp breathe. Besides, they feel better on your head anyway, don’t they?

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