Hair loss

Updated 26 January 2016

Balding: true or false?

If you're growing through your hair, or if your father did, you'll benefit from this round-up of material on balding. We separate the truth from the myths and old wives' tales.

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If you're growing through your hair, or if your father did, you'll benefit from this round-up of material on balding. We separate the truth from the myths and old wives' tales.

1. Washing your hair too often can make you go bald.

False. It's just water. If you really go over the top with stringent shampoo, your hair might become brittle and break, but it'll grow back. Looking greasy like Kurt Cobain won't stave off baldness, only admirers.

2. If you hair grows fast, it means you won't go bald.

False. Fast hair growth means you're in good health, but it doesn't mean there's absolutely no chance of going bald.

3. If your mom's dad is bald, you will be too.

False. Baldness is largely inherited, but it's not a matter of dominant genes that'll make you look like a roll-on - it's the cumulative heredity. The more shining pates there are around the dinner table, the more likely it is that yours will end up that way. If your father, uncles or brothers are bald, you might be too.

4. Blow-drying your hair can make you bald.

False. Blow-drying won't make you go bald, but excessive heat can aggravate dandruff.

5. Brushing vigorously can stave off baldness.

False. Brushing, reputed to be better at stimulating the flow of oxygenated blood to hair follicles than combing, probably isn't. Of course, if the air is dry, the static on the brush can make you look like a rooster or a member of the '80s pretty-boy pop outfit Duran Duran. Frankly, you're better off bald.

6. Clarifying rinse can prevent baldness.

False. You'll probably benefit from using a special rinse to remove excess oils and traces of shampoo, gel and conditioner from your hair. But there's no evidence that it'll stop you going bald.

7. Eating plenty of meat and animal fats can increase hair loss.

True. Eating lots of meat, especially meat with high levels of fat, can cause an increase in the testosterone levels being produced by your body. Unsaturated fats can clog the arteries, leading to reduced blood supply to your vital organs, which is a health risk in itself. But your hair is affected because testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone, a hormone believed to shrink the hair follicles, which in turn hampers hair growth.

8. Hair remedies can help prevent baldness.

True. There are plenty of snake-oil remedies around, but there are some that work. Regaine is one, apparently. Speak to your doctor first.

9. Being a party animal can make you bald.

True. If you're sedentary, a smoker and a drinker, you're more likely to go bald.

10. Steroids can make you go bald.

True. Along with causing dangerous levels of aggression and making you look like an action figure, anabolic steroids boost your hormone levels, accelerating the onset of male pattern baldness.

11. Stress can make you bald.

True. But don't tell your boss you're taking the week off to save your hair - the day-to-day stress levels most people have at work won't turn you into an eggshell blonde. It's the earth-shaking ones, like divorce, bereavement and retrenchment. - (William Smook) 

Read more: 

Triggers for hair loss 

New target in fight against baldness 

Losing you hair, Grandpa?

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