Because of stigma that surrounds male-pattern baldness, many guys that suffer from it are hesitant to inquire about its causes and possible hair loss treatments when they first see that they are losing hair. Usually, they prefer instead to brush their hair this way or that in attempt to cover the thin spots. This works for a while, but eventually he will get to a point that the hair loss just cannot be hidden any longer. But because many are embarrassed and thus not likely to share face-to-face experiences with one another about thinning hair, myths as to the cause of hair loss have perpetuated. Some of the myths that attempt to explain hair loss:
- Dirty scalp – It seems at first to be completely plausible. Dirt, oil, and dead skin have choked the hair follicles, effectively overcoming them enough so that they cannot push the hair through the garbage that has accumulated on top of them. This is a very persuasive myth that is perpetuated a lot by scam artists peddling scalp treatments they report will cleanse and aerate the scalp.
- Hats (“bald caps”) – This myth is usually combined with the dirty scalp myth and adds another twist: friction. The idea behind it is that if an individual wears a hat for too long day in and day out his scalp can no longer “breathe” and dirt and oil will accumulate. Additionally, the friction of the hat rubbing on the hairs break them, causing them to fall out prematurely.
The reality is that the amount of force it would take for hairs to be removed by friction to the scalp would be quite uncomfortable – much more uncomfortable than would be bearable for a person to put up with day in and day out.
Additionally, the pattern of loss would not be the classic “horseshoe” pattern of male-pattern baldness. There is a type of hair loss called Traction Alopecia (which I will discuss at another time) that is caused by trauma to the hair follicles. The result of Traction Alopecia is patchy, uneven hair loss that doesn’t follow the typical horseshoe pattern that male-pattern baldness does. The reason the myth of the hat is so persuasive is flawed logic: One sees a person that wears a hat all the time and is balding, concluding that the hat is the cause of the balding. In reality, the reverse is much more likely to be true: the person wears the hat as a result of the balding.
- Excessive masturbation – A variety of different theories abound as to how hair loss is the body’s natural way for it to punish its owner for “treating his body like an amusement park.” All of them, no matter how convincing, are completely false.
- Blow dryers and excessive styling – Well, can be some truth to these. Excessive chemical treatments can be bad for the hair, resulting in damage. However, like the hat theory, the pattern of loss wouldn’t follow the classic male-pattern baldness horseshoe pattern. The same goes with excessive blow-drying.
- Diet – Extreme protein deficiency can cause hair loss, but it takes weeks to months to occur. Unless you have been stranded on a desert island for a while or just refuse to eat then this is very likely not the cause of your hair loss.
These really are the tip of the iceberg. I have heard a whole host of myths and I am sure more are being thought up daily. Just keep in mind that if you are thinning and the pattern follows the male-pattern baldness horseshoe design, then the odds are great that it’s MPB. The bad news is that you can’t run out and get a new set of genes. The good news is that scientists have been working on a solution for years. While there is no “cure” yet, there are some good treatments out there.
One thing I wanted to address before going further. Many young guys get interested in working out and hitting the gym pretty early in life. Naturally, one wants to look as good as possible. If that weren’t the case then we wouldn’t be worried about our hair in the first place, now would we? However, in the rush to get that perfect body many are confronted with the “easy way”: anabolic steroids. Steroids alter the body’s hormone balances. Not only can steroids accelerate hair loss in individuals that are prone to MPB, but can cause hair loss in individuals that would not otherwise be susceptible. There is a host of quality supplements that can safely help you reach your goals in the gym. Give your body, hair, and wallet a break and put the time in at the gym to reach your goals. Steroids are a quick fix that have serious consequences. Many that are MUCH more serious than just hair loss. Bottom line: It just isn’t worth it.