There are many misbeliefs and misconceptions associated with hair loss, much of which stem from the lack of knowledge about the actual causes of hair loss. Patient’s misconceptions are also fed by “traditional wisdom” that does not hold up to scientific scrutiny. In this article we’re going to list some of the most common misbeliefs about hair loss, and shed light on the truth behind the issues raised by these myths and misconceptions:
- Before hair transplant, the patient’s hair has to be shaved off. This may not be a direct misconception about hair loss, but it’s a reason why people are deterred from putting an end to their hair loss problems through hair transplant. Hair transplant does indeed involve the shaving of some areas, but not in significant proportions. Thus, it is enough to shave some parts of the donor area, which serve for harvesting the hair follicles. The recipient area will not be shaved, allowing patients to keep their hair at the length they desire. For women with long hair, it is possible to shave the hair only in really small, horizontal stripes, which can be covered by the patient’s longer hairs, thus making both the shaving and the transplant procedure unnoticeable to others.
- Exposing the scalp to cold or wearing caps or hats can lead to hair loss. In general, neither of these causes hair loss. It may be that hair loss and exposure to cold or wearing of hats coincide with the inception of hair loss or hair thinning, however, the main cause of hair loss is usually something completely unrelated to these. Sometimes the pattern of hair loss can be indicative of the actual cause. In the majority of cases, hair loss is caused by a hormonal imbalance. The main culprit is the DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) hormone, which attacks hair follicles and destroys them, which leads to your hair falling out.
- Regularly using hair lotion can stop hair loss. There is medicine for slowing down or delaying the process of hair loss, the most commonly used ones being finasteride, dutasteride, and minoxidil, but these have to be taken regularly, for prolonged periods of time. Once you stop taking them, your hair loss problems will reappear.
- Hair follicles regenerate after their harvest from the donor area. If a hair follicle is transplanted to a recipient area, then it will continue to grow in the area where it was transplanted to. Thus, the donor area will lose some of its initial density, however, this will be unnoticeable given that an average donor area can contain around 50-70,000 hairs.
- Hair transplant is only effective if patients will regularly take medicine following hair transplant. Thankfully the result of a hair transplant is not influenced by the use of lotions or medications. Given that transplanted hair follicles will be resistant to hormone effects, they will not fall out even if the patient doesn’t use any hair strengthening lotions or solutions. The process of hair thinning can of course continue, but it will only affect the hairs that were growing in the recipient area from the start. Transplanted hair follicles will remain in place.
- Hormonal imbalance does not lead to hair loss in women. It is true that women are not as affected by the DHT hormone, but androgenic alopecia, that is, hair loss caused by hormonal imbalance, can affect women just as much as it affects men. The pattern of hair loss is different in the case of women (see Ludwig scale), and usually the affected areas don’t become completely bald.