Hair loss & treatments

Myths & FAQs

Dr. Christopher Tzermias

Dermatologist | Contact
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Myths and FAQs about Hair Loss

Below you can read the most common myths about hair loss.

Myths and Lies about Hair Loss

Does shaving make your hair stronger? Is hair loss increased because of a hat or a helmet? Hair loss is a common problem characterised by great variability and multifactorial causes, something that has led to the development of myths, inaccuracies and unscientific advice and explanations. Below you can read the most common myths about hair loss.

Shaving makes hair stronger

The live part of hair – its follicle – which determines hair growth is located below the skin, getting all nutrients it needs through blood circulation. Hair grows from the inside to the outside, while the hair does not have any live parts itself. Cutting a hair does not affect its growth.

Many people choose shaving for cosmetic reasons, to make hair look similar all over the head, and no other reason. While pruning can make a plant’s roots stronger, this is not the case for hair.

Shaving is definitely that does not affect your hair.

Helmets and hats can lead to hair loss

In the past it was a common myth that hats or helmets used in the army reduced blood circulation leading to hair loss. This is not true, since blood circulation on the scalp is always good and it depends on the number of hair it provides nutrients to.

However, it is also evident that stressful situations, such as joining the army, may trigger hair loss even in a young person. Therefore we see very often young men with hair loss just after the completion of the obligatory period in the army. Of course it’s not the army to be held responsible for this; it is just the time that hair loss starts.

Generally speaking, modern lifestyle and stress can result in hair loss at a younger age, something that has been proven scientifically.

But think…not all military officers are bald!!!

Shampooing your hair often is bad for your hair

Actually the opposite is true. Shampooing your hair often helps in the removal of androgens’ derivatives, which are secreted by the sebaceous gland in the hair canal and, eventually absolved by the hair follicle itself – if they stay long enough, leading to its damage immediately.

Therefore shampooing your hair often is good for hair loss. If a hair is to fall, not shampooing your hair won’t prevent it. Apart from these, shampooing and caring for your hair makes them look richer, not to mention that they smell nice…

The water I use for washing my hair is hard water with high mineral content and it damages my hair

What is important is shampooing your hair often and appropriately, not the type of water you use. The quality of water and the type of shampoo is related to your hair’s volume and how well you clean your hair. However, it is not related to hair loss.

Hair oiliness causes hair loss

Hair and skin oiliness often coexist with hair loss. These are usually caused by the same factor, male hormones, which cause the excess functioning of the sebaceous glands. Nevertheless these are two distinct conditions and different treatment should be followed. When we treat oiliness, hair loss isn’t treated at the same time. So, hair oiliness is not the cause of hair loss.

 I pull my hair all the time when brushing them

Yes, if you prolong this habit, continuous pulling of hair can cause a permanent type of hair loss, traction alopecia. This is quite often seen in people with rasta or people who pull out the hair from the eyebrows. Hair transplantation can solve your problem.

Hair styling products, such as gels, foams and hairsprays, as well as a perm can cause hair loss

No. These hair styling products help in hair styling. In the worst case they may damage your hair not the hair roots. You should apply them with care, especially if you are receiving a treatment for hair loss, as they may cover the scalp as a barrier for nutrients that cannot penetrate in the skin.

Hair dyes and hair dryer cause hair loss

The chemical substances of hair des as well as the high temperature produced by hair dryers can burn and damage the hair itself. However, they are not damaging enough to cause hair loss, as hair loss is determined by the hair root condition, below the skin.

The characteristics of a hair, including whether it’s time to fall, are determined by the hair follicle. Think of this…no matter what colour you may choose for your hair, new hairs that grow have your natural hair colour.

Hair loss is related to sexual activity

The answer to this is definitely no. This is another myth related to hair loss. For androgenetic alopecia to occur, i.e. male-pattern hair loss, certain male hormones have to be present, as well as genetic predisposition.

Normal androgen levels are the only thing one needs; nothing more or less. Unfortunately bald men are neither better sexual partners… as it is mentioned in some jokes!!!

Anaemia causes hair loss

This is true. However, anaemia has to be serious and long-lasting to be related to hair loss. This practically never happens in Western societies but it is quite common in countries with undernourished population, such as Africa, where we see children with bloated bellies, hypoalbuminemia and bare heads from starvation, but not in Greece. When treating anaemia we do not treat hair loss too. Nevertheless, the management of anaemia is a prerequisite to treat hair loss.

The grandmother’s recipe for hair loss with natural ingredients

From the ancient times till today, folk traditions include some magic recipes for hair loss, which usually contain valuable things of each society. In Africa people are using rhino’s horns, in Asia certain extracts produced by rare snakes, while in Greece green soap which is made from olive oil, and the list is long. The fact that something contains natural ingredients does not mean that it is good for your hair or your body. The diagnosis of the type of hair loss by specialists, the selection of the proper treatment and regular medical supervision with the appropriate individualised treatment session are the best solution to hair loss.

When I was young, the barber used to thin my hair so that to be able to brush them more easily and now I need a special hair cut to cover these areas

Normally the greatest number of our hair grows when we are 18 years old. Accordingly, a man at his 60s with no hair loss related problems will only have 40% of his hair he had at his 20s.

Therefore, our goal for hair loss is to keep our hair for as long as possible, without letting out the picture of a bald person, while following the natural ageing process.

Acne during puberty, hair oiliness and hair loss often constitute the manifestation of male hormones in the organism. Usually when all the above mentioned factors co-exist they indicate significant hair loss and a different type of treatment is necessary for the management of each. By treating one it does not mean that the other ones are also treated.

Menstruation usually acts protectively for a woman’s hair. Estrogens – the female hormones – which circulate for as long a woman has her period, help in overcoming the damaging effect of the circulating androgens. At menopause the level of estrogens shows a decrease and hair are more exposed to androgens, resulting in male-pattern hair loss in those women with hereditary predisposition.

Androgenetic alopecia is not the only type of hair loss in women, the right diagnosis is once again the key for the right treatment.

 Someone who loses his/her hair is ill

Cases of pathological hair loss as a manifestation of a problem of the organism are particularly rare. For us, a person who is interested in his/her looks is not a patient, a strange person or conceited. It is absolutely normal and justifiable for someone not to feel happy with his/her looks when looking at the mirror, seeing the signs of ageing. Many times nature is not fair for younger people, making look older than they are.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hair Loss

Is it bad to shampoo my hair often?

Exactly the opposite is true. Shampooing your hair often helps in the removal of androgens’ derivatives, which are secreted by the sebaceous gland in the hair canal and, eventually absolved by the hair follicle itself – if they stay long enough, leading to its damage immediately. Therefore shampooing your hair often is good for hair loss. If a hair is to fall, not shampooing your hair won’t prevent it. Apart from these, shampooing and caring for your hair makes them look richer, not to mention that they smell nice…

Does hair oiliness cause hair loss?

Hair and skin oiliness often coexist with hair loss. These are usually caused by the same factor, male hormones, which cause the excess functioning of the sebaceous glands. Nevertheless these are two distinct conditions and different treatment should be followed. When we treat oiliness, hair loss isn’t treated at the same time. So, hair oiliness is not the cause of hair loss.

Is hair loss caused by the use of hair dyes and hair dryers?

The chemical substances of hair des as well as the high temperature produced by hair dryers can burn and damage the hair itself. However, they are not damaging enough to cause hair loss, as hair loss is determined by the hair root condition, below the skin.

The characteristics of a hair, including whether it’s time to fall, are determined by the hair follicle. Think of this…no matter what colour you may choose for your hair, new hairs that grow have your natural hair colour.

What is the hair’s cycle?

Hair production is not continuous but cyclical. This means that hair grow, we cut them, and so on. The phase of growth (anagen phase) is followed by a transition phase (catagen phase) and then a resting phase occurs when hair falls (telogen phase) and the cycle goes on with the growth of a new hair.

Based on these data, approximately 100 hairs fall normally per day from the scalp of an individual in a process of scalp renewal.

If 85-90 hairs re-grow for every 100 hairs that fall, then we can talk about normal hair loss, which will not lead to significant reduction of the number of hair and, consequently hair thinning.

When I wash or brush my hair I see too many hairs – should I get worried?

Not necessarily. When you are having a shower and you wash your hair all hair from the scalp and the body being in the telogen phase (see above) fall. They would fall anyway. This is also true when brushing your hair. This could be a sign of pathological hair loss, but it may just be the normal hair renewal process. You should always keep in mind that during spring and autumn normal hair loss may be significantly increased, with up to 100 – 150 hairs falling every day. If you consider how long hair are, you will end up with a disappointing bunch of hair, which may stress you out and frustrate your without reason. Only a specialised in hair issues can make the right diagnosis and either reassure you or advice you on the appropriate treatment.

On some parts of my scalp I have small and soft hairs that do not grow. Will they become normal hair again?

When a hair reaches the telogen phase and a new hair has not been formed in the anagen phase, starting again the lifecycle, it ends up being a thin hair that doesn’t grow and its lifetime is a year maximum. If this occurs for an extended period of time, it is not reversible in most cases. In areas that used to be full of hair and now show hair loss, the hair follicle is absent. Our organism does not preserve organs that do not function and do not serve some purpose.

I pull my hair all the time to brush them. Can this cause a problem?

Yes, if you prolong this habit, continuous pulling of hair can cause a permanent type of hair loss, traction alopecia. This is quite often seen in people with rasta or people who pull out the hair from the eyebrows. Hair transplantation can solve your problem.

Can hair loss be caused by hair styling products, such as gels, foams and hairsprays, and perm?

No. These hair styling products help in hair styling. In the worst case they may damage your hair not the hair roots. You should apply them with care, especially if you are receiving a treatment for hair loss, as they may cover the scalp and do not allow the

Can hair loss be caused by hair styling products, such as gels, foams and hairsprays?

No. These hair styling products help in hair styling. In the worst case they may damage your hair not the hair roots. You should apply them with care, especially if you are receiving a treatment for hair loss, as they may cover the scalp as a barrier for nutrients that cannot penetrate in the skin.

Is hair loss related to sexual activity?

The answer to this is definitely no. This is another myth related to hair loss. For androgenetic alopecia to occur, i.e. male-pattern hair loss, certain male hormones have to be present, as well as genetic predisposition.

Normal androgen levels are the only thing one needs; nothing more or less. Unfortunately bald men are neither better sexual partners… as it is mentioned in some jokes!!!

Is hair loss caused by anaemia?

Yes of course. However, anaemia has to be serious and long-lasting to be related to hair loss. This practically never happens in Western societies but it is quite common in countries with undernourished population, such as Africa, where we see children with bloated bellies, hypoalbuminemia and bare heads from starvation, but not in Greece. When treating anaemia we do not treat hair loss too. Nevertheless, the management of anaemia is a prerequisite to treat hair loss.

How often do women with hair loss also have a hormonal disturbance, too?

This is rare, occurring in less than 5% of the cases. A hormonal examination is necessary when other clinical indications are also present, e.g. disturbances of the menstrual cycle, that also indicate this. In these rare cases it is essential to manage the endocrinology aspects in combination to hair loss treatment to see a result.

Is heredity a cause of hair loss?

Yes, this is true only for common androgenetic alopecia both in men and women. Genetic predisposition is usually not a simple condition to manage. We receive genetic material from both our parents, not only from our father. However, when we observe and collect data for the parents and grandparents of the individual that is interested we cannot conclude definitely regarding the progress of hair loss – a very important fact for the treatment of hair loss. If a person’s father is bald and s/he starts showing hair loss at a young age, then it is quite possible that, unfortunately, the future of his/her hair will be similar. Of course this does not provide enough information as far as the extent of the final problem is concerned, neither for the rate of progress of hair loss. Great experience and expertise of the physician constitute prerequisites to be able to make reliable conclusions.

Is it possible my father to have more hair than me?

Of course, if you have inherited the characteristics from your mother. This also explains why brothers and sisters may show completely different patterns of hair growth and hair loss. For example one of them may be totally bald and the other one just fine.

I was on a diet and I noticed intense hair loss; is this dangerous?

Crash diets without medical supervision cause significant and sudden deficiencies of vital ingredients in the organism, which are necessary for hair growth, such as vitamins, minerals etc. Hair is the most rapidly growing organ in the body with great needs for these nutrients. Therefore, a natural consequence is the rapid transition from the anagen to the telogen phase, resulting in significant hair loss. Sometimes this process may also be a trigger for the occurrence of another form of hair loss that pre-existed, and then both careful diagnosis and treatment are necessary.

I have too thin hair. Can I do something so that they become stronger?

Hair thickness is genetically pre-determined and it is a special characteristic of each individual that cannot change, including hair colour or eye colour, the height, etc. When providing the care that they need they can look and be thicker.

Hair thickness is really important and it determines the consequences of hair loss as well as the result of hair transplantation.

When I was young, the barber used to thin my hair so that to be able to brush them more easily and now I need a special hair cut to cover these areas

Normally the greatest number of our hair grows when we are 18 years old. Accordingly, a man at his 60s with no hair loss related problems will only have 40% of his hair he had at his 20s.

Therefore, our goal for hair loss is to keep our hair for as long as possible, without letting out the picture of a bald person, while following the natural ageing process.

Acne during puberty, hair oiliness and hair loss often constitute the manifestation of male hormones in the organism. Usually when all the above mentioned factors co-exist they indicate significant hair loss and a different type of treatment is necessary for the management of each. By treating one it does not mean that the other ones are also treated.

Menstruation usually acts protectively for a woman’s hair. Estrogens – the female hormones – which circulate for as long a woman has her period, help in overcoming the damaging effect of the circulating androgens. At menopause the level of estrogens shows a decrease and hair are more exposed to androgens, resulting in male-pattern hair loss in those women with hereditary predisposition.

Androgenetic alopecia is not the only type of hair loss in women, the right diagnosis is once again the key for the right treatment.

Is a person who is losing his/her hair ill?

Cases of pathological hair loss as a manifestation of a problem of the organism are particularly rare. For us, a person who is interested in his/her looks is not a patient, a strange person or conceited. It is absolutely normal and justifiable for someone not to feel happy with his/her looks when looking at the mirror, seeing the signs of ageing. Many times nature is not fair for younger people, making look older than they are.

I am 40 years old and I have lost some of my hair, should I consider this the end of hair loss?

Unfortunately no. The rate of hair loss progress is a personal characteristic of each individual. Furthermore, the rate is not stable during our lifetime. There may be some periods of stability and other periods of hair loss. The fact is that the sooner hair loss starts, the quicker it progresses. Therefore, for a person who already had hair loss when s/he was 18 years old is almost sure that s/he will show significant hair thinning at his 25 if nothing is done. After the age of 40 the rate of hair loss decreases, but there is no rule for all cases.

Why do I lose my hair from the top of my head only?

In the case of androgenetic alopecia it has been proven scientifically that only hair follicles at the frontal and top of the scalp are vulnerable to the damaging effects of male hormones for those individuals who show a genetic predisposition. You must have seen that even in cases of more severe hair loss there is a hair zone that remains healthy (stable hair zone). These are the hair that we used and transfer in hair transplantation procedures, which is why they never fall and the result is permanent, as their characteristics remain the same in the recipient area, where they are transplanted.

I see hair thinning in some parts of my scalp. How many hair have I lost?

According to clinical studies, for thinning to become obvious at an area of the scalp 50% of the area’s hair should have already been lost. Of course this is also influenced by other factors to, such as hair thickness, length and texture, as well as hair colour, etc. In general we are quite relaxed since we first have to lose half of our hair in an area to realise the problem. This is a very important thing to consider in order to restore the problem of hair loss and determine the treatment goals.

I have some degree of hair thinning on the top of my head. Will I lose my hair from the frontal hairline?

Hair loss is very rarely located only on the top of the scalp. It usually extends progressively towards the frontal hairline or it starts at a later stage at the frontal hairline, leaving the intermediate zone intact. The way hair loss extends as well as its progress rate is a special characteristic of each individual and a specialist with the right level of expertise is the only one who can determine this with certainty.

I have a scar on my head since I was a child and it is apparent. Can I correct this problem?

Scars resulting from injuries, burns or other surgical procedures such as face lifts can be treated perfectly through hair transplantation. In these cases two stages are always necessary, since the scalp on which the grafts are placed is not healthy and the desired hair thickness should be achieved gradually.

I often see various miracle medical products in the market. Can I trust them?

The fact is that from time to time we see various “cures” for hair loss to be marketed, usually promising miracles. The ultimate goal of these is the consumer’s money, as people who sell them rely on everybody’s credulity and desire to have health hair or not to lose their hair.

Only medically accepted, approved and tested methods, which are applied by experts, can be effective.