Do hats cause hair loss?

The short answer is no. But, hats are not completely harmless when it comes to hair health.


When it comes to hair loss, hats often undeservedly get a bad rap. While there are many culprits responsible for causing a thinning thatch, quite simply, a hat is not unlikely to be one of them.  

Genetics and hormones are the main players in the hair loss game, with other factors such as medical conditions, diet and lifestyle, medications, stress, and tight hairstyles also being minor-league contenders.

Of course, it’s easy to see why many people mistakenly assume that wearing a hat can cause hair loss. After even a few hours of donning any type of headgear, your hair can visibly appear thin, flat and lifeless; what’s more, you may even notice some stray hairs staring back at you from the inside of your cap.  While it may only be a few, it’s enough to make you want to bin your bucket hat for fear of worsening a receding hairline.

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You can rest assured that this minor shedding simply means that the hair has reached the end of its life, and ultimately, your hat had nothing to do with it. So whether you are partial to a panama, a fedora, a sunhat, or a plain old cap, you’ll be glad to know that whatever your preferred headwear, it has no relation to a moulting mane.

Let’s refresh our memory on the real felon behind your fading mane.


What actually causes hair loss?

The male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – a by-product of testosterone – found in both men and women (although in lesser amounts) is responsible for both male and female pattern baldness. If you are genetically sensitive to DHT, it can bind to the hair follicles on your scalp and cause them to shrink, as well as inhibit the flow of blood and nutrients to the scalp, eventually resulting in hair loss.

Many people suffering from this type of hair loss choose to wear a hat in an effort to cover their thinning crown and receding hairline, which is probably why many folks tend to misguidedly think that it is the hat that is responsible for the hairlessness.

There are however, certain hat-wearing habits that create undue tension on the hairline, causing hair to fall out over time. Read on to discover what they are and how to make sure that you don’t fall into these common pitfalls by observing proper cap protocol.


How can wearing a hat worsen thinning hair problems?

It’s safe to say that your hat won’t be the primary cause of your hair loss, but wearing it could still negatively impact the overall health and appearance of your hair.


Wearing your hat too tight

Consistently wearing your hat too tight can trigger another form of hair loss known as traction alopecia, which happens gradually as a result of continual tension or pulling and by inhibiting circulation. Although, you would have to wear your hat so tight that it would feel physically uncomfortable and leave a visible mark around your head, you should still opt for a loose-fitting hat to help keep the baldness at bay.


Sweating whilst wearing your hat

Wearing a hat in a heated environment, such as in the summer months or during a gym workout, will no doubt cause you to sweat. And the more you sweat, the more yeast, and bacteria are likely to grow on your scalp, causing dandruf, irritation and ultimately contributing to some amount of shedding.

Be sure to give your scalp plenty of fresh air, especially when it’s hot, and keep it clean and dry to avoid any undesired fallout.


Not washing your headwear

As important as it is to observe good scalp hygiene to minimize hair loss, it is just as critical that you are keeping your hats clean too, especially if you like to wear them often.  You would be surprised how much dirt, dust, and bacteria can accumulate in headgear. After all, you wouldn’t put the same pair of socks on your feet every day without washing them, and what you put on your head is no different.   

Now that you’ve learned that hereditary and hormonal factors are much more likely to cause hair loss than any hat ever will, it is still important to know that careless cap customs aren’t likely to do you any favors in delaying the balding process. So, remember the above advice the next time you put your hat on, and if you want to know how to effectively reverse your hair loss, speak with your doctor about using treatments like finasteride or minoxidil. 

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