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 rep. While there are a lot of culprits responsible for causing a thinning thatch, quite simply, a hat is not 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 factors, 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, and 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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However, rest assured, this minor shedding simply means that the hair has reached the end of its life, and ultimately, your hat has nothing to do with your hair loss. 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.

Having said this, there are certain cap-wearing customs that can contribute to an already-waning crown caused by male or female pattern baldness. But before we get into these specifics, 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 often 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.

In spite of this, there are 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 exacerbate your hair loss hitches, 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 a lack of blood 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, but still, opt for a loose-fitting hat over one that feels snugger than a bug in a rug 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 dandruff, yeast, and bacteria that are likely to grow, causing irritation and ultimately contributing to some amounts 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, as you’d be surprised how much dirt, dust, and bacteria these things can accumulate. 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 learnt 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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