The myth that masturbation causes hair loss dates back to the 19th century when masturbation was blamed for everything from schizophrenia to blindness, in order to make sure boys and men kept their hands still at night.
All of these claims were debunked over time, including the hair loss claim, which completely lacks scientific evidence. However, in some distant corners of the web, these claims have survived until this day and often are based on pseudo-scientific facts. Let’s look at each of them.
The old claim goes like this: masturbation raises the body’s testosterone production, which in turn fuels the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Excessive DHT production damages hair follicles, and is the primary driver of male pattern baldness (which afflicts ~80 percent of men by age 50).
Testosterone conversion into DHT is a driver of male pattern baldness. However, several studies have shown that masturbation doesn’t increase the body’s testosterone levels in any way. Comparing men with a normal sex life to men who are abstinent, or to men with sexual dysfunction, there was no measurable difference in testosterone levels observed.
There’s some inconclusive research indicating that the release of a hormone called oxytocin may increase testosterone-to-DHT conversion. Oxytocin, aka the “love hormone”, is released not just during sex, but in response to any sort of romantic stimuli. This includes talking to or looking at a woman you like. There is not however, enough evidence available, to implicate oxytocin as a cause of accelerated hair loss.
This claim argues that excessive masturbation takes precious protein away from your body through semen discharge. The more you masturbate, the more protein is lost, and there won’t be enough protein available to maintain the health of your hair follicles.
To put thing is perspective, the average hamburger gives your body about 12g of protein. Each semen discharge contains about 0.18g of protein. So, you’d need to ejaculate an improbable 65 times to work off that hamburger. On average we eat 80-90g of protein every day. Even vegans have been found to get almost 70g of protein daily.
The hamburger example should make it very clear that it’s impossible for masturbation to cause a protein deficiency.
In summary, we can say that masturbation, whether practiced occasionally or multiple times a day, does not cause or accelerate hair loss. In fact, it appears to have no effect on your hair at all.
That said, excessive masturbation can have adverse effects, especially in combination with high-speed internet and the availability of 24/7 porn. The resulting overstimulation can lead to desensitization, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction and even depression. This has become increasingly evident over the past two decades. Young men in particular may suffer the effects of such neural overstimulation. If you are concerned about the frequency of your masturbation habit or find it increasingly difficult to get aroused, talk to a doctor or psychiatrist about it.
Reviewed by Dr Roy Kedem, MD
Information last reviewed 07/12/21